Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

I want to wish all of you a happy and rewarding 2018—a year that promises to be among the most consequential in our university’s history.

Fifteen months ago, we unveiled Northeastern 2025, a blueprint for higher education in an age of intelligent machines. This ambitious academic plan will transform Northeastern into a global university system for lifelong learning and discovery. It will prepare our learners to be the agile, adaptable, creative problem solvers required to build sustainable human communities in the 21st century.

The enduring strength of this plan is that you shaped it. But even the best academic plans do not implement themselves. On Wednesday, continuing a discussion that our community began at the onset of the planning process, a diverse group of faculty, staff, and senior leaders gathered together to turn our collective vision into reality.

Over the course of an afternoon, our seven Integration Teams—called I-Teams—presented an impressive set of preliminary proposals, all intentionally designed to maximize cross-cutting approaches and minimize organizational silos.

We discussed ways to infuse humanics—the integration of technological, data, and human literacies—into our growing network of learning experiences. We explored how to leverage the university’s global system of campuses and partners to redesign the first-year student experience. We focused on the tools of artificial intelligence and Big Data to personalize and customize lifelong learning in ways we could not have imagined just a few years ago. We considered interactive applications to expand our diverse networks for discovery, learning, and community. And we delved into the concepts that animate the essence of Northeastern—experience—to make Northeastern a truly global brand.

Of course, these bold ideas cannot be achieved without the talent to lead and execute them. Our talent I-team is mapping a strategic plan to remake the university’s culture around attracting, retaining, and developing talent throughout our institution.

Northeastern 2025 represents nothing less than a revolution in higher education. Its execution must be equally audacious and boundary-breaking. The directions we discussed yesterday are a great start, but only a beginning. To finish, we will need the talent, commitment, and imagination of each and every one of you—our faculty, staff and students. This will include senior administrators, our academic leaders in the Faculty Senate, and across our schools and colleges. If you have an idea that will move us closer to our goals, share it.

Reach out to your dean or a senior leader of your office. Join one of the groups that will come together to advance the work of our I-Teams. I thank you, in advance, for your outstanding contributions.


Joseph E. Aoun