Letter From the Dean

Janet Box-Steffensmeier

Dear colleagues:

I am pleased to share with you the 2017-2022 strategic plan for The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences. The plan provides a roadmap for the future success for the college as we seek to enhance and expand opportunities for all.

The College of Arts and Sciences is a community of excellence that equips the next generation of artists, writers, scholars and scientists for career and professional success. Our mandate does not end with the nearly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students who find their academic home in the Arts and Sciences. We proudly serve as the hub for the whole of Ohio State, and together, we are charting the course for groundbreaking research, innovative teaching, and general education — as world-class faculty prepare our talented students from colleges and majors across campus to find success in their fields.

The college is a nationally recognized leader in many fields, with U.S. News and World Report providing an overall top-25 ranking for many of our graduate programs:

  • Ceramics: 4
  • Sculpture: 11


  • Industrial Design: 7
  • Interior Design: 2

History: 24

Physics: 23

Political Science: 15

  • American Politics: 10
  • International Politics: 8
  • Political Methodology: 10

Psychology: 21

  • Social Psychology: 1

Sociology: 17

  • Social Stratification: 10

Speech and Hearing Science

  • Audiology: 9
  • Speech-Language Pathology: 17

In the Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, the following programs were ranked in the top 25, either globally or nationally:

  • Communication: 1 (global), 1 (national)
  • Geography: 18 (global), 4 (national)
  • Mathematics: 48 (global), 24 (national)
  • Physics: 43 (global), 20 (national)
  • Political Science: 20 (global), 16 (national)
  • Psychology: 13 (global), 11 (national)
  • Sociology: 16 (global), 14 (national)

Other widely accepted metrics have ranked yet more of our impressive programs in the nation’s top 25:

  • AnthropologyA: 8
  • AstronomyB: 11
  • EconomicsC: 49 (global), 25 (national)
  • LinguisticsD: 22 (global), 10 (national)

A Center for World University Rankings
B U.S .News Best Global Universities in Space Science
Tilburg University Top 100 Worldwide Economics Schools Research Ranking
D QS Subject Rankings

The Department of Dance is widely regarded as one of the preeminent programs in the country, with far more MFAs in tenure-track positions nationally than any other program. The Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy is similarly regarded internationally as including preeminent programs in both Art Education and Arts Policy and Administration, with PhDs leading the field in higher education in art education. Additionally, the college is home to a number of innovative, interdisciplinary programs offering synergies found in very few other institutions in the world, but not currently quantified in reported rankings. I look forward to sharing the breadth and depth of all of our departments in the months ahead.
The pillars of this document, taken together with the core goals of the university’s strategic plan, present an innovative roadmap for access and affordability to the excellence that is the trademark of a liberal arts education at Ohio State. We are working to build an intellectual community within and across departments that no one wants to leave. We will leverage our diversity, tout our inclusiveness and celebrate our excellence because our faculty, staff and students are generating knowledge that changes the world — with the steadfast support of alumni and friends around the globe.
All my best,
Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier
Interim Executive Dean and Vice Provost


Dear friends,

When the College of Arts and Sciences became one in 2010, we brought together an astonishing array of scholars, thinkers, and creators who make up the academic heart of The Ohio State University. With this core group of faculty and staff and the hires we have made since, we are well on the road to securing our college’s standing as the very definition of a 21st century college of arts and sciences: a supportive, open, inclusive community that promises and delivers unparalleled opportunities for education, engagement, and leadership for our students and our campus and community partners.

It is with this in mind that I am excited to share with you our strategic plan for 2017–2022. Our planning was informed by an open and inclusive process that engaged the Arts and Sciences community in a series of conversations and open forums in which we came to better understand the college’s current strengths and needs to chart our future.

This plan is our guide to establishing and affirming the College of Arts and Sciences as a recognized leader in teaching and learning, research and creative scholarship, and outreach and engagement. With the launch of this plan, we also are committing to an ongoing, continuous strategic planning focus to expand planning to identify key programs, tactics and measures to define and achieve our goals.

We are excited to share our new strategic plan in the following pages. And, we are thrilled to have you join us on this journey as we advance the college and elevate its standing locally, nationally, and globally.

David C. Manderscheid
Executive Dean and Vice Provost, 2013-2018

College Overview

In 2010, the College of Arts and Sciences became a single entity, incorporating the former Federation of the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences’ five legacy colleges, bringing together faculty and academic programs in the Arts, Biological Sciences, Humanities, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. As a strategic priority of the university, the new college was designed to bring together fundamental and practical studies taught by diverse, core faculty, facilitating connections across traditional and emerging arts and sciences disciplines and campus-wide.

Almost daily, we continue to see more and more evidence confirming the power and impact of an arts and sciences education. Technology and business are demanding more liberal arts graduates, and national studies continue to show that a versatile skill set produces productive careers and long-term fulfillment.

This is particularly true for students studying the arts and sciences at Ohio State. Today’s graduates will spend their careers in a global environment that demands the ability to be nimble and responsive. Our land-grant heritage inspires us to provide a supportive, student-centered environment and world-class education that give our students a competitive edge and the ability to make a difference in the world. With access to top-tier faculty and a wide range of majors and minors, they have every opportunity to follow their dreams.

We will continue to advance the college’s value to the university, state and nation to realize our potential as a national leader in teaching and learning, research and creative scholarship, and outreach and engagement. We will focus on supporting and expanding our diverse range of disciplines and academic endeavors that define a 21st century college of arts and sciences. As a single, strong college we will continue to enhance and amplify our national standing, advocating for the ways an arts and sciences education fosters curiosity, inquiry and a thirst for learning about the world we live in. This is what drives discovery and instills a desire to apply expertise and knowledge to making the world better by finding solutions to local and global challenges.

By the Numbers

  • 38 departments and schools
  • 20+ centers and institutes
  • 2,000 faculty and staff
  • 81 majors
  • 100+ minors 
  • Instruction in more than 30 languages  
  • $286M budget, state budget
  • $100M in research awards annually
  • $259M endowment
  • 24 endowed professorships
  • 23 endowed chairs
  • 200,000+ living alumni

Strategic Scan

The College of Arts and Sciences is a diverse community that encourages dynamic conversations, fosters broad collaborations, and creates an environment of lifelong learning. As we charted our course forward for the next five years, we considered our internal and external environment. 


As one of the newest and most comprehensive arts and sciences colleges in the country, a key motivation for planning is to foster a connected community with shared values and a roadmap for direction-setting.

During the spring semester of 2017, we broadly engaged our internal Arts and Sciences community, including faculty, staff, students, and key stakeholders, to cultivate discussion, inform planning, and better understand the college’s current climate and needs.

In addition to broad engagement of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff, the planning process included reaching out to and gaining insights from key connections across the university.

At the university level, there are several initiatives underway that will directly impact the college. Of particular note is the review of General Education and of the budget model. Defining our path forward includes consideration of these processes and potential impacts.


Economic Environment
To continue our commitment to access, affordability, and excellence, we must effectively marshal and leverage our resources. Thus, strategic planning, stewardship, accountability, and transparency are more important than ever. We need to build a case for our value, outcomes, and excellence for students, faculty, staff, donors, corporate and community partners, friends, alumni, and legislators.

Higher Education
The intensity of competition for highly capable students and for excellent faculty and staff, and for research and donor-dollars will grow in coming years, especially with the expected decline in the number of high school graduates in Ohio in the coming decade and projections of flat funding, at best, for research at the federal level.

A New Competitive Arena
As one of the best colleges of arts and sciences in the country, we compete to recruit and retain faculty and students with the best programs in the nation, including other Top-10 research programs and long-established public arts and sciences leaders. We must continue to advance academics, research, and student outcomes.

Misperception of Liberal Arts Education
With a narrow focus on immediate return on investment upon graduation driving many higher education decisions, arts and sciences degrees are in decline across the country. We believe this focus compromises the best interests of the individuals and of our civil, democratic society. Our planning must address public misperceptions; we must effectively articulate the value of, and advocate for, arts and sciences education and degrees. As a land-grant institution with significant investments in the arts and sciences, Ohio State has had a long commitment to supporting both a “liberal and practical education,” as articulated in the Morrill Act of 1862. The College of Arts and Sciences has an unprecedented opportunity to be a national leader in the ways in which its programs — whether the “classical” disciplines envisioned in the Morrill Act or more recent additions — can demonstrate the value of an arts and sciences education in all of its theoretical, creative, and practical dimensions.


To support and advance these institutional objectives, the College of Arts and Sciences’ long-term vision is to be a recognized leader, on campus and beyond, in teaching and learning, research and creative scholarship, and outreach and engagement, to serve the State of Ohio, the nation and the world.


Our various disciplines have different academic cultures and practices that contribute to our comprehensive strength. Within that variety of disciplinary norms, we value practices and innovations that embrace and exhibit diversity, inclusive excellence, community-building, accountability, transparency, and creativity.

View plan

Strategic Focus Areas

In developing our five-year strategic plan, the college built upon the five focus areas defined in our Strategic Roadmap and one overarching principle of diversity and inclusion to identify areas of commitment as a framework for further development of efforts to achieve our goals and define success. Each year, we will post updates on our goals, initiatives, and tactics.

Overarching Principle

Diversity and inclusion are essential components of excellence and will be a part of our strategic thinking in all areas.

Excellent Faculty and Programs

The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic heart of Ohio State. Outstanding and well-supported faculty, staff and academic programs are essential to achieving top-tier education and research throughout the university.


  1. Build and maintain top programs
  2. Retain and recruit excellent and diverse faculty and staff
  3. Boost research and creative scholarship
  4. Elevate teaching and learning
  5. Build and enhance top graduate programs

Access, Affordability and Student Success

As the standard bearer for the value of education in the arts and sciences at a great public research institution, we must be leaders in finding ways to help make that education affordable and accessible while promoting value-added opportunities to ensure undergraduate and graduate student success.


  1. Develop more pathways to enhance student success — on campus and beyond
  2. Recruit and retain members of underrepresented groups to strengthen our research and learning environments
  3. Expand scholarship opportunities
  4. Increase support for graduate students

Outreach and Engagement

The College of Arts and Sciences has a unique perspective and the expertise to address major societal challenges and debates. We have a long legacy and steadfast commitment to facilitating partnerships and collaborations and recognize the important role our community plays in improving our programs and students’ success.


  1. Expand and coordinate community support and involvement — Columbus and statewide
  2. Enhance connections with alumni, donors, and friends — meaningful participation, mentorship, collaboration, investment
  3. Increase collaborations with employers and corporate and government partners

Leadership and Advocacy

We must be leaders in advocating for and articulating the enduring and practical value of a liberal arts education and majors and minors in the arts and sciences, on campus and beyond.


  1. Advocate for the power and lasting value of both the content and the skills acquired through an arts and sciences education
  2. Cultivate a distinguished and distinctive reputation on campus and beyond 

Resource Stewardship and Growth

We are dedicated to achieving greater effectiveness and efficiency and to growing revenue, with a commitment to direct as many resources as possible toward our academic mission.


  1. Leverage and maximize resources
  2. Expand the college budget to better support students, staff, and faculty