Here’s the Plan (for Pitt): Q&A


Why do we have a strategic plan? What’s different about the new one? And now that we have one — what happens? The Plan for Pitt’s strategic planners answer these questions in the first of a series of columns centered around the new Plan for Pitt.

In January 2020, we launched a University-wide effort to create the next five-year strategic plan. More than a year later, the final draft of the Plan for Pitt is here. The plan reflects broad input from across all five campuses gathered via a comprehensive planning process, and it will take collaboration from across our University community to successfully implement.

With the roll out of the new plan, we will be publishing a monthly column in the University Times to update our faculty and staff on the plan’s progress. In this first installment, we provide answers to some questions you may have.

Why do we have a strategic plan?

The strategic plan serves as our North Star; it sets our direction as a University. A great plan identifies the opportunities we need to embrace and the threats we need to address in order to achieve our mission: leveraging knowledge for society’s gain.

The new Plan for Pitt is anchored in our mission and values and lays out key strategic actions that will address our priorities and needs over the next five years. Specifically, it focuses on the things we seek to improve or change. The plan provides a broad guide to identify, select and prioritize our individual and collective efforts. 

What’s different about the new plan?

Our fundamental mission as a University remains the same: Pitt exists to improve lives and our region through education, research and service. The new plan responds to current opportunities and challenges while building on the strengths and successes we identified with the first Plan for Pitt (launched in 2016). The new plan incorporates input on how to best move Pitt forward from more than 50 in-person working sessions; over 1,100 survey responses; and over 100 faculty, staff and students who served on the planning committees.

In contrast to the prior Plan for Pitt, which outlined six specific goals, the new plan is simplified and reoriented around three key concepts — who we are, what we do and why it matters.

Anchored by three pillars, the plan focuses on:

  • Our People. This pillar addresses strategies to improve our ability to attract, retain and support an exceptional group of students, faculty and staff. It also describes how we can support the growth and success of our collective community and enable our people to do what they do best: drive Pitt’s programs and purpose.

  • Our Programs. This pillar outlines strategies that support our core activities of teaching, research, service and community engagement. We identify ways to improve our institutional quality, expand our programs and ensure that we are leaders in everything we do.

  • Our Purpose. This pillar includes strategies that extend beyond the University. It makes clear that we seek to make the world a better place and holds us accountable for related outcomes.

The full Plan for Pitt provides details on the 14 objectives within the pillars and the primary approaches for moving each objective forward.

We have a new plan — now what?

A strategic plan isn’t effective if it sits on a shelf. The success of the new Plan for Pitt rests on our ability to implement the plan through our collective and individual efforts. In the coming months — as we build out the plan’s implementation — we’ll share more details on major University initiatives that will support the plan, ways we will track and share progress, and our approach for identifying budget resources. We’ll also work closely with schools and regional campuses to identify opportunities to align their vision and efforts with the University-wide plan. 

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.