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A CONTEXT FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES AT PENN

In the coming century, all lawyers will be called upon to integrate the findings of an ever-wider array of human knowledge, change specialties and update substantive knowledge more frequently, and move readily across professional boundaries. The goal of the Law School’s strategic plan is to become the national leader in building the intellectual capital and training the human capital for this vision of “lawyer-leadership” in the 21st Century.

Strategic Plan for the
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Dr. Judith Rodin

In 1997 the preceding statement was published in the Fall issue of the Penn Law Journal. The genesis of the Strategic Plan was University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Judith Rodin’s charge to each of Penn’s schools to outline strategies to bridge Penn’s transition from the 20th century to the 21st century.

Dean Michael A. Fitts, who was then on the faculty of the Law School and serving as Associate Dean, was called upon to serve on the University Provost’s Academic Planning and Budget Committee to consult and help draft Penn’s vision statement for the future.

The outcome, the Agenda for Excellence, identified the assets of the University’s component schools and ways that each could strengthen its base through curriculum integration with other schools. At the heart of the Agenda was an outline of institutional goals and strategies, the pre-eminent goal being the shared aspiration to solidify and advance Penn’s position as one of the world’s premier teaching and research universities. The Strategic Plan was the blueprint for how these ambitious goals would be achieved at the Law School.

The Agenda for Excellence and the Law School’s Strategic Plan both stated that students would grow from the experience of crossing boundaries – between the arts and sciences and the professions; between learning and creating knowledge; between traditional methods and new technology; between faculty and students; and between academics and campus life. As Associate Dean to Dean Colin S. Diver, then-Professor Fitts was the first to implement the beginning stages of the Law School’s Strategic Plan. He began by setting up several joint degrees programs with Penn’s allied schools.

 
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