About the Planning Process

What was the purpose of the strategic planning process?

The University's strategic planning process, which began in January 2014, was designed to identify evolving needs and challenges facing Princeton, and to create a practical and revisable framework for allocating resources and prioritizing initiatives in the years to come.

Why now?

The University has a responsibility and commitment to contribute to the well-being of the world through teaching and research of unsurpassed quality. Princeton pursues this mission today in a pivotal moment that poses important challenges for it and other institutions of higher education. Colleges and universities face pressures related to growing economic inequality, globalization, technological change, volatile markets, and declining public investment in higher education and research. In this rapidly changing environment, some critics openly question the value of a liberal arts education, yet places on Princeton's campus are more coveted than ever.

To address these challenges and emphasize and enhance the University's commitment to be "in the nation's service and in the service of all nations," the Trustees of Princeton University and President Christopher L. Eisgruber '83 launched a strategic planning process in January 2014 to focus the University's energy and mission. A major milestone was reached in January 2016 when the trustees approved a strategic framework that identifies key goals and major priorities for the University and articulates standards and questions that will be used over the coming years to guide decisions about new programs and capital investments.

How will the Princeton University strategic framework be used?

The strategic framework is a flexible, iterative and practical guide for allocating University resources and prioritizing new initiatives. The framework is brief and revisable, providing: an articulation of the University's mission; an analysis of its situation, including available resources as well as major challenges and opportunities; and a set of strategic priorities to guide decision-making. The framework provides a basis for evaluating proposals, not a "wish list" of recommendations or implementation strategies.

How did the planning process work?

The University's strategic planning process proceeded through multiple layers of dialogue involving trustees and many members of the University community. At the core of the process were a set of key questions about the challenges and opportunities facing the University. A variety of existing board committees and campus task forces explored the key questions and a number of subsidiaries. Campus task forces explored the key questions and a number of subsidiaries, adopting a flexible and iterative process that evolved as questions were explored. Indeed, the planning process assumed that additional important questions would continue to arise after the University published its strategic framework.

The strategic planning process was closely integrated with the University’s campus planning initiative. This initiative, which was led by a Campus Planning Steering Committee, built on the existing campus plan in creating a framework to guide the University's physical development for the next ten years and beyond.  

Will there be regular updates?

The charges to the campus task forces, their membership rosters and their reports have been posted on this website. The task force reports are part of an ongoing conversation about the University’s priorities. The University administration collected reactions to and comments about the reports and, after doing so, published responses to the reports on this website. The responses identified some recommendations that will be implemented immediately — but also recognized that others need further consideration or new resources before they can be implemented, and there likely will be others that will not be implemented.

How can I provide input into the strategic planning process?

Members of the Princeton community with comments on the strategic planning reports can contact the Office of the President.