Our Future, Our Lehigh

Lehigh University Formally Launches Our Future, Our Lehigh Strategic Planning Process

Join the open dialogue on the strategic direction of the University.

Story by

Carina Sitkus

Photography by

Ryan Hulvat

As the 2022-23 academic year begins, Lehigh University has formally launched its first comprehensive strategic planning process since 2009.

Our Future, Our Lehigh, an open dialogue on the strategic direction of the University, is the opportunity for campus conversations that will gather insights and ideas in focused thematic areas to guide the development of a strategic plan by June 2023.

President Joseph J. Helble ’82 said: “This effort will help shape our course over the next decade, identifying areas critical to our research and educational mission where, in the face of the many challenges facing higher education, Lehigh can innovate and be a leader—be first or best in a given area and build on our unique strengths.”

Helble spoke of the timeliness of this process, explaining the “headwinds” higher education is facing, including the rising cost of education, and the opportunities, such as emerging and alternative modes of education, “make it imperative that we assess the landscape and undertake this now.” The plan will be dynamic, he said, and open to allow Lehigh to capitalize on new ideas and evolve beyond the planning process.

In a message to members of the Lehigh community, Provost Nathan Urban and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Initiatives Chris Cook wrote: “Please join us as we begin to gather the insights and ideas that will inform our next strategic plan. Your best ideas, unique insights, and authentic selves will help the University to do more than simply adapt to a complex and rapidly changing world. You will help Lehigh to meet and make the future.”

The email continued: “When we crafted our last strategic plan together in 2009, students, faculty, staff, and alumni engaged in open discussion about how best to advance teaching and student success, as well as address the issues impacting our Bethlehem community, nation, and our world. Lehigh has achieved great strides since then.

“The world has changed over the past 13 years. We've learned and adapted. We're still learning.

“Together we can do this. It is Our Future, Our Lehigh.”

Undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to participate in the scheduled Fall Forums:

  • Faculty - Monday, August 29 - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Reception to follow); RSVP HERE
  • Staff - Tuesday, August 30 - 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Lunch will be provided); RSVP HERE
  • Undergraduate Students - Tuesday, August 30 - 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. (Dinner will be provided); RSVP HERE
  • Graduate Students - Wednesday, August 31 - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Dinner will be provided); RSVP HERE

The foundational work for the strategic planning process began in the winter of 2022 with the Phase 0 discovery and assessment effort. A Phase 0 working group of faculty and staff, including many who participated in Lehigh’s prior strategic planning process, analyzed Lehigh’s progress toward goals set forth in the original 2009 strategic plan, producing an executive summary and full report of their findings and the lessons learned.

Over the spring and summer of 2022, four strategic planning conversation themes were refined.

Using those defined themes, four working groups were established and members of the Lehigh community are called upon to engage in Our Future Our Lehigh, an open dialogue on the strategic direction of the University. This process will identify Lehigh’s focus for the next decade.

Read more about the process on the Our Future, Our Lehigh website.

Story by

Carina Sitkus

Photography by

Ryan Hulvat

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