Summary

Brandeis University is at an important crossroads in its 72-year history. Founded by the American Jewish community on the principles of academic excellence and openness in admissions and hiring practices, Brandeis has achieved an inspiring degree of success — not just as a young university committed to educating undergraduates in the liberal arts but also as a major research institution. The Framework provides a scaffolding for the university’s future. It is rooted in the institution’s history and builds upon its unique place in higher education.

The Framework is the result of more than three years of broad consultations with focus groups, including prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, friends, and parents. It is also based on responses from multiple alumni surveys; information gleaned from 30 "self-reflection" documents written by faculty and administrators; and the work of four task forces, composed of 11 working groups, which forwarded for consideration more than 250 recommendations.

This summary does not include many of the recommendations that came out of the task force reports. Rather, it offers some overarching themes that require attention most urgently. And while the Framework provides guideposts within which we will pursue many initiatives, its purpose is not to highlight all the university’s plans, strengths, and achievements. Instead, it outlines a series of strategic initiatives and investments that represent the foundations for the university’s future.

The Brandeis Academic Value Proposition

The mix of cutting-edge research, scholarship, and creative work on the one hand and a deep commitment to undergraduate liberal arts education on the other fosters a unique learning environment for Brandeis students. It allows for a degree of "vertical connectivity" not found at other Research-1 universities or liberal arts colleges. This vertical connectivity gives Brandeis undergraduates direct and meaningful academic relationships with doctoral candidates, postdocs, staff, and faculty across the curriculum, creating a unique learning environment that allows students to pursue their studies alongside others at varying levels of knowledge and expertise.

This collaborative ethos also extends to faculty across the university, creating an unusual degree of "horizontal connectivity." These connections allow faculty, staff, and students to transcend programmatic, departmental, and school affiliations in their academic and creative pursuits — a kind of collaboration that creates dynamic learning and research opportunities. Such connectivity has led to the introduction of innovative cross-school majors and programs, and provides institutional nimbleness as the Brandeis curriculum evolves to meet the changing needs of students.

These two types of connectivity — vertical and horizontal — define the Brandeis academic value proposition and represent a major advantage for students seeking a rigorous and innovative academic program.

Strategic Objective 1 — Fulfilling the Brandeis Academic Value Proposition

Through strategic investments in the university's faculty and researchers, student research opportunities, and physical infrastructure, Brandeis will broaden and deepen support for faculty scholarly activities. This, in turn, will increase collaborative learning opportunities for students and increase the university's commitment to cutting-edge research. Brandeis will:

Brandeis will create an integrated, inclusive, and vibrant student experience by balancing success in the classroom, lab, and studio with initiatives to enrich the daily lives of students. To accomplish this, Brandeis will:

Brandeis will invest in the campus infrastructure to support scholarly and creative work and to enhance student life. Brandeis will:

Strategic Objective 2 — Reengaging Brandeis' Founding Ethos

Brandeis will achieve the second strategic objective of the Framework through initiatives that will highlight and preserve the university’s founding ethos, which is based on millennia-old Jewish traditions of reverence for learning, engaging in critical analysis, a commitment to justice, and a dedication to using one's gifts to help repair the world. Brandeis will: 

Read the Final Report