Mission & Strategic Plan

Our Mission

The College of Fine and Applied Arts is dedicated to the advancement, practice, and understanding of the arts. The central focus of the college is the synergy between research and the preparation of students for professional careers in the creation and interpretation of the environmental, visual, and performing arts. Deeply related to that focus is the commitment to elevate and sustain the study of the arts as both a necessary mode of understanding and a vibrant expression of human experience within the local, national, and international communities.

The mission is carried out through:

  • A commitment to quality education and teaching excellence;
  • The creation of visual art objects, music compositions and performances, theatrical productions, dance choreography and repertory, and cross-disciplinary performances;
  • The design of sustainable architecture, landscapes, and plans that nurture communities and adhere to the highest professional standards;
  • The pursuit and dissemination of knowledge through scholarship, research, application, and service; and
  • The determination to balance the preservation of our artistic legacies with the desire for innovation within our artistic practices.

The college is an international leader for research and practice in the arts with an emphasis on professional excellence, diversity, innovation, and preservation.

Strategic Plan | 2018–2021

We are currently developing our next strategic plan. Review our most recent strategic plan document below.

Actionable Goals

We are committed to enacting the following actionable goals in the areas of curricula development, student experience and recruitment, research, and operational enhancement over the next five years.


  1. Create opportunities for credit-bearing, certifiable training in business and entrepreneurship for all FAA students.
  2. Develop and deliver a college-hosted, large-scale course for non-majors on design.
  3. Create a college-hosted design minor, accessible to all campus, and geared to utilize existing courses.
  4. Establish courses that fulfill the U.S. Minority Cultures General Education requirement and explore their coordination as a minor/concentration in race, ethnicity, and the arts.
  5. Establish a college-hosted undergraduate degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment.
  6. Ensure skilled advising for all undergraduate students, with consistent integrated guidance on post-graduation and career paths.
  7. Assess and address demand and opportunities for education in performance-related fields for students outside the college.
  8. Establish new revenue-generating masters’ programs in Sustainability, Urban Design, and Design Thinking.
  9. Formalize access to study-abroad opportunities across the college.

Student Experience and Recruitment

  1. Coordinate efforts in Career Services, Advising, and Advancement/Alumni Relations to grow regular student internship opportunities with external partners.
  2. Assess retention and graduation rates for students from underrepresented minority groups to ensure consistency with the campus’ ambitious goals.
  3. Connect meaningfully with all accepted undergraduate applicants through their decision process to ensure a good application experience and improved admission yields.
  4. Improve scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students, with a focus on funding for students from underrepresented minority groups.
  5. Ensure quality experience and clear communication about curricula, opportunities, and expected outcomes for graduate students from recruitment through career placement.
  6. Cultivate substantive partnerships and connections with K–12 schools in the City of Chicago and across the state.


  1. Complete and realize goals of the Design Research Initiative, advancing recommendations of the Fellows for sustaining a culture of research in design across the college.
  2. Design and launch a new research center housing labs for interdisciplinary performance, arts-integrative research methods, and public/community partnerships.
  3. Build meaningful cooperation among humanities programs with peers across the college and the campus, including shared seminars and cosponsored events and guests.


  1. Ensure clear understanding among faculty and staff of the revised campus budget model and goals for application of new revenue.
  2. Create paths and training for leadership and deeper participation in governance for faculty and staff, with a special emphasis on women and people of color.
  3. Incentivize and track advancement of unit-specific diversity goals on an annual basis, including sustained anti-racism education for students, faculty, and staff.
  4. Develop a comprehensive digital communication strategy and a new college website, integrating engagement across media platforms at unit and college levels.
  5. Assess fit of current college name and identity; devise and evaluate possible new names.


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