2015-2020 Strategic Plan
Plan 2020 [view as PDF]
Building a more just, humane,
and sustainable world
As a Catholic and Jesuit university, Loyola is guided by a living intellectual tradition. All of Loyola’s undertakings—its teaching, research, and service—are infused with a conviction regarding the sacred character of all reality, the dignity of every human person, the mutually informing dynamic between faith and reason, and the responsibility to care for our world and especially those who are suffering most. Moreover, our Jesuit pedagogy is informed by the conviction that faith, knowledge, and the promotion of justice are intrinsically related: They are not three independent aspects of education that are merely juxtaposed, but rather they form a triad in which each is dynamically related and incomplete without the others. This conviction is open to the contributions of men and women of all faith traditions and anyone of good will.
Our commitment to social justice is long-standing, embodied in a myriad of ways across the University—in the work of individual researchers, pedagogical initiatives, academic programs, Centers of Excellence, and more. In the words of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach (2000), the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, “Every Jesuit academic institution of higher learning is called to live in a social reality ... and to live for that social reality, to shed university intelligence upon it, and to use university influence to transform it.”
Loyola University Chicago is certainly grounded in a particular social reality—its historic mission and role in Chicago; its Jesuit and Catholic identity; its own history; its rich community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni; and the current cultural context in which it is immersed. Given the many new challenges faced by this urban community and the world in which we live, and the urgency of certain social and environmental conditions, we ask ourselves if that mission needs to be expanded and deepened, once more, for the greater honor and glory of God.
The University is well positioned to begin this reflection and to plan for its future. The present stability of the institution, the support it receives from alumni and friends, plus a growing number of faculty and staff eager to participate in a collective effort to improve the condition of those in our community and world all make this an opportune time to reflect on what we might do and who we might become. Our conversation is further contextualized by a sense of urgency, felt on the national and international level, for an engaged pedagogy to guide our teaching and a renewed commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to solving societal and environmental problems. We believe there is need for a new kind of university committed to going beyond its walls to include those needing assistance and those seeking justice.
Our next strategic plan is intended to guide the University from 2015 to its sesquicentennial anniversary in 2020. It addresses a singular question: How do we, as a university, live in and for this social reality and use our influence to transform it? Said another way, how might Loyola become a beacon of hope for others and an instrument for preparing young men and women for the project of building a more just, humane, and sustainable world?
To address this challenge, Loyola must view itself as a "social project," more than a collection of schools, departments, and programs. We must see ourselves as "a transformative agent," an institution that "seeks to insert itself into a society, not just to train professionals, but in order to become a cultural force advo- cating and promoting truth, virtue, development, and peace in that society" (Nicolás, 2010:7). This strategic plan challenges us to expand our understanding of the social realities of the poor and to employ the vast treasure of our Judeo-Christian humanistic tradition—along with our experience and expertise in accompaniment with those in need—in a collective effort to improve the condition of those in our community and world.