Carnegie Mellon University

October 16, 2014

Dear Members of the CMU Community:

Over the last fifteen months, I have had the great privilege to witness the richness and vibrancy of our CMU community through the countless firsthand stories and examples of how CMU has transformed lives and made the world a better place. It has been evident to me that our students, faculty, staff and alumni are passionately committed to our great University.

As we set the course for the University's future in a changing global landscape, we must continue to be strategic and focused in what we do — not only as individual Colleges, Schools and other units — but also as an integrated University. To that end, I am pleased to announce the launch of a University-wide Strategic Planning process, which is an opportunity for our community to work together to identify and create the pathways for an even brighter future. Rapid technological and social changes make now an especially important time to re-examine our strategic goals and priorities, and to prepare appropriate action items with metrics, timelines, and periodic assessment of our actions against our aspirations, with ample opportunity for updates and course correction.

Using input that I received from you during my listening tours of the past year and the base of excellence created out of past University Strategic Plans as a starting point, leadership from across the University have proposed three focus areas for the next Strategic Plan:

  1. Transformative Teaching and Learning
  2. Transformative Research, Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship
  3. The Transformative CMU Experience

Through this Strategic Planning process over the course of this academic year, we will map, together as a CMU community, the University's direction for the next five to ten years. This process will be highly collaborative, and will involve the entire CMU community — students, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, alumni, and community partners.

Critical to our future is how the University identifies and presents itself to the rest of the world in an increasingly competitive landscape for talent, resources and leadership. Recently, we announced a realignment of our University Marketing and Media Relations group to report directly to me as well as the initiation of a national search for a Vice President of Marketing and Communications. These are critical steps toward enhancing our reputation nationally and globally to match our extraordinary achievements.

As an important component of the Strategic Planning effort, I am also pleased to announce the launch of a Brand Development project. In partnership with the global branding and communications firm, Edelman, we will explore what makes Carnegie Mellon such a special place, how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by the world around us.  The Brand Development project is not about changing our culture, creating new logos or launching advertising campaigns. Rather, it will be about taking our existing unique culture and strengths, and articulating them more powerfully and coherently to an increasingly global audience.

While the Strategic Planning and Brand Development initiatives are closely connected, each will have distinct goals with its own timelines, work streams and deliverables.  Both will have processes that will be open, collaborative and transparent. Input across the broad spectrum of CMU constituents is critical to both to ensure that we continue to progress and strengthen our impact in the world beyond our walls. More detailed information on both initiatives and opportunities for involvement will be available soon through our regular communications channels.

We believe that these efforts are another step on the path to enhancing Carnegie Mellon and its impact and reputation on a global stage.  I thank you, in advance, for your role and partnership in this journey.


Subra Suresh