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The Occidental Promise

鶹Ƶ will be the principal destination for a distinctive urban liberal arts experience, one that uniquely engages the full potential of global Los Angeles at its doorstep. With a commitment to academic excellence, equity and justice, immersive student learning and an innovative pedagogy that creates meaningful opportunities for hands-on research and practical experience, Occidental will continue to prepare our graduates to lead fulfilling lives of impact.

The Occidental Promise is the strategic plan for 鶹Ƶ, a culmination of an 18-month collaborative strategic planning process to develop priorities that will guide our work through 2030. The Occidental Promise expresses an aspirational vision that builds on our strengths, upholds our values, foregrounds our mission, and elevates the College. The plan was informed by the recommendations of working groups comprised of faculty, staff, and students, written by President Elam, and unanimously endorsed by the 鶹Ƶ Board of Trustees.

​The plan defines three interdependent promises that will guide our strategic approach:

Our engagement with the world around us will foster our excellence, through an immersive education that is hands-on, project-based, and community-engaged.

We will deepen and expand our partnerships with Los Angeles community, civic and industry organizations, creating distinctive learning opportunities for students and faculty.

We will educate the whole student, attending to well-being, resilience, and community, ever mindful of the significance of equity and inclusion in addressing students’ needs.

Because of their importance in all that we do, equity and inclusion, and sustainability and climate resilience will inform and infuse each of these promises.

About The Occidental Promise and Its Strategies

Our three promises build on Oxy’s strengths and chart new possibilities. Working in concert, they create a distinctive liberal arts experience animated by both our location in global, dynamic and complex Los Angeles, and our abiding commitment to building a caring, cohesive 鶹Ƶcommunity.

The First Promise: The Promise Of Ensuring Academic Excellence

Academic excellence is fundamental to preparing our students ethically, intellectually, and socially for meaningful participation in public life. 鶹Ƶstudents, with their wide-ranging interests, are eager to make a difference, inheriting a world whose needs are so very pressing. We believe the context for liberal arts education today demands that we invest in transformative immersive education experiences.

Learn about the strategies that will achieve this promise:

STRATEGY 1: ADVOCATING FOR THE FACULTY THROUGH T3 EXPANSION AND WORKLOAD MANAGEMENT

Recruiting and retaining exceptional faculty is critical to our maintaining and furthering academic excellence, and to do that we must both expand our faculty and develop a more sustainable approach to faculty workload. Only through encouraging and enabling faculty drive and persistence, ingenuity and innovation, dedication and commitment, can our Occidental education prosper.

STRATEGY 2: EXPANDING IMMERSIVE EDUCATION

Immersive experiences enable students to learn about themselves and their world in profound ways. 鶹Ƶhas already offered inventive, interactive “immersive” programs for some time. This type of education is in our DNA, and we aim to expand it in ways that will both reimagine and reaffirm liberal arts education.

STRATEGY 3: BUILDING SITES OF EMPHASIS

We will also invest in sites of emphasis: academic areas where Occidental has or can achieve distinction, and that are a significant attraction to our students.

The Second Promise: The Promise Of Forging Unique And Mutually Beneficial Relationships With The City Of Los Angeles

Our location in Los Angeles sets us apart as does the breadth and depth of our mutually beneficial community partnerships. By both deepening and expanding our engagements with community, civic, and industry partners, we will create unparalleled learning opportunities for our students and bring 鶹Ƶdistinction as a valued partner on issues facing Los Angeles communities.

Learn about the strategies that will achieve this promise:

STRATEGY 1: ESTABLISHING AND DEVELOPING AN OXY CENTER FOR PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOS ANGELES

The Center will coordinate, generate, and advocate for Los Angeles-engaged work across divisions and departments, house and drive specific, innovative community-engaged projects and programs, and help source partnerships between 鶹Ƶfaculty and students and Los Angeles community, civic, and industry partners.

STRATEGY 2: EXPANDING COMMUNITY BASED LEARNING

鶹Ƶhas developed important and effective models of community-engaged learning over the last ten or more years. These models create immersive learning opportunities for students, and they foster our deep ties with community partners. To support our engagement in and with Los Angeles, and to create a breadth of opportunities for immersive learning, we will expand and proliferate these approaches across departments.

STRATEGY 3: EXPANDING OUR PARTNERSHIPS ACROSS DISCIPLINES AND SECTORS

Oxy’s existing partnerships are impressive and expanding them even further will only support immersive education, the student experience, and Oxy’s relevance to Los Angeles.

The Third Promise: The Promise Of Educating The Whole Student and Renewing Community

We recognize that our students are entering the College and coming of age in a world that requires their persistence, courage, and understanding. We aim to support students’ personal growth and well-being, in addition to and in support of their academic thriving. We seek to create a thriving campus with shared community values where every student feels that they are valued and that they belong.

Learn about the strategies that will achieve this promise:

STRATEGY 1: PROACTIVELY PROMOTING STUDENT HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

According to a June 2022 Boston University study, depression among college students has increased by nearly 135% in the last eight years, and anxiety has surged by 110%. The pandemic has had a profound impact on students’ mental health, yet the rate of help-seeking among struggling students has decreased, especially among racial and ethnic minorities. We will pilot a Health Promotion Program for five years that aims to enhance the culture of health and wellness at Oxy, and thus support student health and success, and improve student, faculty and staff retention.

STRATEGY 2: ELEVATING THE RESIDENTIAL EXPERIENCE

Student housing is at the center of the residential experience, and it consequently plays a significant role in students’ health and wellbeing. Feeling secure, safe, and a sense of belonging in their “home away from home” also positively impacts students’ academic performance. We will resume a regular schedule of refreshing residential spaces and undertake an analysis to optimize residential spaces in the long term.

STRATEGY 3: EXPAND RESOURCES AND INCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO ACCESS LOS ANGELES

If the urban liberal arts experience is our calling card, and our location in Los Angeles is our distinction, we must ensure equitable access to students to explore the city and all it has to offer.

STRATEGY 4: FACILITATING STUDENT ACCESS TO ACADEMIC AND SUPPORT RESOURCES

鶹Ƶoffers myriad resources for student academic and personal success, though students indicate it is sometimes difficult to identify, navigate and coordinate the different support and services that might benefit them. Centralizing these resources in a single location will help students identify and utilize them more effectively. In addition creating programs to support first generation, low-income, undocumented and transfer students in their unique transitions to Occidental will foster equitable access to campus resources and opportunities.

STRATEGY 5: FOSTER UNDERSTANDING AND COMMUNITY THROUGH JEID TRAINING AND RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

Promoting equity, inclusion and justice requires consistent use of an equity lens in all of our work, understanding fostered through consistent training and education, and dedicated resources to help all of our students embrace the full breadth of opportunity that is the promise of an Occidental education.