Strategic Planning

Steinhardt Strategic Planning:  Building on our Strengths, Advancing our Mission

NYU Steinhardt has completed a strategic planning effort that has identified our goals and aspirations as a school over the coming years—and how to achieve them.

This planning effort began in February 2012 and concluded with a final strategic plan in late January 2014. It engaged all members of the Steinhardt community – faculty, students, administrators, staff, alumni, and external constituencies – and reached across all our departments, centers, and administrative units. Together, we created and will implement an ambitious, practical, and feasible long-term plan that supports and builds on our mission and core values.


This project centered on establishing the Steinhardt School’s overall strategy, priorities, goals, and objectives for the period 2013-2023. The strategic plan links Steinhardt’s mission and vision to goals and objectives and an implementation plan. The plan defines the ways in which Steinhardt will respond to the challenges and opportunities of the knowable future. This process and the resulting strategic plan sets a cornerstone for the School’s future development. It will frame major decisions and create criteria against which to determine how best to allocate resources.

Achieving the goals to meet our School’s aspirations required the engagement and investment of all members of the NYU Steinhardt community. Building on the School’s mission and core values, NYU Steinhardt will:

  • Reach consensus on the “big ideas” and critical priorities that will drive the School in the coming five to ten years;
  • Support research and scholarship at a level of rigor and import befitting NYU, a research-intensive institution that is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU);
  • Set the stage for continued inter-disciplinary work and enhanced inter-professional collaboration;
  • Carefully envision the highest and best use of physical space to advance the goals of the School;
  • Assess the accomplishments of both the School’s strategic goals and the broader purposes of student learning and success; and
  • Extend and communicate a shared vision and core values for the future of the School.

The Importance of Community Engagement

Contributions from the whole NYU Steinhardt community— administrators, faculty, staff, and students—are crucial to ensuring the success of this strategic planning and implementation process.

Engaged and thoughtful leadership and community input are equally essential for the development and effective implementation of an aspirational and practical strategic plan and for communicating the vision and direction described in the strategic plan to the leadership of the University and the larger local and global NYU communities.

Strategic Planning as Iterative and Focused on Learning

Strategic planning is an iterative process. Throughout the planning process, we continuously refined the vision, direction, priorities, goals, and objectives of the School as we collected data and ideas.

In its very essence, strategic planning is also a learning process. The strategic plan, and the process through which it has been developed, have helped NYU leadership, constituents inside and outside the University, and the NYU Steinhardt community engage more deeply with the School through the development of a shared language, establishment of commonly held priorities, and formulation of strategic goals, objectives, and plans for implementation and change.


NYU Steinhardt worked closely with Keeling & Associates, LLC (K&A), a comprehensive higher education consulting firm located in New York City, to develop our strategic plan and strategic action plan. K&A managee, facilitatee, and documented a planning process that was wide-ranging and inclusive of the opinions, expertise, and feedback of the entire NYU Steinhardt community.

The strategic planning process included the following activities:

  • A review by K&A of pertinent background documents and data.
  • Regular meetings by K&A with the NYU Steinhardt-appointed Strategic Planning Steering Committee to guide and maintain the momentum of the planning process and establish a healthy balance between the priorities, aspirations, expectations and vision of the leadership and wider community of the School to assure inclusiveness, inspiration, and practicality in the plan.
  • Primary-source data collection by K&A to identify information critical to the formulation of the strategic plan, including:
    • in-person and phone interviews with groups and individuals;
    • online surveys of faculty, staff, students, and alumni;
    • “idea walls,” which are open events designed to encourage and facilitate participation in the planning process by everyone in the NYU Steinhardt community; and
    • large group forums or town halls.

    Through these activities, we achieved broad constituent and community involvement and created a good foundation for generating overall strategy, priorities, and direction. K&A and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee ensured that all members of the NYU Steinhardt community had an opportunity to share their opinions, vision, and ideas.
  • A strategic planning retreat, moderated by K&A, with NYU Steinhardt leadership and designated attendees to support the conceptual integration of leadership vision and community input into a first draft of the strategic plan. The retreat included moderated large and small group activities and discussions and concluded with the formulation of draft goals and objectives.
  • Refinement of draft goals and objectives by an appointed Strategic Priorities Group and use of an online survey of faculty, administrators and staff to identify the ordering of the goals and objectives within those goals and to solicit suggestions and ideas for activities to meet goals and objectives.

  • Appointment of an Implementation Planning Group to work with K&A and senior leadership to create an implementation and change management plan that denoted activities, accountability, and timelines for accomplishing the goals and objectives.
  • Integration of the strategic planning process with ongoing communications and marketing efforts and space planning.


As shown in the diagram below, updated in Summer 2013, the planning process began in February 2012 and ended with a final Strategic Plan and Strategic Action Plan in January 2014. 

Phase I: Introduction, Information-Gathering, and Theme Development started in March and continued through May 2012.  This was an intensive phase of information gathering and theme development.  It included individual meetings with Steinhardt senior leadership (including deans and department chairs) and other key stakeholders, group meetings with faculty, students, administrators, and staff, small-group structured interviews including focus groups, large-group information-gathering sessions, "idea walls", and surveys.

Phase II: Strategy Development: Goals and Objectives ran from June through December 2012.  Keeling and Associates analyzed the data and information we gathered in Phase I.  The Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Keeling and Associates worked together to synthesize and refine the ideas we heard, and began to define possible strategic goals and objectives.  This phase included a two-day retreat of the Strategic Planning Committee and senior leadership, where goals and objectives were further refined for parsimony, priority, meaningfulness, feasibility, and practicality. 

Phase III:  Interim Period:  Reflection, Discussion, and Consensus Building extended from January through May 2013.  This phase included multiple meetings and forums with members of the Steinhardt community and the appointment of a Strategic Priorities Group to discuss, refine, and improve draft strategic goals and objectives.

Phase IV: Implementation, Change, Management, Implications began in early Summer and concluded in late January 2014 with a completed strategic plan and action plan.  This phase included finalization of the strategic plan and identification of short- and longer-term activities by the Strategic Priorities Group which led to a final action plan that includes timelines, accountabilities, and assessment metrics for implementing and managing the Strategic Plan.