The University’s Mission

The Pennsylvania State University is a multi-campus, land-grant, public research University that educates students from around the world, and supports individuals and communities through integrated programs of teaching, research, and service.

Our instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, continuing, and extension education, offered through both resident instruction and distance learning. Our educational programs are enriched by the talent, knowledge, diversity, creativity, and teaching and research acumen of our faculty, students, and staff.

Our discovery-oriented, collaborative, and interdisciplinary research and scholarship promote human and economic development, global understanding, and advancement in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, technology, arts and humanities, and myriad professions.

As Pennsylvania’s land-grant university, we provide unparalleled access to education and public service to support the citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond. We engage in collaborative activities with private sector, educational, and governmental partners worldwide to generate, integrate, apply, and disseminate knowledge that is valuable to society.

The University’s Vision

Penn State will be a leader in research, learning, and engagement that facilitates innovation, embraces diversity and sustainability, and inspires achievements that will affect the world in positive and enduring ways.

Institutional Values

Six core institutional values, identified in large part through Penn State’s Culture and Values survey in 2014, offer essential context for the successful execution of Penn State’s mission. 

  • Integrity. We act with integrity in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards.
  • Respect. We respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse, and foster a diverse, inclusive, and safe community.
  • Responsibility. We act responsibly and hold ourselves accountable for our decisions, actions, and their consequences.
  • Discovery. Through advanced research and scholarship, we seek and create new knowledge and understanding, and foster creativity and innovation, for society’s benefit.
  • Excellence. We strive for excellence in all of our endeavors as individuals, an institution, and a leader in higher education and research.
  • Community. We work together for the betterment of our University, the communities we serve, and the world.

Strategic Plan

In recent decades, strategic planning has paved the way for Penn State’s remarkable ascension among the ranks of the world’s great research universities. As we continue to move forward, our new strategic plan will lead to even greater achievements. Nicholas P. Jones, Executive Vice President and Provost, and the 32-member University Strategic Planning Council worked diligently for nearly 18 months to identify and articulate the University’s priorities and goals for the five calendar years comprising 2016 through 2020. At its heart, strategic planning comes down to intentionality. In the University’s new plan, we identify our goals at a macro level and set a strong foundation for their pursuit.

After considerable research, collegial debate, and solicitation of feedback from the Penn State community, the plan is now complete, titled: “Our Commitment to Impact: The Pennsylvania State University’s Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2020.”

Looking for information about Penn State’s last strategic plan? Priorities for Excellence was Penn State’s strategic plan for the period from academic years 2009-2010 through 2013-2014. Read updates on progress made under that plan.