Erasmus Institute: Strategic Plan
How does the Erasmus Institute expect to develop in the next decade?
Given the rapid growth and success of the Erasmus Institute, certainly far exceeding original expectations, it would make no sense for the Institute to plan a radical change of course. Rather, the only rational strategy is to develop on the basis of achievements since 1997.
The highest priority, and indeed an urgent need, is to stabilize the financial basis of the Institute. Put succinctly, the Erasmus Institute must have new funding soon if it is to continue to function as a major research center. As mentioned in the opening paragraph of this document, the Institute's programs have been funded very largely with "soft money," the bulk of it coming from three grants from two foundations. Of the Institute's annual budget of approximately one million dollars, less than twenty percent comes from endowment or other university funds. Fifty percent comes from a single, non-renewable grant that will expire in March 2005.
In the event that the Institute does get an adequate endowment, then it will develop along the following lines during the next decade:
Growth along such lines as these would build on the Erasmus Institute's considerable success and further enhance Notre Dame's unique position as the nation's leading Catholic research university.
- Further expansion of international programs. This growth would take place within the Americas and Europe, which constitute effectively a single cultural sphere, with similarly structured academic institutions and with Catholic scholars who focus on interrelated issues. Explorations in Asia and Africa have suggested that these areas would probably not be fruitful ones for Erasmus's work; rather, expanding into those regions would dilute the Institute's efforts and blur its proper focus. Specifically, the Institute looks to nurture relationships in Brazil and Mexico like those it now has in Chile and Peru and to develop significantly its fledgling program in the ex-Communist countries of central and eastern Europe, particularly Poland and Hungary.
- Enhanced cooperation with academic units at Notre Dame whose mission overlaps with that of Erasmus. This would include continuation of our long-standing relation with the Kroc Institute, further development of collaboration with the Nanovic Institute under its new leadership and with the Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide, and investigation of possible joint work with the Kellogg Institute in our Latin American programs. The Institute also wishes to explore possibilities of cooperation with other units in the university that share a commitment to research grounded in Catholic intellectual traditions, including the Theology Department, the Cushwa Center, and the Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business.
- Establishing a larger Erasmus Institute presence at the very best American and European research universities. Institute activities have already involved many faculty from the top tier of universities, and Erasmus conferences have taken place at Cornell and Indiana Universities. But the Institute has not yet had a highly visible, physical presence at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, and the other top-twenty American universities, nor at their European equivalents such as Oxford and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. It will advance the cause of Catholic intellectual life when Erasmus Institute conferences or summer programs are held at secular academic institutions of the highest prestige.
- Reaching out to bring research grounded in Catholic traditions to influence the larger culture, to the extent that such activities enhance rather than dilute the Institute's central mission of first-order research. The Institute, for example, is now in the early stages of planning a conference bringing Catholic perspectives to bear on income-inequality, which would involve both academics and business leaders.
Return to the Erasmus Institute: Strategic Plan
Return to Acadmemic Life: Strategic Plans