Illinois Tech will be internationally recognized in distinctive areas of education and research, using as its platform the global city of Chicago, driven by a professional and technology-oriented focus, and based on a culture of innovation and excellence.
Internationally Recognized in Distinctive Areas
Research themes and educational programs must be interdisciplinary to achieve national/international distinction. We have no academic unit that is either large enough or prominent enough to carry the university’s research and educational reputation on its own. We need premier, highly recognized, academically excellent market positions in a few select interdisciplinary areas to help raise the overall visibility of Illinois Tech. Our goal of international recognition will influence our resource allocations, and we will build on existing strengths that offer us comparative advantages.
Education and Research
We will become excellent in both research and education because the synergy between research and education leads to improvements in both domains. Innovation in education and research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is required to capture the public’s attention, attract a broader spectrum of high-quality students, and differentiate Illinois Tech from similar technology-oriented institutions. Students will select Illinois Tech because they gain an educational experience that is not replicated at other universities and because they believe Illinois Tech will help prepare them for success throughout their careers. Leadership, entrepreneurial and creative activities that lead to meaningful innovation, an understanding of the process of design, global awareness, ethical formation, an ability to communicate well, and an appreciation of diversity and excellence will all become hallmarks of an Illinois Tech education, in addition to discipline-specific mastery and interaction with outstanding faculty in and out of the classroom.
Scholarship, research excellence, and creativity that lead to innovation from our faculty and students will be valued at Illinois Tech. Educating undergraduates and graduates (both master’s and doctoral students) who will become executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in their respective fields will be a priority. And since these graduates often go on to occupy key positions in industry, government, and academe, they will bring added distinction to the university.
Illinois Tech’s presence in Chicago serves the university in two ways. Our location supports our global recruiting efforts through Chicago’s growing reputation as an international destination. The city also provides opportunities that help shape the university’s educational and research initiatives.
Conversely, Illinois Tech must continue to be a major and positive influence on Chicago, particularly as the city pursues its aspirations through P33 to become a major global technology leader. Illinois Tech can and must be a major provider, perhaps the major provider, of diverse technology talent for Chicago as the city grows its tech sector. We must also ensure that we are the “go to” source of innovation in our technology sector and the major provider of leaders in this sector.
Professional and Technology-Oriented
Illinois Tech established its reputation as a preeminent engineering school with additional strengths in science, mathematics, architecture, law, and design. The name of the university reinforces this image. The future of the university, however, rests on the development and/or enhancement of the national/international reputation of all of our programs. The stature of our design school and the reputation of the law, human sciences, science, mathematics, applied technology, business, and architecture programs present opportunities to leverage our assets between the technical and professional disciplines. We can elevate our programs by focusing on choice areas of interest that emphasize collaboration and synergy among our colleges and schools with a goal of creating research, products, systems, and services that have intellectual and sustainable economic value.
Innovation and Excellence
Illinois Tech inherited an extraordinary legacy of innovation from the German Bauhaus, the European center for architecture and design until the mid-1930s. Both the Institute of Design and the College of Architecture owe a debt to its path-breaking creativity. New ideas must be protected from the dominance of status quo. The university must become an experimental studio to test new ideas—free from constraints imposed by rigid organizational structures. We also need to encourage innovation that leads to enterprise by allowing students, faculty, and staff to have access to our Kaplan Institute, University Technology Park, and UTP Incubator to follow their ideas from concept to enterprise in order to create sustainable economic value.
Both the academic and non-academic units of the university must strive for and achieve excellence in all activities. We must challenge ourselves to emphasize excellence, a commitment to diversity, and a respectful work environment throughout all areas of the university. We must improve our administrative processes to properly serve our students, and to support our faculty and staff. Continuous improvement of our educational and research programs will strengthen the university’s financial solvency and enhance its reputation.
To provide distinctive and relevant education in an environment of scientific, technological, and professional knowledge creation and innovation.
Illinois Tech’s mission statement captures explicitly the character of the education paradigm that Illinois Tech’s academic units are contributing in both education and research. The key word is relevant: embracing the faculty’s commitment to providing an education that focuses on preparing our students for fulfilled lives after graduation and for careers that contribute to solving important problems facing humanity.
We are a supportive and collaborative community where students, faculty, staff, and alumni are valued and respected. We appreciate that our community comes from many backgrounds and many parts of the world. We embrace the contributions that differences offer, as diversity of thought and experience allows excellence to flourish. We are committed to providing a working and learning environment in which all members of our community are able to realize their full potential. Our mission will be carried out within this context.
Values and Core Principles
In order to continuously improve, we must “live” our values. The culture of a university is a shared system of values, beliefs, and attitudes that shapes and influences behavior. It is disseminated through the organization from top to bottom and from generation to generation. And, in order to continuously improve, these values must guide our actions and behaviors.
We define our culture using seven core-operating principles that will guide us in our planning. While these principles do not in themselves define a strategy, a successful plan requires adhering to them:
- Focus on Students: Our primary mission is not only to educate students in their chosen disciplines, but also to inspire them to become innovators, leaders, and positive contributors to society. Our goal is to prepare our graduates for significant and sustainable professional success in their chosen careers.
- Strengthen Faculty and Staff: The faculty inspire and direct all we do academically—from basic education to the discovery and creation of new concepts, systems, and products. The staff delivers our administrative services and partners with the faculty to ensure an excellent student experience.
- Foster Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making: Leadership and ethical decision-making are essential for the growth of the person as well as the organization. Leadership development, therefore, is important for all segments of the university—faculty, students, and staff. Succession planning is also required to continuously promote excellence.
- Commit to Diversity and Excellence: If we are to both remain relevant and attract the highest caliber of students, faculty, and staff, we must ensure that our community is inclusive and open to all viewpoints. A culture of excellence as well as a culture of diversity must pervade the university in both academic and non-academic areas.
- Focus on Resource Management: The financial well-being of the institution is critical for our success. We will embrace responsibility-centered management to achieve financial strength and expect that all members of the Illinois Tech community, including alumni, are responsible for enhancing our resources.
- Enhance Reputation: All units of the university will benefit from the international recognition of any one of them. We must therefore continuously strive to gain recognition for our positive contributions as a university. Preeminence in several academic areas must be achieved for us to gain the international reputation we desire.
- Engage Alumni: Our greatest legacy is our alumni. It is their many contributions to business, government, academia, and society that enhance our reputation. We heavily rely upon our alumni for their involvement and philanthropic support in the execution of this plan. Therefore, we will support our alumni in whatever areas we can, and in turn, engage them in planning for the future of Illinois Tech.