About Clark

Jonas Clark Hall

Academic and Financial Plan

The 2011 Academic and Financial Plan presents a vision of a powerful synthesis of research, graduate and undergraduate education and community partnerships. This model for a research university will position Clark University as an institution of consequence for its students and for the world they inherit, able to respond forcefully and boldly to the rapidly changing landscape of higher education.

The needs of the world that 21st century students will inherit are daunting and will not yield to one-dimensional fixes. They will require concerted and ongoing efforts, fitted for varied and complex social structures, which emphasize an understanding of humans, human cultures, technology and the natural world. Addressing these challenges will:

  • demand clear-sighted and critical research and thought that draws together people, ideas and approaches from multiple disciplines, situations and backgrounds;
  • require recognition that we must commit to seeking solutions for the challenges that face us as we move into the 21st century; and
  • engage university personnel — faculty, students and staff — in working collaboratively with public, private and non-governmental organizations, worldwide.

This is not how research universities have typically pursued their work. Clark's opportunity is to be a university of consequence contributing to a better future for all of us.

Research that Connects: Over the next decade we will elevate Clark's reputation as a university of consequence in education and research. Accomplishing this goal will require two types of commitments.

First, we must reaffirm core institutional values regarding support for and recognition of faculty scholarship and creative work. Clark will continue to promote research and scholarship of integrity, depth and purpose across the whole institution, and thereby contribute to national and international recognition.

Second, we must commit to a specific plan that will be responsive to several key types of research connections:

  • connections across and within disciplines;
  • connections between research and student education and learning;
  • connections between research and the communities of which we are a part.

These connections reflect and build on Clark's distinctive institutional identity and on our faculty excellence. Their promotion strengthens traditional proclivities and contributes to elevating our overall research and scholarly profile.

Clark has a strong tradition of engagement in the world. Such engagement, whether on issues of education and community wellbeing here in Worcester or on a wider variety of global concerns, creates multiple opportunities to connect with organizations and institutions beyond Clark. We will seek to strengthen these research connections by promoting scholarship that advances fundamental knowledge while simultaneously engaging broader societal issues. More info »

Liberal Education and Effective Practice: Clark educates its students to be leaders and informed citizens addressing the challenges ahead. This will require them:

  • to have the knowledge, interest and ability to understand critically and imaginatively the human, social, global, cultural, historical, natural and scientific dimensions to the world;
  • to have the skills to communicate informatively and persuasively;
  • to be fluent with the gathering and evaluation of quantitative and qualitative information, and with the necessary technologies to do this;
  • to work effectively in teams that draw on people from multiple backgrounds;
  • to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty, and to connect choices and actions to core human and ethical values;
  • to recognize that real-world problems are complex and solutions elusive, that interventions can fail, and consequently to approach the world with imagination, to listen well, to examine assumptions and to think creatively beyond the boundaries of present orthodoxies;
  • to have the resilience to persist in the face of set-backs, obstacles and adversity.

Fundamentally, they will need to be self-motivated learners, to do the necessary research to find and absorb information and to develop skills as shifting contexts demand. More info »

Focused Graduate Education: Building on Clark's long history of Doctoral education, we will continue to leverage our Doctoral programs to support research that deepens and expands our understanding of the world. The primary emphasis in the further development of Clark's Doctoral programs will be on the quality of the faculty, the programs and their students, not on the size of Clark's Doctoral footprint.
Taking advantage of existing areas of research excellence, Clark will look to expand its Master's offerings. New programs will be offered only after careful analysis of whether such programs will be a good fit for Clark and of whether market conditions indicate the likelihood that sufficient numbers of students will apply, program graduates can find employment, and accepted students will increase net graduate tuition revenue. More info »

Community Collaborations: Clark has a well-established and highly successful history in developing community collaborations. Building on existing partnerships and developing new relationships beyond Worcester, Clark will provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to become substantively engaged in transformational community-based activities. By incorporating a significant research effort into these collaborations, Clark will expand their reach and impact. These relationships will involve Clark faculty, alumni, parents and staff, working in the public and private sectors, in creating internship and other opportunities that allow students to connect and engage knowledge learned in the classroom to challenges beyond the classroom.

The Clark Community: A fundamental part of the 2011 Academic and Financial Plan is the effort to create a campus culture that encourages intellectual daring and creativity, where faculty and staff are respected, supported and compensated in ways that allow inspiration to help shape the University's research and education missions. Central to the vision of our campus culture will be efforts to recruit, support and retain a faculty that is genuinely diverse and whose members are passionate about both teaching and research in a university that blends both.


Primary Strategic Goals

Enhanced Visibility and Reputation: Elevate Clark's standing and reputation as a global university of consequence — in education, research and community partnerships — with prospective students, alumni, educators, public and private leaders, employers, and foundations.


Now is not the time to be conventional or timid. The world needs to know Clark University. We must find our voice, get noticed, and tell our story to the people who are critical to our success. It is time to stake our rightful claim as an innovative and successful new model of higher education in America today. We will develop a big, bold "One Clark" brand strategy.

Alumni, Family and Friend Engagement; Fundraising: Plan and implement a comprehensive campaign effort, as well as a new model of engagement for alumni, family and friends designed to intensify their personal connections with the University, drive institutional success, and increase overall philanthropic support.

Our aggressive focus on alumni participation and the number of alumni donors over time directly responds to an important ranking metric that correlates alumni giving with overall alumni satisfaction. By increasing our participation rate, which will go against the national trend, we will enhance an important indicator tied to reputation in the marketplace. The focus of this initiative is not about the level or amount of a donor's gift but to change the culture of giving where every Clark graduate gives something, every year.

Undergraduate Education: Design and implement all phases of Clark's new undergraduate program, "Liberal Education and Effective Practice" [LEEP], as sound and effective pedagogy to prepare our students for the challenges of the 21st century; enhance Clark's ability to attract students who are a good fit for Clark; and establish Clark as a recognized leader in liberal education.

The overarching goal with respect to undergraduate education will be the full implementation of the developmentally based "Liberal Education and Effective Practice" [LEEP] program. LEEP provides Clark students with a re-conceptualized liberal arts education to serve the needs of the 21st century. Implementing LEEP will significantly improve Clark's position in the market for undergraduate students, simultaneously elevating reputation and enhancing resources.

Graduate Education Quality and Growth: Ensure that all graduate programs are training students with the knowledge, skills and capacities to generate and transform knowledge, and to perform their professional practice effectively. Expand the size and/or number of graduate programs in areas that draw on Clark's strengths, where there are robust markets for tuition and students, and where there are career opportunities for graduates.

The goal of graduate education at Clark is to enable students to be creative and innovative contributors to their fields and the broader worlds with which their fields engage. To prepare students for this role, a Clark education provides skills necessary for the practice of the discipline, as well as the tools required to think critically about established methods and approaches, and to pioneer new ones. In addition, students will be able to gain exposure to cognate disciplines, allowing them to interrogate and broaden their own disciplinary boundaries. Our success in graduate education and practice will raise Clark's research and scholarly profile, enhancing the University's overall academic reputation.

Research: Raise Clark's research and scholarly profile in ways that enhance the University's overall reputation for research excellence, innovation and impact among scholars, prospective faculty members, prospective students and the public.

Clark scholars are known for intellectual innovation, creating fundamental knowledge that frequently bridges the divide between knowledge and practice. Clark's research institutes and centers build on a foundation of interdisciplinary scholarship, with faculty and students from multiple disciplines working together. This plan aims at further strengthening Clark's overall research culture. In addition, the plan is responsive to fostering a number of focused areas of research excellence, and developing an innovative model that enhances collaborations between Clark's educational and research missions.

Collaborations: Enhance Clark's reputation and resource base by strengthening the University's capacity to develop, lead, and support strategic collaborations, from the local to global levels, that ensure that Clark is an institution that is consequential and engaged.

Clark will develop a model for institutions of higher education that involves significant collaborations, both within the campus community and beyond the campus with a wide range of external organizations. This work will build upon existing expertise. It will allow the University to expand the impact of existing work, presenting opportunities for identity-building resulting in increased visibility. Consequently, these collaborations will provide high-impact experiential learning opportunities for students, and attract new resources to Clark.

Faculty, Staff and Campus Culture: Create a campus culture that inspires intellectual daring and creativity, and that respects, supports, and compensates both faculty and staff in ways that enhance the University's research and educational missions.

Clark has benefitted tremendously from its creative and productive professoriate and its knowledgeable and dedicated staff. Further progress will depend on our ability to inspire and support our existing personnel, while at the same time hiring superb new faculty and staff as needed. We must also take concrete and effective steps to ensure that Clark has a campus culture that is welcoming and attractive to minority faculty, staff and students.