A capacity crowd of over 200 piled into the Multi-Purpose Room of the Rutgers University in Camden Campus Center on Wednesday, November 29. The venue was mostly dark, save for mood lighting that shone up from the floor, bathing the room in deep scarlet. Curiosity spread through the audience as attendees noticed balloons, a fog machine, and even two confetti cannons on either side of the stage. The aesthetics bore little resemblance to those of a typical university event, ushering in the exciting new era of the Rutgers University in Camden Strategic Plan for 2023 through 2028, titled “A Century and Beyond of Excellence, Commitment, and Elevation.”
“Today represents the culmination of fourteen months of strategic, visionary conversation,” said Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis in a brief introduction of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee co-chairs, Marsha Lowery and Jane Siegel. “I look forward to the next five years of elevation in this place that we all call home.”
Lowery and Siegel then took the stage to present and expand upon the five pillars of the plan. Lowery explained that each pillar was developed with the direct input of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community stakeholders:
· Innovation in Academic Excellence
· Transformative Student Success
· Holistic Student Experience
· Beloved Camden Community
In reviewing the goals and objectives within each pillar, Siegel, a professor of criminal justice in the College of Arts and Sciences, highlighted the university’s intent to expand undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Research also took center stage, as Siegel revealed plans for an undergraduate research center with robust faculty involvement. Student retention and alumni engagement efforts are at the heart of the strategic plan’s vision of a holistic student experience, while increased international recruitment and collaboration will help Rutgers–Camden assert its status as a global leader in higher education.
Lowery, Rutgers–Camden’s vice chancellor for student academic success, underscored the strategic plan’s focus on career-readiness programs for students and initiatives aimed at increasing the sense of belonging within the student body. She also emphasized support for the beloved Camden community through increased professional development and retention efforts for faculty and staff, as well as purposeful investment in campus facilities.
“It’s going to be a very exciting time here,” Lowery said. “There will be change, and there will be new infrastructure built for us so we can best serve the needs of the university. We sincerely hope you will join us in that work.”
To view the full strategic plan and learn more about its creation, implementation, and methodology, click here.
Creative Design: Douglas Shelton
Photography: Ron Downes Jr.