Our Foundations & Pillars

The Structure of the Plan

Four key foundational areas name critical elements of Arts & Sciences that will be enhanced and strengthened. Together, these foundations allow all of Arts & Sciences to flourish and grow. They enable everything we do, creating a vibrant community of faculty, staff, and students with the tools, resources, and support to excel.

Six pillars highlight specific areas within Arts & Sciences to focus our energy and resources. These pillars identify talents and strengths we already have while also showcasing how new investments will help us grow into a transformed, distinctive, world-leading institution.

Foundational Strengths

Our pillars can only stand with strong foundations.

Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Community

We must achieve and maintain a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community of faculty, students, and staff across all identities and socioeconomic backgrounds. While we have made important strides over the past years, much remains to be done. We will implement strong administrative support at the university, school, and departmental levels to improve racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the hiring and recruitment of faculty, staff, and students.

Learn how we will advance a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community

Inclusive Teaching and Scholarship

Building on the first foundation, we must ensure that students of all identities and backgrounds feel welcomed and represented in the classroom, that modes of pedagogy promote learning for students from all backgrounds and of all identities, and that all students have the ability to be equally successful in pursuing their educational goals.

Learn more about inclusive teaching and learning

Operational Excellence

Operational Excellence is crucial to the research productivity and teaching excellence that define Arts & Sciences, and several changes will be made to ensure that the administrative, policy, and physical infrastructure facilitate reaching our goals.

Learn how we are enhancing operational excellence

Connections: From Local to Global

We must prepare members of our community to be engaged citizens both locally and globally. We will do more to recognize and develop our connections to St. Louis and across the world in ways that build relationships and advance learning. We can further our collaborations with St. Louis through community-engaged teaching and scholarship that seeks to understand and meet the needs of the city and region. We also wish to nourish global citizens who can link their experience on a local level to global currents and convergences.

Learn how we are making this connection

Our Six Strategic Pillars

Push Boundaries Within and Among Disciplines 

Imagine: An Arts & Sciences with top programs leading innovative developments in their field  

We will invest in the areas where our research is already pushing against boundaries within and across disciplines. We will raise the academic distinction of Arts & Sciences while advancing new knowledge, enabling new discoveries, and producing new solutions to the biggest questions and the most intractable challenges. Learn more.

Forge Connections Between Academy and Society 

Imagine: An Arts & Sciences truly valued by the public

As we continue to bolster long-established traditions of scholarship, we will convey the relevance of our work and find new ways to involve a wider audience — in St. Louis, throughout our nation, and across the world — in developing and sharing our discoveries. Learn more.

Harness the Power of Data Sciences, Digital Transformation, and Advanced Technologies

Imagine: Transforming the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences through digital innovation

Arts & Sciences will focus on new ways to link disciplines and develop research through data sciences, digital transformation, and advanced technologies. Learn more.

Advance Scholarship in Race, Power, Equity, and Justice

Imagine: An Arts & Sciences that is a leader in the study of racial justice

We will invest in new opportunities to research and understand the underlying structures of race, power, equity, and justice. We will identify solutions to advance inclusion and equity more broadly as well as among our own faculty, staff, and students, and learn from the local community. Learn more.

Invest in Global Health, Sustainability, and the Environment 

Imagine: Washington University as a leading institution in addressing global health and environmental challenges

Through new investments and enhanced partnerships with renowned local institutions, we will strengthen our focus, broaden our knowledge, and develop novel solutions related to the challenges of global health, sustainability, and environmental justice. Learn more

Expand Student Literacies and Engagement 

Imagine: An Arts & Sciences that helps students take ownership in their preparation for multi-faceted careers and meaningful lives as dedicated leaders and engaged global citizens 

We will emphasize different literacies  digital literacy, media literacy, economic literacy, for example  to foster undergraduate and graduate student learning that equips our students to more fully navigate and serve the world beyond WashU. Learn more

The successful implementation of this plan will be achieved by focusing on what matters: our research, teaching, and the diverse community that comprises the heart and soul of Arts & Sciences.

―Abram Van EngenStrategic Planning Co-Chair

Learn more about how our pillars will be actualized.

Review our Signature Initiatives