The Global Strategy Task Force published their final report on Friday, giving feedback and suggestions to the University about how to become one of the “World’s Premier Universities” by 2020, including plans to establish three new locations by 2020 and increasing global marketing.
Nearly 18 months ago, a group of 12 Northwestern faculty and administrators convened to reimagine how the university engages globally. Last Friday, following research and input from 300 faculty, students, staff and alumni from around the University as well as many others from peer institutions, the task force released their final report, which gives nine major recommendations regarding Northwestern’s global vision.
Sally Blount, the dean of Kellogg and one of the force’s co-chairs, said she is optimistic that the university is putting more emphasis on global funding and adding new locations.
“I am really excited as Kellogg Dean that the University is going to start investing in global sites,” said Blount. “Because I’ve had to fund a lot of that myself and I would much rather do that with the University.”
Instead of focusing on economical concerns, the task force emphasizes looking at academic excellence. According to the report, “Northwestern should hire new faculty and staff, open new facilities, and initiate new dialogues and collaborations to the extent that it has a clear and compelling intellectual mission guiding each decision.”
In addition, the report suggested to actualize their broad goals. After identifying six global themes incorporating “connection, synergy, and interaction across the University”: cities and migration; difference: structures, cultures, and practices; finite earth; networks, storytelling, and meaning; art and cultural fluidity; and human conflict and violence — the report said the office of the Provost should establish six groups of faculty, one for each theme, to solidify and explore the topics.
Blount said she hopes that the creation of global themes will provide opportunities for research and fundraising. She also said that the report lays out goals that can and will be implemented.
“The issue [with task forces] is you either get too granular or you get too visionary and there’s a balance you want to strike,” she said. “I’m extremely excited about the breadth of the recommendations, the clarity and that they’re fully actionable.”
Something the task force hopes to change is the somewhat segmented approach to global engagement. Blount hopes that in the future, instead of originating from specific schools, global strategy will start at the University level.
"I think the reason a global strategy is a big deal is because we’re in the 21st century,” Blount said. “[We] have to be intentional about we they think about both reaching outward around the world and also how we bring people onto our campuses from around the world.”
While the task force has submitted its recommendations to Morty and disbanded after completing their year and a half of research, work will continue. Blount says we can expect to see some changes.
“Setting the strategy and enacting that is very important in realizing our dreams and setting a vision for being one of the great universities of the 21st century,” Blount said.