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Section VII

Cornell at its Sesquicentennial

The central theme of this plan can be captured by a single phrase, One Cornell. Think of Cornell University as a single entity, embedded in but transcending and overarching strong colleges and units. The "greater sum" that represents this One Cornell is the primary focus of this plan. The plan argues for an institutional strategy that combines this One Cornell idea with two others: focus and connectivity. If Cornell is to reach the aspiration of being indisputably among the top ten research universities in the world and being a model university for public engagement and impact, it will require more focus throughout, albeit without losing the essential breadth and diversity of Cornell, and more developed connections among and between the impressive strengths that are distributed across academic units on campus. One Cornell, Focus, and Connectivity are three prongs of the overarching strategy proposed herein.

This plan recommends seven strategic initiatives that reflect the above overarching strategy. These initiatives are interrelated and they have important ties to each of the two aspects of the aspiration. The initiatives dealing with faculty renewal and world leadership in departments are foundational to the first component of the aspiration-being widely recognized as among the top ten research universities in the world; the initiative on public engagement is foundational to the second component-being a model for using fundamental knowledge and education to inform practical issues and vice versa. All seven initiatives are intertwined and important to the aspiration. Cornell University, because of its diverse, distributed strengths and its special commitment to public service, has a unique capacity among universities to be a preeminent research university with unparalleled impact on the world. The seven strategic initiatives and overarching institutional strategy chart pathways to build on this capacity and move toward the dual components of the aspiration for Cornell as a single entity.

If this plan is successfully implemented, how will Cornell University change over the next five to ten years? Will the university have done a more effective job of renewing the faculty ranks than other Ivy or comparable institutions of higher education? Will the teaching of faculty reach a standard of excellence that few, if any, other research universities can match? Will the university achieve a stronger position among its peer institutions and be even more successful at attracting exceptional students and faculty? Will it become even more widely known and recognized for its constructive impact on the world, from local to global communities? Will this public, worldwide impact be more widely and integrally a part of the student experience at Cornell? If the answer to each of these questions is "yes," it will be a tribute to the dedication and collaborative work of the broader Cornell University community. Creating a strategic plan is the first step of an ongoing planning process. Mobilizing effort and consensus around its main themes and deciding what to do with it-that is, implementation-is the next step. This plan must be treated as a living document, changeable and adaptable in the course of implementation and further planning.