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

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 Programs, we focus on how to build on our historic strengths in individual research, scholarship and creative endeavors. Let’s explore the five strategic objectives that are specific to this pillar.

Enhance graduate and professional offerings in terms of their reputation, relevance and impact.

Widely recognized for our outstanding undergraduate programs, Pitt has an opportunity with this strategic plan to shift some of our efforts to elevating and promoting our graduate and professional offerings. Under this objective, we will incentivize and support innovation, risk-taking and interdisciplinary approaches so that we can amplify strong programs, improve offerings that would benefit from reinvigoration, and identify new offerings. Additionally, we will enhance learning experiences and career development for doctoral, graduate and professional students, while growing the number of faculty and students nominated for national and international awards.

Create more preeminent teaching, learning, scholarship and research experiences.

We will emphasize providing experiences and academic support systems that enable students to pursue personalized learning paths and to develop critical thinking, communication, leadership, data analysis, intercultural and global competency, and collaboration skills. Students at all levels will have opportunities to engage in research, scholarship and creative endeavors, including expanded global and interdisciplinary learning opportunities. We will promote and recognize teaching excellence and curricular innovation and optimize technology to enhance the learning experience.

Increase our participation and presence in multidisciplinary, solution-sized research projects.

We will enhance policies and support structures, including data infrastructure and digital solutions, that advance research innovation and promote complex and interdisciplinary team research. We will grow partnerships with the private, philanthropic, civic and nonprofit sectors — locally and globally — and aid scholars in navigating these new partnerships. We also will recognize and value contributions to team discoveries as equal to individual findings. The work that this objective asks us to do will enable us to create and share knowledge that can underpin breakthrough solutions.

Broaden our academic opportunities to include more nontraditional students and settings.

To expand access to a Pitt education, we must reach out to new student populations. We will utilize tools and delivery methods that enhance the excellence and accessibility of educational offerings. We will assess existing programs and offerings in the context of external drivers and market demands to identify opportunities for innovation and new offerings. We also will increase investments in future learners by refining K-12 recruitment efforts.

Expand opportunities for civic and global engagement.

We will cultivate the skills and knowledge to be effective, responsive collaborators with external partners and will prioritize impactful and meaningful global engagement. We will encourage and expand community-engaged scholarly and creative work and strengthen coordination and connection between engagement initiatives, while developing and sustaining relationships with strategic community and international partners.

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.