A BUZZ IS IN THE AIR
Buoyed by the success of Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, the University of San Diego is now uniquely positioned to redefine what it means to be a Catholic university in the 21st century. Sure, it’s a bold statement, but Changemakers are supposed to think big and challenge the status quo, and that’s exactly what the university’s Envisioning 2024 strategic plan asks of each and every Torero. It all starts with USD’s most valuable asset: our students.
Thanks in large part to the financial support provided by our ever-growing Torero community, USD students are now equipped with the tools and technologies they need to succeed and thrive in our dynamic and ever-changing world. There’s a buzz about the future, and Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives Andy Allen couldn’t be more pleased for the support — and momentum — the campaign has provided for our strategic plan.
“We are a Changemaker campus; we believe that the world needs Changemakers; we are trying to attract faculty and students here that want to be Changemakers — all of which is consistent with our Catholic heritage,” says Allen.
From cover to cover, Envisioning 2024 is chock-full of ideas and strategies on how we’ll forge ahead to the forefront of Catholic higher education by the year 2024. It’s a plan that specifies many exciting opportunities, but one simple goal: continued student success.
Now the big question: What exactly does this plan look like?
In order to reach our collective aspirational heights, we’ve identified six interconnected pathways that will lead us to the forefront of Catholic higher education in 2024, when the University of San Diego will mark its 75th anniversary.
The first pathway emphasizes that as an anchor institution, USD is building lasting partnerships with our neighboring communities, both at home and abroad. From developing education courses for K-12 classrooms in San Diego to leading peacebuilding seminars across the border, collaboration and a shared Changemaker vision are at the heart of what we do.
“To be a great global university, we need to be a great local university,” says President James Harris. While those efforts start close to home, they ripple across the globe.
Knowledge and research are fundamental components of our academic mission. For nearly seven decades, USD has fostered an educational environment that emphasizes engaged scholarship. Our students are encouraged to think critically and actively apply their knowledge to build a better world.
As Changemakers, we believe in the power of creativity and innovation. Toreros are encouraged to explore solutions to complex social issues while gaining a hands-on understanding of the world around them. This approach to learning turns ideas into action; ideas we believe can change the world.
Of course, changing the world is a big idea. But we believe that cultivating a culture of care is the first step. The University of San Diego strives to be a welcoming, inclusive and collaborative community where the rights and dignity of every person are respected and appreciated. We’re also committed to expanding access to a USD education for students from underserved communities, both in San Diego and around the world.
As a Catholic university, caring for God’s creation is a key element of our mission and values. Through sustainability initiatives, peacebuilding efforts, and entrepreneurial ventures, we are heeding Pope Francis’ call to take action against the environmental challenges that threaten our planet.
The final pathway recognizes that an emphasis on 21st century liberal arts is at the core of our strategic plan. Today’s employers are looking for ethical, communicative and collaborative graduates. A liberal arts education from USD nurtures students’ academic, personal and spiritual development, challenges them to think creatively and creates the foundation for a life of purpose and fulfillment.
“This plan sets us on a course to become one of the greatest Catholic universities of the 21st century,” says President Harris. “Envisioning 2024 is ambitious. It promises a lot. But it also asks something of all of us.
“We are blessed with a stellar faculty, remarkable students, highly successful alumni and a dedicated team of administrators and staff who do great work to advance our mission. Rather than taking comfort in USD as a well-kept secret, let’s make no secret of the great work we do here.”