A Strategic Plan for Ateneo de Manila University 2021-2030
Even before Ateneo de Manila University first went into lockdown in March 2020, the world was already volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated changes and highlighted vulnerabilities in all aspects of our lives. There is urgency for our institution and community to respond innovatively to society’s complex problems.
With this in mind, the University leadership re-evaluated the existing strategic plans. After months of consultations and deliberations, leaders and representatives of key stakeholder groups formulated a new strategic plan which will be implemented in the next decade. It addresses four major strategic priority areas, unified by three cross-cutting themes. From this University plan, units and offices will map out their own operational and master plans. Periodic reviews will be conducted to assess the continuing appropriateness and if necessary, adjust the strategies.
True to Ignatian spirituality, the plan embodies the desire to effect self-transformation grounded in critical reflection and personal conversion that then seeks to effect societal transformation. As Ateneo seeks to expand its impact on society, the institution and the community remain anchored to its commitment to liberal education and holistic formation, and its identity as a Filipino, Catholic and Jesuit institution, ad majorem Dei gloriam.
A University for the 21st Century
In the spirit of being Lux in Domino, Light in the Lord, Ateneo de Manila University will be a force for good in seeking innovative and sustainable solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. Rooted in its Filipino, Catholic, and Jesuit values, Ateneo will be a collaborative and engaged leader in the work of social transformation through education, formation, research, and social engagement.
As a University, Ateneo de Manila seeks to uphold, preserve, and communicate truth and apply it to human development and the preservation of the Earth.
As a Filipino University, Ateneo de Manila seeks to identify, enrich, and embody Philippine culture and contribute to the development of the nation and the upliftment of Filipinos as part of the global community.
As a Catholic University, Ateneo de Manila seeks to form persons-for-and-with-others who, following the teachings and example of Christ, will devote their lives to promotion of service and justice, especially for those who are most in need of help, the poor, and the powerless.
As a Jesuit University, Ateneo de Manila seeks the goals of Jesuit liberal education through the harmonious development of moral and intellectual virtues. Imbued with the Ignatian spirit, the University aims to lead its students to see God in all things and to strive for the greater glory of God and the greater service of mankind.
Ateneo de Manila University seeks all these through excellence in teaching, learning, and formation; creation and advancement of knowledge through cutting-edge research and creative work; cultivation of an inclusive, diverse, and sustainable institution and community; and an expansive and immersive engagement with society.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, technology had been slowly transforming the shape and form of education. The global crisis accelerated that shift: lockdowns forced educational systems around the world to move to distance and digital modes in weeks, something that normally takes years to complete.
However, this shift has left behind millions of learners around the world, particularly in the Philippines, because of inequalities in access to technology and other learning resources. On the other hand, the same shift has presented many opportunities. Geographic constraints have become a thing of the past, allowing people to learn whenever and wherever they choose. Technological advances are opening up new avenues for ideas, culture, and values to develop, spread, and flourish.
Ateneo de Manila is perfectly positioned to lead in innovative, leading-edge teaching and learning that is open, inclusive, values-based, and responsive to the needs of a fast-changing world.
The climate crisis is now a threat to humanity's very existence. The next few years will be the last chance to steer the course of the Earth away from certain doom. Society must address its need for growth and development and the stewardship of the Earth on behalf of future generations. At the same time, humanity needs to ensure that this sustainable way of living ‘hears the cry of the poor,’ taking care of the needs of those at the fringes of society.
Within and outside its walls, Ateneo de Manila should lead the way in sustainable and integral human development. Caring for our common home and the welfare of all creation should be at the heart of all the University’s endeavors.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine health care system was already ailing. We were a nation struggling with concerns like malnutrition, lifestyle diseases, and mental health issues; the pandemic exacerbated these problems. The global health crisis also further exposed the inefficiencies of an ill-prepared, underfunded, and neglected health system. If not addressed, the health of the nation will be in dire straits, and the Philippines will not be prepared to face future pandemics that will undoubtedly plague the world.
The nation's public health system is in need of leadership that can help nurse it back to health, and help protect it from future illness. It is a kind of leadership Ateneo de Manila can bring to the table, marked by inclusivity, care, and compassion.
The world is divided along numerous fault lines: social, economic, political, geographical. Social media and the internet, once hailed for democratizing communication, has now been weaponized for spreading lies and hate. The world has never been more polarized, with people trapped in echo chambers, shutting out ideas and voices that diverge even the slightest bit from what they believe in. The world needs to get its act together to solve its problems—but first, people need to bridge the chasms that separate them from each other, and focus on things that unite, instead of those that divide.
Reconciliation and healing in society will only begin once people recognize that there is a diversity of ideas and experiences. Ateneo de Manila can be a platform that brings together people for civil, open, and respectful dialogues, allowing them to better understand each other, overcome differences, and act together for a better world.
Three common themes tie the four strategic priority areas together. These themes are key to the effective realization of the priority areas within and outside the University.
Digital technology has and will continue to change the world drastically. It will no longer be an ancillary but rather a fundamental component of 21st century life. As a result, working with digital hardware and software, navigating communication spaces and mining and interpreting voluminous data will be basic required literacies along with reading, writing and numeracy. The University’s capacity to work with digital technology has to be significantly bolstered so that it can properly train responsible citizens and leaders of the 21st century. The use of digital technology will likewise be critical in supporting and scaling up institutional efforts in social engagement.
Continuing and lifelong learning
In a world where disruption is the norm, lifelong learning is essential. The University currently offers many continuing education programs but will need to expand this in numbers, format, modality and even credentialing processes if it were to meet the demands of the relentless pace of change.
Strategic partnerships and effective collaboration
The challenges we face today are complex and occur naturally in spaces that are not clearly defined - they go beyond traditional boundaries, physical or otherwise. By their nature and scope, solutions to these problems demand collaboration across traditional disciplines and various sectors of society. Ateneo de Manila must expand, enrich and further leverage these partnerships to be able to effectively lead in finding solutions to emerging challenges.