Last year, we embarked together on an academic planning process designed to reflect on Northeastern’s purpose and envision our future. The Academic Plan articulates the priorities that lie at the heart of our academic enterprise: leadership in experiential education, interdisciplinary and translational research and scholarship, urban and global engagement, creative expression, and intellectual life. Yesterday’s unveiling of the 2009 budget affirms that our academic priorities are, and will continue to be, the driving force behind our financial planning.

At the start of the budget-planning process, I asked Provost Ahmed Abdelal and Chief Financial Officer Jack McCarthy to work with the deans, faculty, and student leaders to build a budget determined by our shared academic priorities. As a result, nearly three-quarters of this year’s budget increase will be dedicated to expanding and strengthening the academic enterprise in its entirety, from faculty recruitment and development to the instructional and research infrastructure. This budgetary commitment is the largest allocation of funds Northeastern has dedicated to the academic enterprise in our history.

The new budget provides a portion of the means necessary to sustain initiatives and programs central to our rising academic profile—efforts like the Interdisciplinary Faculty Initiative, the Academic Investment Plan, and significant new funding for graduate student assistantships. It also enables us to respond to our students’ desire for additional study abroad and Dialogue of Civilizations opportunities, more financial aid, and increased library and dining hall hours, among many other improvements to our academic programs and campus life.

I would like to thank the deans, faculty, and student leaders who assisted during the planning of the budget. Your ideas, thoughts, and comments were invaluable. As we move forward to realizing the priorities embodied in the budget, I invite everyone to join in our efforts. It will take more than financial resources; it will require all of our creative and intellectual resources as well. If you haven’t already, I hope that you will become involved with the process of recruiting outstanding new faculty and recognizing and supporting the talented faculty already here. I ask that you relay new research interests, both fundamental and translational, to the deans. And I urge you to continue to think of innovative ways to attract financial support for our endeavors.

We all care deeply about the scholarly excellence upon which this University rests. That shared commitment will guide us in shaping the future of Northeastern.