Draft Strategic Themes

Below are the five draft themes we are focusing on for our updated strategic plan.

1. We rise as one

Lewis & Clark is greater than the sum of our parts. The collaborative potential of our three schools is boundless. Driven by a singular mission, our faculty and staff will marshal our collective resources to offer even greater opportunities for our students, and more effectively tackle some of society’s greatest challenges, locally and globally.

Unconstrained by barriers―of history, habit, budget, and bureaucracy―we will focus our efforts on the areas of greatest synergy, where our people, our resources, our location and our aspirations meet to make the most impact.

Over the last few years, our schools have made great strides in working together to open up new pathways for our students. We have made it easier for undergraduates to pursue advanced degrees in the Graduate School and Law School. We have broken down silos to offer in-demand and applied skills-building through the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership. We have offered those pursuing an advanced degree in student life a campus laboratory to put their learning into practice. 

A possible example of this collaborative potential would be the creation of a groundbreaking new center focused on innovative policy solutions to one of the defining challenges of our time: climate, environment, and sustainability. We have the ingredients to amplify the impact of our individual schools to address the urgent issues of climate change, climate justice, and environmental innovation. This is but one way our collective power could offer more to our students and the planet.

As we move into the future, we must leverage the common areas of strength across the institution to increase our impact, envisioning a Lewis & Clark that transcends its current potential. As one entity, we are poised to confront society’s most intricate challenges, offering our students extraordinary educational opportunities that also have the power to reshape the world.


2. Experience beyond the classroom

A Lewis & Clark education happens inside and outside the classroom. Societal challenges, the pace of technological advancement, and a rapidly-changing workforce are transforming students’ educational needs and aspirations. Experiential and immersive learning—on and off campus—are more important than ever to equip our students for their lives and careers, some of which are in fields that may not even exist yet. Our offerings must include those that transcend the confines of traditional classrooms. Real-world engagement will complement students’ academic experiences, and build their capacity to succeed, lead, and shape the future. Such opportunities will equip students with the tools to thrive and make meaningful contributions while pursuing their degrees, as well as into their lives after Lewis & Clark.

We will address how we can organize and strengthen our experiential and applied learning initiatives. We will amplify our impact by both strengthening existing programs, such as Overseas Study, work-study, internships and placements, student leadership experiences, service learning, the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership, academic awards and fellowships, and by fostering new initiatives and collaborations.

Commitments to social justice thread across our three schools, where community-based opportunities for learning make a significant impact. We must build on existing programming to maximize this impact. The relatively new Center for Social Change and Community Involvement prepares Lewis & Clark undergraduate students to become active citizens through civic engagement, including volunteering, service-learning, practicums, internships, and alternative break experiences. Our Law School and Graduate School of Education and Counseling are integrated with and serve the Portland metropolitan community. Through work in schools, mental health, agencies, law clinics, and more, students and faculty are engaged across Portland as impactful partners providing value to our city.

As we chart our course forward, we must develop deeper integration with the Portland ecosystem. Strengthening ties with local businesses, nonprofits, and governmental entities will unlock a world of opportunities for our students to engage, to learn, and to lead.


3. Relentlessly student-focused

We aspire to a robust culture of student support and engagement across the three schools, believing that this holistic approach to students’ social and emotional well-being best positions them to thrive academically and as developing individuals.

We put our students first. And so we aspire to even better anticipate and meet the needs of our student populations, now and into the future.

We will build on our first-year and first-gen programs, faculty and staff mentorship, peer-to-peer support networks, diversity and inclusion programs, academic advising, and mental health resources. We will continue to expand our Community Dialogues program to make healthy, constructive dialogue an integral part of our institutional identity, foundational to who we are and how we relate to each other. A student-centered approach that focuses on simplifying administrative processes and platforms, improving communication, and reducing barriers will guide our decision-making. New programming that enhances inclusion and supports a more welcoming and supportive experience for our students will be prioritized.

In the undergraduate college, in particular, we must do more to get our students ready for success in their post-graduate lives. The Career Center plays a central role in our students’ futures from the moment they step on campus. We must strengthen our current programs to focus on outcomes and build new programs and partnerships to enhance our offerings.


4. Academic innovation to meet the future

Now is the time to be bold in developing new academic programs and curriculum that meet the needs of our students and a changing world. Within each of the three schools, and in the pathways between them, lie immense potential to enhance existing programs and degrees, and to develop new ones that prepare our students to confront and address society’s greatest challenges.

There is ample opportunity across all three schools to grow existing programs and develop new ones. In just the last few years, we have added high-demand areas such as Health Studies, Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation, and Data Science; a master’s degree in Art Therapy, a certificate in Gender Diversity in Children and Youth, and a Certificate in Ecotherapies; and degree programs in Animal Law and a JD certificate in Energy, Innovation and Sustainability Law. We are now considering new degree programs in climate justice and a bachelor’s degree in data science.

Lewis & Clark not only educates the leaders of tomorrow, we shape the future. We must dream big―and then marshal our collective will to make those dreams a reality to serve our students and create a better tomorrow.


5. Partnerships with Portland for the benefit of all

We are a vital part of Portland and can play a greater role in building a better Portland for all, while engaging our students in impactful, community-focused, skills-building work. The foundation for a productive and mutually beneficial partnership has already been built. We will significantly increase our impact by improving coordination across and within the three schools, collectively harnessing our resources and talents to bring positive change to the Portland community.

The strengths of our institution will be leveraged to bolster the city and help address some of its most intractable challenges. Partnerships with businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and community groups will provide boundless opportunities to enhance our students’ experiential learning, practical skills-building, networking and career pathways. We will be part of Portland’s revitalization and renaissance, envisioning and building a shared future.

The Graduate School’s Community Counseling Center and education internships and the Law School’s Small Business Legal Clinic and the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic are just a few great examples of avenues for positive engagement with increasing numbers of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits in the Portland metropolitan area, especially among traditionally underserved populations.

In the undergraduate college, the Connect-Portland (PDX) course designation highlights the experiential and inquiry-based learning that derives from our location in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. We will continue to increase our positive local impact while empowering our students to become stewards of change in their communities.

The Lewis & Clark-Portland Connections (LC-PC) Council brings together those who share an interest in opportunities for connection with and contributions to the well-being of the broader metropolitan community. There is great potential for enhanced collaboration, working together for the benefit of all.