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OSU’s Strategic Vision

In her book Before Big Science, OSU historian Mary Jo Nye notes that most scientists believe in the practical benefits of their profession. There is broad agreement among scientists that science has produced "knowledge that is reliable, useful, and remarkably universal in its intellectual appeal and practical implications," writes Nye.

Driven by rationality, skepticism and a respect for evidence, science can generate insights into more than the technical details of a process. It can help solve problems. In fact, collaborative problem–solving is at the heart of OSU’s mission. Building on lessons from the past and testing ideas under new circumstances, OSU research generates graduates who can find solutions to difficult issues.

Those issues face us every day: global economic competition, rising demand for natural resources, cultural conflicts, accessible health care and a changing environment. It is no accident that OSU’s mission takes shape through a strategic plan built around five related areas of emphasis (below). As Oregon’s land–grant university, OSU aligns its creative work with both the educational needs of students and the broader needs of the state.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Communities benefit when new businesses succeed. Faculty and students work with Oregon companies from window manufacturers to software innovators to develop products that can improve quality of life, capture emerging markets and meet environmental goals.

Natural Resources

Demands for natural resources are rising. Managing them becomes more complex in a changing environment. OSU researchers are developing new crop varieties, monitoring fish and wildlife, evaluating water management strategies and studying policy options to meet the needs of people and the natural world.

Arts and Sciences

Creativity infuses learning and research in the sciences, the arts and humanities. Learning from the past and exploring the consequences of new phenomena help students develop critical thinking skills. Their ability to analyze problems and make decisions will prepare them for leadership.

Life Sciences

Technology enables us to live longer and better, but taking advantage of these advances requires understanding of nutrition, disease, exercise and the social dimensions of aging. OSU scientists are learning about the influence of diet on cancer, heart disease and other health problems. They are laying the basis for better personal and public health.


We live on the edge. The planet is changing, and we will have to adapt. In the Arctic and on every continent, OSU researchers are learning about the planet’s rhythms, the processes that move mountains, cause the oceans to rise and fall and connect us to the globe.

Strategic plan
OSU Foundation