Envisioning 2024

USD campus from Tecolote Canyon.


The University of San Diego will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2024. But there’s no need for a crystal ball to get a good idea of what USD will look like when it reaches its diamond milestone.

In September, USD’s Board of Trustees approved Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that not only identifies specific principles that will guide and inform our decision-making, but also lays out a roadmap to provide guidance about how best to reach the end goal: to set the standard for a contemporary Catholic university in the 21st century.

USD President James T. Harris explains that Envisioning 2024 supports the historical mission of USD, while forging an academic environment to attract and retain the best students. The five organizing principles are: student and alumni success; global citizenship; culture of engagement; institutional effectiveness and prominent profile.

Six interconnected pathways will help USD set the standard as a contemporary Catholic university: anchor institution, engaged scholarship, change-making, access and inclusion, care for our common home, and liberal arts education for the 21st century.

“The principles and pathways we’ve articulated affect everyone in the USD community,” Harris says. “Essentially, it’s the collective vision of Bishop Buddy and Mother Hill brought to life in the context of the 21st century.”

The principles and pathways are supported by the current $300 million goal of Leading Change: The Campaign for USD and fully implementing a new core curriculum that reflects the university’s dedication to a liberal arts education in its Catholic intellectual tradition and develops critical competencies needed in the 21st century workforce. The university has also committed to campus infrastructure improvements to create new learning spaces, make way for new programs and attract the most promising students. Harris says the crucial components of Envisioning 2024 are the principles and pathways that point the entire USD community toward our vision for our 75th anniversary in 2024.

“We’ll become an even more engaged university by becoming an anchor institution, developing partnerships with like-minded organizations to advance shared passions,” he says. “We’ll continue to challenge students to think in new ways, practice changemaking, and create an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship lead to positive social impact.”

Harris says the pathways to being a contemporary Catholic institution mean that USD has  to ensure access and inclusion  by creating a welcoming, collaborative community, and that responding to Pope Francis’  call in his encyclical, Laudato Sí, compels us to care for our common home. Perhaps most crucial is ensuring that our students challenge ideas and discern  significant truths about reality, faith and human existence.

Harris says that a vital element in the realization of Envisioning 2024 is the leadership of Vice President and Provost Andrew Allen, PhD, who heads the effort. Allen has agreed to take on new responsibilities as vice president for institutional effectiveness and strategic initiatives, and is charged with helping administrative and academic units align their efforts with the plan.

“Too many times, strategic plans become victims of institutional ineffectiveness,” Harris says. “It’s so easy to get lost in pointless meetings and circular discussion. Andy has accepted the responsibility to fight through that and ensure we stay on the pathways, and the pathways are still leading us toward individual goals. Envisioning 2024 is really a challenge to every member of the USD community to roll up his or her sleeves and work to take this university to the next chapter in its development as a prestigious international institution.” — Julene Snyder

For more, go to www.sandiego.edu/envisioning-2024.

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