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In 2013, Vanderbilt University launched an Academic Strategic Plan designed to shape the future of higher education. The plan, comprised of four pillars which intentionally intersect in scope and vision to promote the Undergraduate Residential Experience, Trans-Institutional Programs, Education Technologies and Healthcare Solutions, is guided by the following goals:

  • The pursuit of excellence in education by offering experiences that merge the advantages of a liberal arts college with those of a world-class research university 
  • The pursuit of excellence in scholarship, creative expression and research that address important problems and questions facing our community, our country, and the world 
  • The leveraging of the synergies between discovery, learning and service across our entire community of scholars and learners to seek accomplishment and seize opportunities 
  • Transparency and accountability to all of the University's constituencies  

This website details the importance of the Academic Strategic Plan and spotlights many of the initiatives that have been realized since the plan moved into its "action phase" in August 2014. These initiatives are wide ranging in nature and demonstrate the value of the plan created for the university and the world at-large.

Vision - Action - Impact: A Timeline


Initiatives and Programs

Entering its third year as part of the university’s $50 million strategic investment in interdisciplinary research, Trans-Institutional Programs (TIPs) are a centerpiece of the Academic Strategic Plan. The program is designed to serve as a catalyst to support new ideas, cutting-edge research and the development of infrastructure by providing pilot funds for emerging and existing trans-institutional centers and institutes. Awards are also made to reinvest in existing trans-institutional centers and institutes.

Initiative Overview Website

The idea of advancing trans-institutional learning through development of “cross-college” teaching was one of the cornerstones of the Academic Strategic Plan. From that vision, University Courses were brought to life, launching a program that allows faculty to reach beyond departmental boundaries and provide students with innovative classes on important subjects. Chosen by a committee following a comprehensive submission process, University Courses leverage the natural synergies across Vanderbilt’s ten schools and colleges.

Initiative Overview Website

Immersion Vanderbilt calls for each undergraduate student to participate in an intensive learning experience that takes place in and beyond the classroom and culminates in the creation of an academic product. Students will engage in a civic and professional, creative expression, international, or research immersion experience. Examples include writing and producing a musical, studying the workings of cells in a lab, traveling to Guatemala to repair medical equipment, or working on a project designed to understand human behavior.

Initiative Overview Website

Vanderbilt is committed to supporting and retaining outstanding faculty who have recently received tenure. The Chancellor Faculty Fellows represent the future of our institution. They offer energy and innovation for new basic discoveries, path breaking scholarship and creative expression. By investing in a select group of younger scholars from across the campus, Vanderbilt is helping to advance their careers at a critical time while providing a forum to share their academic interests with others on campus that build and enrich our One Vanderbilt community.

Initiative Overview Website

By working to transform education models through technology and research, Vanderbilt will build on its international reputation. Work in this area will include cutting-edge research to assess effectiveness of new education technologies, which, in turn, will allow us to identify, pilot and implement best practices. We must embrace those new Educational Technologies that foster innovation in learning, teaching, and discovery.

Initiative Overview Website

Recruiting and retaining exceptional graduate students who will go on to become leaders in their fields is the top priority for graduate education at Vanderbilt University. As a leading research university, it is critical that Vanderbilt advance Graduate Education in key ways to attract the best students and support them while they are here.

Initiative Overview Website

Developing an International Strategy to support and promote faculty research, scholarship and creative expression is the charge of a new working group, which will identify Vanderbilt s strengths and existing international ties, assess current and best practices of peer institutions, and identify areas of need and opportunity. The group is charged with developing a strategy that both supports the international research of faculty and raises the global profile of Vanderbilt as a research institution.

Initiative Overview

Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience (DIVE) is Vanderbilt's new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The QEP is a critical part of the university's ten-year reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and constitutes a new and focused effort to enhance student learning. DIVE is an immersive learning experience that fulfills the parameters of the Immersion Vanderbilt initiative.

Initiative Overview Website

The Provost's Initiative to Enhance Research and Scholarship (PIERS) will build off of existing practices and identify new approaches aimed at elevating Vanderbilt University’s international research profile. PIERS will create a virtuous cycle of vision-action-impact to drive growth and recognition of Vanderbilt research and scholarship that are resourced by a diverse and sustainable matrix of sponsorship.

Initiative Overview Website

We must harness the outstanding research and teaching strengths of our faculty to create a dynamic living-learning environment that will instill critical human and intellectual qualities in all our graduates. The College Halls program exposes our students to a wide variety of perspectives and experiences and educates the whole person while cultivating life-long learning.

Initiative Overview Website