This Strategic Plan of the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) is a call to action. We are living in the “Anthropocene,” a geological epoch in which human activity is a dominant influence upon the Earth’s environment and climate. With this reality come existential challenges, including climate change, mass extinction, biological and resource depletion, food and water insecurity, human population growth, and the recognition that the wellbeing of all living things—as individuals and as species—is interdependent and essential to the long-term health of our planet.
Developing solutions for such major challenges requires innovative scholarship, transformative and experiential education, and a commitment to public outreach and engagement to ensure a robust and thriving future not only for humans, but for all of Earth’s inhabitants.
SEBS is uniquely configured and positioned to lead the efforts at Rutgers University to address these challenges.
This Strategic Plan is developed by the SEBS community—its faculty, students, staff, and alumni—in a moment of transition in leadership within our School and the University. The Plan builds on the strengths of our traditions in research, teaching, outreach, and engagement. It outlines our strategic ambitions that will help the faculty, as well as the new leadership of SEBS and Rutgers in the spirit of shared governance, to prioritize and shape our contributions to the success of the University as a leading, Tier 1 research and education institution.
This report is a contribution to the university-wide strategic discussion on academic unit organization (see report of the Committee on Academic Unit Organization), and is based on a thorough self-study conducted by SEBS in 2017 and an external review of SEBS conducted in 2018.
The Plan also provides our current and prospective students with our sense of purpose and our aspirations for their educational journeys; it emphasizes for our staff, who are essential to our success, our shared purpose and their contribution; it provides New Jersey residents and our partners in the agricultural, environmental, and business sectors with a promise to continue our land-grant mission to support their health, productivity, and sustainability; and it provides our alumni with a vision of our future of which they can be proud.
It is within this context that we put forth this Call to Action.