"Fairfield University's Strategic Plan is a broad and ambitious project to make Fairfield a model University for the 21st century, one that will develop young men and women to be effective and compassionate leaders, will renew the traditions of Jesuit and Catholic pedagogy, and be informed by a commitment to diversity and the promotion of justice so that students will be prepared to engage with the world around them as competent and informed global citizens."
This vision for Fairfield was first articulated by University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. In his 2004 inaugural address. In it, he outlined his goals for Fairfield, with emphases on three strategic priorities.
The first is the further interpretation and enhancement of a core curriculum of studies for undergraduate students, one that would give them a broad foundation in the arts, humanities, science, philosophy, languages, and religion, thereby preparing them to think creatively across disciplinary boundaries.
The second is the development of innovative programs for students to help them to integrate what they learned in the classroom with how they live their lives - this integration of living and learning is achieved through an intentional process that fosters deeper community engagement amongst the students, and emphasizes personal responsibility.
The third priority articulated in the inaugural speech is the integration of Jesuit and Catholic values - the concern for justice and the willingness to be of service to others -into Fairfield's graduate and professional programs.
These three goals would be accompanied by an increased commitment to a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives amongst the students, faculty and staff, and with a renewed commitment to the Jesuit and Catholic foundations on which the Fairfield tradition depends.
A series of conversations within the Fairfield community followed this first articulation of the vision, out of which has come the University's Strategic Plan. The implementation of the Plan is underway, and continues to evolve through an ongoing series of Strategic Conversations within the University community.
At the center of the Plan is a focus on student development. Fairfield has adopted a four-year developmental model to guide the thinking about how best to educate and form the undergraduate students, one that is based on the fundamental values of Jesuit pedagogy. The University has put in place programs, personnel, and upgraded our facilities with a view to enhance students' experience of community; to guide their vocational exploration; to encourage them to take on positions of leadership through civic engagement; and to reflect on how best to orient themselves towards the future through processes of personal discernment.
For our graduate and professional students Fairfield continues to explore how the Jesuit pedagogical principle of cura personalis or "care of the whole person" and the responsibility to promote justice can best inform the academic programs.
All of this is accompanied by an increased emphasis on Fairfield's obligation as a center of higher learning to be a place of cultural enrichment for the broader community.