Strategic Leadership Roadmap

The Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences roadmap: declaration, values, and drivers for change.

AG Futures College Roadmap

Anticipating emerging challenges facing Pennsylvania and the college, more than a year ago the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences recognized the need for organizational change and began a process designed to develop and implement a new business model for the college and address budget strategies.  The process —termed AG Futures — includes the identification of opportunities for strategic growth and has resulted in an updated college strategy for which we are now beginning implementation.


To be one of the top five Colleges of Agricultural Sciences in the US and an international leader in understanding the natural and human systems underlying agricultural and natural resource sciences, translating that understanding to enhance quality of life, and educating the leaders of today and the future.


  • Passionately pursuing excellence and innovation across all functions, using a team approach for solving complex problems that serve the common good.
  • Fostering diversity, multicultural understanding, cross cultural competency and an atmosphere of mutual respect.
  • Demonstrating integrity, honesty, openness, shared responsibility and mutual accountability.
  • Engaging students and stakeholders through listening, experiential learning and problem solving.
  • Stewarding resources responsibly.
  • Nurturing personal and professional growth and development.

Core Competencies

  • Putting Science to Work -- Effectively discovering and translating relevant research and science to solve real world problems related to the interface of the food and fiber system, ecosystem, and socioeconomic system.
  • Teaching and Learning by Doing -- Engaging students, scientists, leaders, and employees in lifelong experiential learning to increase their preparedness and effectiveness to solve real world problems.
  • Providing Access to Information/Solutions  -- Providing unique and user friendly distribution and access models that rapidly connect students, academia, governments, industry, and consumers to objective information and solutions. Engaging stakeholders to ensure that solutions are actually distributed, implemented, evaluated, and improved through feedback.
  • Valuing and Building Diverse Partnerships -- Bringing diverse teams of stakeholders to the table to facilitate relevant, comprehensive and collaborative solutions that are developed by defining and leveraging the emerging issues, opposing viewpoints, concerns, strengths, and knowledge of all partners.
  • Leveraging Unique National Networks -- Aggressively participating in and leveraging the expertise, resources, and opportunities of the unique, national land grant system that includes partnerships with land grant and other institutions, USDA, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and other governmental agencies.

Strategic Imperatives

  • Key opportunities in the relationship among agriculture, food and health
  • Our ability to bridge animal and human health
  • Cooperative extension delivery system and business model
  • Sustainability, including land use, ecosystems, and life cycle analysis
  • Consolidate and strengthen undergraduate, graduate, and extension education programs

Growth Drivers

  • Business model for a potential Food, Nutrition and Health Institute
  • Food safety and GAPS
  • Animal welfare
  • Invasive species/pest prediction and response
  • Cooperative extension: reframing to an interdisciplinary team approach
  • Sustainability: water quality and quantity, forested ecosystems, renewable energy, Chesapeake Bay, and Marcellus shale
  • Entrepreneurship across all strategic imperatives
  • Undergraduate program changes for plant sciences and others
  • Graduate program changes for life sciences and others

Organizational Drivers

  • Redesign college academic structure
  • Revenue generation opportunities across resident education, extension education, and research
  • Extension administrative restructuring to achieve efficiencies
  • Training and development in leadership, collaboration, core competencies, etc
  • Farm operations management and programmatic efficiencies to reduce expenses

Operational Drivers

  • IT centralization
  • Operating budget
  • Standardized reporting structure
  • Investment priority setting
  • Grants and contracts administrative support
  • Centralized web structure and support
  • Cvent as a centralized and standardized registration and marketing system
  • Program assessment
  • Performance evaluation
  • Internal communication to reinforce culture and values


  • Undergraduate and graduate enrollment and degrees conferred
  • World Campus and extension program enrollment
  • Scholarship funding

  • Impacts achieved by participants in college programs, e.g., cost savings/cost avoidance in food and natural resource industries and organizations; jobs created; safer and more abundant food supply

  • Student achievement of program learning objectives

  • Student and stakeholder satisfaction measures

  • Extramural funding totals

  • Publications and college-initiated invention disclosures

  • Cost savings, cost avoidance, and revenue generation

  • Non-appropriated funding increases

  • Number of multidisciplinary and collaborative projects across college programs

  • Faculty, extension educator, and staff satisfaction with the college climate

Updated June 10, 2011