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Salem State University's Mission and Core Values

Core Values

Core Values

In pursuing our mission, as a campus community we embrace, are inspired by, and seek to embody the following core institutional values:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Student-Centeredness
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Belonging
  • Open Inquiry
  • Civic Engagement
  • Access and Affordability
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Collaborative Leadership 

Academic Excellence –We are dedicated to assuring teaching excellence and providing experiential and culturally responsive pedagogies and other high-impact strategies that promote learning in and beyond the classroom. We are committed to building and supporting a diverse faculty of highly qualified teachers and scholars who are equity-minded and student-focused. We balance an unwavering commitment to an educational experience firmly grounded in the liberal arts with the responsibility to be responsive to regional workforce trends. We believe in promoting faculty and student research and creative endeavors that expand knowledge and academic disciplines, inform or inspire others, and connect us with the wider world.

Student-Centeredness –We believe in, care about, and empower every student, and we believe everyone on campus, no matter the job description, has a role to play in contributing to student success. Being student-centered means learning who our students are and what they bring when they enroll; understanding who they wish to become and where they want their educations to lead them; helping them discover their strengths and passions; and then supporting and challenging them to dig deeper, reach higher, and go farther than they imagined possible. 

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion –We promote an inclusive campus environment that respects human differences, welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its dimensions, promotes global awareness, and inspires students, faculty and staff to be champions of equity and social justice. We believe justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion should be key considerations in university decision making, resource allocation, program design, and policy development. 

Belonging –We are committed to ensuring that the campus life and the classroom experience provide a sense of belonging to all students, particularly those from under-represented or marginalized backgrounds, first-generation students, and students who struggle economically or with challenges that may make them feel alone, different, or excluded. 

Open Inquiry –We promote and value critical exploration of diverse perspectives and democratic principles through open dialogue and civil discourse.

Civic Engagement –We believe a public university must be connected with and contributing to local, state, national, and global communities by engaging meaningfully in all spheres of civic life and fostering productive exchanges of knowledge and skills to the mutual benefit of students, faculty, and community. 

Access and Affordability –As a public institution, Salem State’s education should be readily and affordably accessible to any student from any background who qualifies for admission. Ability to pay should not be a barrier to access or completion.

Environmental Sustainability –Salem State is deeply committed to reducing its environmental impact and to wise stewardship of natural resources. We believe the university must do all it can to promote and model environmental sustainability and to help SSU students understand both what is at stake and what can be done to address an accelerating climate emergency.

Collaborative Leadership –We value all voices and viewpoints, and through a commitment to transparency, clear communication, collaboration, and shared governance, we are committed to providing all members of the Salem State community meaningful opportunities to discuss and have input on issues affecting the future direction of the university. 


Meeting the Moment: Salem State's Strategic Plan 2023-2028

Salem State’s 2023-2028 Strategic Goals

Commitment to Student Success

Salem State’s 2023-2028 Strategic Goals

Commitment to Student Success

Our commitment to student success and life readiness is the unifying commitment at the very center of this strategic plan and will remain Salem State University’s North Star. We are committed to fostering student success and life readiness by creating a challenging and supportive learning environment that fully engages students in their learning and promotes attainment of academic, personal, and career goals. This core commitment is reflected in and supported by the strategic plan’s seven goals and associated objectives.

Student-Centered Strategic Imperatives

  • Build and sustain a campus culture of inclusion and belonging in which diversity in its many forms is acknowledged, valued, celebrated, and integrated into the entire college-going experience
  • Strengthen onboarding structures, activities, and services to assist students in adjusting to and succeeding as engaged learners in a university learning environment
  • Provide experiences and supports that improve retention and promote timely progress toward educational goals for all student populations, including dual-enrollment, early-college, transfer, and graduate students
  • Remove institutional barriers that negatively affect the college experience or academic progress of non-traditional, minority, marginalized, or economically disadvantaged students
  • Expand high-impact programmatic and engagement initiatives—such as student research, study abroad, internships, and community service—that prepare students for future careers and help students build confidence, connections, and life-skill learning outside the classroom
  • Reimagine and revamp the approach to student advising in order to provide more comprehensive and holistic support and promote students’ engagement, well-being and academic success throughout their years of study.

A Challenging and Supportive Learning Environment that Fully Engages Students in Their Learning and Promotes Attainment of Academic, Personal and Career Goals.

Goal: Develop and support high-quality academic programs and innovative educational experiences that equip Salem State graduates to thrive in an evolving workforce and to navigate confidently in an increasingly complex and global society

1.1    Sustain Salem State’s commitment to providing a foundation in the liberal arts and strengthen the general education curriculum 
1.2    Provide an array of transformative experiential learning opportunities that prepare students for a lifetime of engaged citizenship, successful careers, and upward social mobility
1.3    Design and deliver academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels that are cross-disciplinary, civically minded, culturally responsive, and anti-racist
1.4    Engage students and scholars in improving the human condition through academic programs, research, and creative activities that address the pressing matters of our time, including social justice, racial equity, health disparities, climate change, and economic inequality
1.5    Leverage our location in historic Salem on the North Shore of Massachusetts, while also constructing a more globally aware curriculum, in ways that further distinguish the university’s academic offerings and enhance students’ learning experiences
1.6    Provide students a strategically designed class schedule that offers a range of course delivery formats and equip the faculty with the tools and confidence to ensure the quality of students’ experience in any course does not depend on modality
1.7    Remove barriers to successful degree program completion through implementation of retention and persistence strategies for at-risk, under-represented, and systemically marginalized learners
1.8    Create and implement a more robust academic advising model for both undergraduates and graduate students that leverages technology and is integrated, equitable, and readily accessible

Goal: Cultivate a civically engaged community of learners and scholars committed to public problem solving in a diverse democracy, and align curriculum, co-curriculum, research, and creative activity with opportunities to promote the public good

2.1    Build on SSU’s historic commitment to social justice and civic engagement and expand Salem State’s reputation as the Commonwealth’s Civic Engagement University
2.2    Increase our campus community’s understanding of the intersection of civic engagement with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work
2.3    Expand and strengthen the university’s regional connections for experiential learning, civically engaged pedagogical and curricular innovation, scholarship, and creative endeavors
2.4    Organize and enhance experiential learning opportunities and increase use of high-impact practices to support students’ personal development and professional preparation
2.5    Strengthen the university’s capacity to foster students’ leadership skills for the purpose of social change
2.6    Enhance SSU’s impact in the North Shore region by working with community stakeholders to identify societal challenges that can be addressed through meaningful, collaborative partnerships

Goal: Increase the diversity of our campus community, and promote equity and inclusion in all programs, policies, and practices

3.1     Continue to promote equitable access and boost college participation through expanded partnerships with PK-12 districts and improved, barrier-free transfer pathways for community college students
3.2    Incorporate principles of universal design to foster a more inclusive learning environment that acknowledges and supports a diverse range of student needs and abilities and promotes equitable outcomes for all learners
3.3    Create a culture of support for, and expand investment in, professional development for faculty, staff, and student employees around, culturally responsive teaching and learning, student services, and operations in all areas
3.4    Transform academic programs, policies, pedagogies, and practices such that they are rooted in a commitment to racial equity
3.5    Build a strong record of hiring, supporting, and retaining faculty, staff, and administrators of color and from historically underrepresented groups, and increase SSU’s retention and graduation rates for minority or marginalized students 
3.6    Assert SSU’s leadership as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) modeling the design and implementation of an intentional, successful plan to serve, support, and empower students at and through all levels of the institution
3.7    Prioritize research, creative activity, and knowledge creation that contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly as they relate to the experiences of students from historically under-represented communities
3.8    Continue striving to remove financial barriers to access by investing in financial aid for students and championing the cause of providing debt-free public higher education in Massachusetts

Goal: Reflect Salem State’s core commitment to protecting the natural environment in campus facilities, operations, academics and decision making, and equip faculty, staff and students to understand and engage in addressing the climate emergency

4.1    Create a campus culture of sustainability and infuse sustainability into campus decision making
4.2    Demonstrate leadership in climate action and climate justice by engaging the Salem State community and broader North Shore region in educational and collaborative initiatives that raise awareness and contribute significantly to efforts to safeguard local resources
4.3    Implement emission reduction strategies and aggressively pursue carbon neutrality
4.4    Develop and implement a sustainable waste management system that emphasizes waste prevention
4.5    Maximize opportunities for low-carbon construction and for energy and water efficiency in all new building projects and major renovations  
4.6    Ensure that buildings, landscapes, and natural areas create and sustain a campus community that conserves natural resources, restores environmental quality, and protects biodiversity
4.7    Ensure sustainability-related academic offerings meet student interest and support opportunities to create and disseminate knowledge relating to environmental stewardship and climate action

Goal: Foster a campus culture that fuels school spirit, sense of community and collegiality, mutual respect and trust, and shared commitment to student success and the University’s long-term future

5.1    Engage faculty, staff, and students in creating and maintaining a supportive environment that promotes student engagement, empowerment, sense of belonging, and progress toward goals
5.2    Ensure clear and consistent internal communications foster awareness, transparency, trust, and a deeper sense of community among campus stakeholders
5.3    Promote a heightened sense of pride in Salem State’s identity and the accomplishments of members of the Salem State community
5.4    Nurture the development of meaningful professional relationships at all levels of the organization and foster an engaged student community that promotes relationship building and involvement in campus life
5.5    Foster physical, mental, social, and emotional wellness among all members of the campus community in an environment that feels safe and prioritizes holistic health
5.6    Expand professional development opportunities and encourage lifelong learning for faculty and staff
5.7    Strengthen shared governance practices and seek expanded campus participation in conversations and endeavors relevant to institutional mission and goals
5.8    Equip and engage members of the SSU community to be effective advocates and ambassadors for Salem State in the wider community

Goal: Continuously assess and improve the administrative and operational systems, structures, and processes that support the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service, and maintain physical facilities and technologies necessary to deliver the mission effectively and efficiently

6.1    Establish Salem State as a first-choice place to work and pursue a career
6.2    Prioritize meeting student needs and promoting organizational effectiveness when evaluating, determining, and implementing optimal staffing models and levels
6.3    Enhance operational capacity to support students throughout the calendar year cost-effectively through innovative, collaborative approaches to expanding services and resources available to students in need
6.4    Complete the transformative SSU BOLD project to address major capital needs and establish a compact, efficient campus core
6.5    Update the campus master vision plan and continue to chip away at deferred maintenance 
6.6    Enhance physical infrastructure and facilities management plans to improve access and optimize experiences for all who attend, work at, or visit the university
6.7    Develop and implement an enterprise risk management model for all university functions, and build a campus-wide culture of assessment, continuous improvement, and accountability
6.8    Pursue strategies to standardize, streamline, as necessary upgrade, and support technology systems and infrastructure across campus

Goal: Fortify Salem State’s financial foundation by stabilizing enrollment, growing income from existing and new revenue streams, advocating for greater public funding support, continuing to build a culture of philanthropy, and aligning resources with strategic priorities

7.1    Expand interest in enrolling at Salem State through strategic marketing aimed at expanding public awareness of the intrinsic value and enduring benefits of a Salem State education
7.2    Sustain tuition and housing-related revenues by improving retention and completion rates for current students
7.3    Increase tuition revenues by diversifying and expanding markets and student populations and through new and expanded programs that generate enrollment-driven revenue
7.4    Seek to grow and diversify sources of non-tuition revenue, and proactively advocate for increased public funding
7.5    Foster a campus-wide culture of philanthropy and deepen engagement with Salem State alumni and the wider community
7.6    Ensure policies, systems, budgeting practices, and staff competencies are adequate to sustain financial health
7.7    Engage the campus community and shared governance in thoughtful institutional discernment about how most effectively to invest and deploy limited resources in order to maximize impact and promote shared accountability for prudent resource management

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