Here’s the Plan (for Pitt): Our People

By MELISSA SCHILD                                             

The new Plan for Pitt examines where we are now and where we want to go next to enhance our legacy; advance our mission; and strengthen Pitt’s people, programs and purpose. These three P’s — people, programs and purpose — act as pillars anchoring our strategic plan.

Under Our People, we focus on how to equip our students, faculty and staff with the opportunities and environment necessary for growth. Let’s explore the five strategic objectives that are specific to this pillar.

Create an inclusive and equitable campus environment — one that welcomes, values and embraces the diverse perspectives of every member of our community.

Equity, diversity and inclusion are central to our community’s strength, well-being and advancement. Our efforts under this objective will focus on creating a culture that promotes belonging and provides ample opportunities for people to connect meaningfully while encouraging individual exploration. We will recruit, develop, retain and elevate a diverse body of students, faculty and staff and bolster mentorship and sponsorship opportunities to help our community members succeed. We will also hold ourselves accountable by reviewing and revising our institutional policies and regularly assessing our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Protect academic freedom; institutional independence; and the associated rights, responsibilities and privileges.

Academic freedom and institutional independence are bedrock principles of higher education. This objective asks us to recognize that sharing and exploring intellectual differences are critical to the pursuit of truth and its dissemination. To that end, we will empower faculty members to follow academic pursuits that complement their interests and to use their findings to have a positive impact on their field of study. We will also foster respectful classroom environments so that students can expand their understanding and develop informed opinions.

Enrich the student experience with transformative opportunities to learn, grow and thrive.

The student experience is a critical component of a Pitt education and a significant reason students choose to attend Pitt over other institutions. We will approach our programming and curricula with an eye toward supporting our students’ creativity, connection and wellness and will prioritize opportunities for students to connect with new people and ideas. We will also provide academic and social support systems that prioritize students’ well-being and will ensure our students’ living experience is safe, affordable and meets their needs.

Enhance the employee experience through robust talent development as well as transformative opportunities to collaborate, engage and advance.

When we enable our faculty and staff to succeed, we then achieve excellence in education, research and service — three focal points in our mission of leveraging knowledge for society’s gain. With that goal in mind, we will offer competitive compensation and benefits and promote policies and programming that prioritize employee health and well-being. We will also expand and incentivize talent development and mentoring and provide supports that help faculty and staff to recognize the full range of their professional contributions.

Update our physical and operational environment to encourage risk-taking, exploration and collaboration.

Enhancing our physical spaces and technology infrastructure will help bring people and information together and drive connections that spur innovation. We will facilitate effective decision-making processes and leverage continuous improvement practices, enabling Pitt to respond nimbly to institutional and environmental changes and position our people for continued success.

Do you have questions about the Plan for Pitt or suggestions for implementation? Reach out to

Melissa Schild is assistant vice chancellor for strategic planning and performance and leads the University’s strategic planning efforts.