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Institutional Priorities to be Addressed in the Self-Study

Since the last Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmation of accreditation in 2012, Gallaudet University has had three strategic plans: the Gallaudet Strategic Plan (2010-2015), the Short-Term Strategic Plan (2016 – 2020), and the Gallaudet Promise: Excellence in Learning and Discovery, Our 10 Year Vision: Phase One (GU Promise Phase One Plan) (2020 – 2022). 

Two strategic plans were developed, the Short-Term Strategic Plan and the GU Promise Phase One Plan after the appointment of the current President of Gallaudet University, Ms. Roberta J. Cordano, in January 2016. Gallaudet University had a one-year extension on the Gallaudet Strategic Plan during the first year of President Cordano’s appointment. The Gallaudet Strategic Plan was developed under the auspices of the immediate past president, Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, who retired in December 2015. The Gallaudet Strategic Plan provided a roadmap for the years 2010-2015 and was the focus of the last MSCHE Self-Study. It included five goals focusing on enrollment, persistence and graduation, resource efficiency, academic programs, and research and outreach. 

The extension of the Gallaudet Strategic Plan allowed President Cordano to engage with the Gallaudet community, after which she conducted an environmental scan. The Short-Term Strategic Plan was then developed in FY2016 (effective through fiscal year 2020). The Plan established six university-wide priorities:

  • Bilingual Mission
  • Campus Climate, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Student Success
  • Institutional Leadership and Strategic Planning 
  • Academic Vitality and Strategic Positioning
  • Strengthening and Diversifying Revenue Streams

The Short-Term Strategic Plan provided a bridge to The Gallaudet Promise. The current vision, based on the work done during the Short-Term Strategic Plan as well as the input, ideas, and urgencies of the Gallaudet community, will guide the university’s transformation through 2030 with three phases: Phase One – 2020 – 2022, Phase Two – 2022 – 2026, and Phase Three – 2026 – 2030). The Gallaudet Promise sets a path for the university by addressing five grand challenges experienced by deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, and deaf disabled people. In doing so, Gallaudet will be a leader and partner in creating a more sustainable and vibrant life experience for deaf people across the spectrum of identities, and across all of humanity. 

Addressing the grand challenges will happen through the three imperatives and three priorities. The imperatives are central values that must be integrated throughout all of Gallaudet’s work: 1) Bilingual Mission, 2) Belonging and Equity, and 3) Innovation for Impact. The priorities, which focus on Gallaudet’s most important work are: 1) Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence Across the Lifespan, 2) Knowledge Creation and Discovery, and 3) Signing Ecosystem and Career Success.

In keeping with the MSCHE accreditation standards as well as the university’s current strategic plan, we have determined a general alignment between the MSCHE Standards and the Gallaudet Promise. See Table 1 for an overview. 

MSCHE Standard 

Gallaudet Promise (2020) 

Standard I: Mission and Goals

-Bilingual mission

-Signing Ecosystems and Career Success

-Belonging and Equity

Standard II: Ethics and Integrity

-Belonging and Equity

Standard III – Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience

-Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence across the lifetime

-Knowledge Creation and Discovery

Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience

-Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence across the lifetime

-Signing Ecosystems and Career Success

Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment

-Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence across the lifetime

Standard VI: Planning, Resources and Institutional Improvement

-Innovation for Impact

Standards VII: Governance, Leadership and Administration

-Bilingual Mission 

-Innovation for Impact 

The three (3) Imperatives and three (3) Priorities in The Gallaudet Promise are defined below. The Self-Study Design will incorporate these six concepts in alignment with the seven Standards for Accreditation


Bilingual Mission – The fluent and vibrant use of ASL and written English, by a critical mass of people, to support direct learning, communication, and community-building necessary for academic excellence and achieving the university’s mission to support deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people to flourish

Belonging and Equity – A campus community that wholly welcomes, supports, and values all members for their unique qualities and individual contributions and in which all members have fair and just access and opportunities for growth, success, and academic and/or professional fulfillment. Student experience for all enrolled at Gallaudet, in all aspects of campus life, continues on a path of inclusive excellence. Gallaudet’s excellence is rooted in our diversity and the intersectionality brought by all members of the community.

Innovation for Impact – In ways that reflect the experience of deaf people across the spectrum of identities, further a campus-wide belief and practice that promotes thinking, doing, and engaging in new ways that create or add value for Gallaudet, deaf people, and ultimately humanity. Create an environment where courageous change, a willingness to experiment, and the agility to bring forth new ideas is valued and promoted.


Extraordinary Learning and Academic Excellence Across the Lifespan – Direct learning and student experience through sign language, informally and formally, throughout the lifespan to cultivate rigorous academic communities, a love of learning, innovative thinking, and inquiry, and the 21st century skills necessary for learners to flourish as leaders, innovators, and change-makers in a diverse global society. This priority is woven throughout the student experience from birth through all phases of life and reflects interdisciplinary learning, the unique experience of deaf people across the spectrum of identities, and is embedded in all aspects of school and campus life. 

Knowledge Creation and Discovery – Furthering Gallaudet’s creative edge through the creation and dissemination of new knowledge by, about, and for deaf people and visual language to benefit humanity, foster knowledge sharing, advance interdisciplinary and translational science, and scholarship. 

Signing Ecosystems and Career Success – Further society’s valuing of deaf people across the spectrum of identities and their contributions to humanity. Invest in organizations, individuals, businesses and professionals, schools. Create opportunities and experiences through an investment preparing students academically, socially, and personally to flourish and to further opportunities for themselves and others who can contribute to and benefit from sign-based opportunities. Prepare students to seize opportunities to meet the demands of an ever evolving, 21st century, global society, and to foster the talent pipeline and demonstrate the value and impact of deaf people across the spectrum of identities for society at large.

Contact Us

MSCHE Self-Study Timeline 2020-2023

College Hall 410A

(202) 559-5370


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