​​​​​​A year ago September, more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students packed the Lincoln Park quad on a splendid late summer day to celebrate the launch of our new strategic plan, “Vision 2018: Dedication to Excellence, Commitment to Community.” Just one year into our six-year strategic plan, transformative activities already have made a difference across our campuses.

Highlights of our first-year accomplishments include a new ranking that illustrates DePaul’s effective efforts to address one of the most pressing issues in higher education today: affordability. Analyzing data on lifetime earnings and tuition and fees, Affordable Colleges Online recently ranked DePaul No. 4 on its list of the Highest Return on Investment Colleges in Illinois. DePaul degrees pay off for our graduates, who are among the top lifetime earners, on average, as compared to graduates from the majority of public and private institutions across the state.

Another prestigious ranking highlights academic innovation in the College of
Computing and Digital Media’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media, which earned a spot on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Film Schools of 2013. The ranking noted students’ hands-on experience, prestigious visiting professors, access to Cinespace—Chicago’s premier movie studio—and "contacts you can’t buy.”

Program Growth and Innovation

At a time of decline in college enrollments nationally, DePaul is experiencing significant growth in the health sciences, fueled in part by a strategic alliance between the College of Science and Health (CSH) and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. The expanding need for health care professionals is generating strong interest among incoming 2013 freshmen, whose applications to CSH accounted for nearly 30 percent of total applications for the 2013-14 academic year.

In September 2013, DePaul launched an interdisciplinary master’s program in sustainable urban development in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. It is believed to be the first program of its kind in the nation. DePaul also launched an MBA Primer for Entrepreneurship, a 15-week program combining the theoretical foundation of an MBA program with the real-world skills needed to lead a business venture.  

Meanwhile, as relevant work experience continues to give students across the university a head start in their job searches, the Career Center posted 4,000 internships last year, and the percentage of paid internships has been increasing steadily.

Diversity

During the 2012-13 academic year, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity created BUILD, a new professional development diversity certificate to engage every faculty and staff member in living DePaul’s values. The certificate program proved extraordinarily popular in its initial year and several sessions were over-subscribed. The Board of Trustees also has been recognized, listed recently in Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top Ten Best in Class Companies for Board Diversity. DePaul took its place among organizations with diverse boards, in which at least 45 percent of members are women or people of color and are engaged in setting diversity strategies for the institution.

Facilities

Creating a home for every college—one of the university’s ongoing strategic priorities—is reaching fruition. Acquisition of a former Children’s Memorial Hospital building has created a dedicated facility for the College of Education, just as the Theatre School moved into its new state-of-the-art space devoted to all things theatre. To support all students, the first floor of the Richardson Library has been transformed through renovations that provide an improved experience for users, including enhanced capacity for technology use, collaborative workstations and easy access to core collections.

“The first year of this plan has created momentum,” said Jay Braatz, vice president for Planning and Presidential Administration. “As we build on that energy in all five strategic areas, I am confident of achieving our vision for 2018.”  

Check out the First Year in Review