Building on Distinction


On the 250th anniversary of its founding, Brown moves forward committed to the values that define and sustain our record of excellence and influence in the world.

We will continue to welcome and challenge independent, creative, diverse, and courageous thinkers to collaborate, innovate, and explore with life-changing and world-changing impact. That is Brown’s distinction and critical asset in an increasingly digital, fast-paced, global community. We will pursue Brown’s mission to discover, communicate, and preserve knowledge and understanding at an even higher level of distinction. We will raise Brown’s stature as a leading university that unites innovative teaching and outstanding research. Focused investments and responsible stewardship will support essential growth and long-term financial security.

Brown matters, to our community of students, faculty, and staff and to the world beyond. Brown is a place where ideas, passion, and constructive irreverence lead to lives of purpose and positive consequence. We aim to build on Brown’s distinction. 

The Brown Opportunity

The Plan for Academic Enrichment, carried out over the last decade, has confirmed Brown’s standing as an internationally renowned university by enriching the excellence of our research and the rigor of our education. We now have the opportunity to achieve new levels of leadership by sustaining and increasing investment in our distinctive academic programs. 

The Brown Difference

Our strategy builds on the essential characteristics that distinguish Brown from other leading universities. 

Brown is both a major research university and an educational institution based upon collegiate values. We believe that education and research reinforce each other and that the best academic programs bring innovative teaching and rigorous research together. 

Brown is widely known for its open undergraduate curriculum and the close working relationships between faculty and students. Innovative education that recognizes the value of student-centered learning at all levels –undergraduate, graduate, and medical – is fundamental to our vision of Brown’s future.

The Brown Approach

We are a community that celebrates intellectual curiosity, creativity, and individuality; appreciates the power of collaboration among individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds, and areas of expertise; and fosters research and education that strive to have a positive influence on society. 

In an era characterized by sharp ideological divisions, we will continue to cultivate an environment of open debate and informed civil discourse. In a world focused on immediate results, we will continue to invest in the long-term intellectual, creative, and social potential of our students, faculty, and staff. 


Brown’s strategic plan for the next ten years expresses our commitment to build in four areas: 

  • Integrative Scholarship | Brown excels at research and education that integrate knowledge from diverse disciplines. We will build on this distinctive strength through investments in thematic areas that will engage the full community on issues of importance to society now and in the future. 
  • Educational Leadership | Brown offers the best residential liberal education available at a research university. We will sustain Brown’s position as a leader in undergraduate, graduate, and medical education through innovative approaches to teaching and learning that prepare students for lives of “usefulness and reputation” in the 21st century.
  • Academic Excellence | Brown’s success is grounded in the talent of its faculty, staff, and students. We will continue to strengthen this community through investments that support scholarship, cultivate the diversity required for excellence, enhance students’ access to a Brown education, support existing academic partnerships, and forge new ones with institutions around the United States and the world. 
  • Campus Development | Brown’s campus must support its academic and extracurricular aspirations at the highest levels. We will reinvigorate our physical campus both on College Hill and off, strengthen our ties to our city and state, and create a robust virtual campus that enhances the connections between members of the Brown community – faculty, students, staff, alumni, and others – around the world.

As these plans are implemented over the coming decade, Brown will experience modest growth in the size of its faculty and student body, increasing Brown’s impact on the world. We will undertake our initiatives within a framework that keeps the University on a sustainable financial path as we continue to improve and grow. To enhance access and affordability, we will control cost growth even as we make investments that further raise the value of a Brown degree. We will make new investments in people, programs, and facilities timed and sequenced in a fiscally responsible manner. Finally, we will conduct ongoing critical reviews of existing and new programs, using appropriate metrics to measure success. 

Our plans are ambitious. Success will require the discipline and community spirit needed to set priorities and make focused investments, a willingness to define and measure success, and a capacity to make adjustments if our goals are not being met. Success will also require the full participation and support of the Brown community: faculty, students, staff, alumni, parents, and friends of the University. Now, on the eve of the 250th anniversary of the University’s founding, is an ideal time to challenge ourselves to move Brown to ever higher levels of significant scholarship and innovative education – to build on our distinction.