Our strategic planning process, which launched in August, is now well under way. Since we began this work, one of the questions I’ve been asked is, Why now? Why this moment in Lehigh’s history? Given all the change in higher education—and at Lehigh—since we last went through a strategic planning process more than a decade ago, it is clear that now is precisely the time to ask questions about our position in the world of higher education, about the direction we need to head, about the choices and investments we need to make to best prepare our students for lives of meaning, engagement and value.
Hybrid and online learning have exploded, fueled in large part by the pandemic but also by technological advances that have impacted how we deliver content. There also has been an increase in experiential learning, which is something that we at Lehigh have embraced and do extraordinarily well. At the same time, there has been criticism of higher education in general. Does the education that students get matter?
As we chart Lehigh’s future, we are asking the tough questions. We do so from a position of strength—our finances are strong, our graduates’ employment and placement rates are high. Still, as a small, residential research university, we face the challenge of identifying the university’s true points of excellence and building on the areas that distinguish us from other institutions.