Advancing Vision 2020

at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business


Advancing Vision 2020

Our Vision

No one gets closer to business than Robinson.

In the heart of Atlanta, surrounded by Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial start-ups alike, the Robinson College of Business connects to businesses through deep and special relationships that cut across our research, teaching and service missions thereby facilitating our development of the next generation of leaders. Robinson’s unique approach to embedded relationships grows future talent through degree programs and supports current leaders through executive education and collaborative and sponsored research. Working together, our faculty, research scientists, students and staff will be closer to business in order to better understand market challenges and to more effectively partner with businesses to co-develop and implement solutions.

The J. Mack Robinson College of Business recently marked its 100th anniversary. While celebrating this important milestone, the college’s leaders recognized the importance of looking ahead to build on this outstanding legacy in the future. Robinson faculty completed and approved the current strategic plan entitled Vision 2020. Given the passage of time and the new leadership team now in place, the moment is right to pause and consider the progress made thus far to implement the plan, and to explore if and how the plan should be updated to reflect current context.

Advancing Vision 2020 imagines Robinson positioned to deliver the future of business – through our programs, our people and our students. We invite you to comment on the changes we have made and the direction the college is headed. The objective is to finalize our refocused plan by the end of September and then begin to put it into action in the coming years.

The process of seeking community-wide input kicks off with this website and the Dean’s State of the College address on Thursday, August 27. Be sure to review the key components of the plan – Vision, Mission, Core Values and Goals – and provide your feedback below.


In 2015, the college’s leadership team, department chairs and members of the Board of Advisors reflected on the progress we have made on Vision 2020 thus far and reconsidered our priorities for the coming years. The process was collaborative, informative and the conversations enlightening. The result of these discussions is Advancing Vision 2020. The document retains several ideas from the original plan, but also proposes a number of new elements including core values statements and a vision statement for Robinson. Advancing Vision 2020 also adds new aspirational goals designed to achieve the vision and support our ongoing effort in undergraduate learning, graduate education, basic research programs and engaged scholarship.

Now it’s your turn. Faculty, staff, students and alumni are invited to review the changes made to create Advancing Vision 2020 and provide feedback.


To successfully implement Advancing Vision 2020, Robinson’s leadership is seeking input from faculty, staff, students and alumni. All members of the Robinson community are invited to review the content of this site and post comments below. All comments and questions are welcome, but as you read the background and components of Advancing Vision 2020, consider providing feedback on the following areas in particular:

  1. Will the Vision and Strategic Goals prepare our college and our students for the future of business?
  2. What differentiates the Robinson College from other colleges in the areas of undergraduate studies, graduate studies and research?
  3. What role can you play in helping the Robinson College successfully fulfill its mission?


  1. Overall, I appreciate the inclusive and thoughtful process, and I commend the entire team on the quality of thought that has gone into this. Nice work!! The one area that did not come thru clearly to me was around RCB’s role in producing future leaders. My belief is that our higher educational institutions need to not only equip students with the hard knowledge related to their field of study, but also the soft knowledge and skills that will enable them to lead. I think RCB Is doing this and can continue to expand its opportunities to do more – should this be more specifically called out?

  2. The one line vision statement: “No one gets closer to business than Robinson” seems to me more like a tag line than a shortened vision statement. Vision statements generally try to express where you’re trying to get to; not so much where you are at.

    The emphasis seems to be on helping/supporting existing businesses. What about business formation and helping students create successful new business undertakings? Be they within an existing organization or something new?

    Also, size matters. The richness of our portfolio of offerings is second to none. How does this figure in to our vision? More diversity, less diversity? Through which channels (traditional degree programs, non-traditional programmatic learning experiences, etc.)? What’s to be our distinctive competencies that are the best match with our current and future capabilities?

    While we can’t know what’s coming down the pipe next, the good news is that we have the scope of talent here to both detect and experiment with responses to more than one or two of these looming changes. But we need mechanisms (and incentives) for placing bets and adapting. In my view, we can become distinctive by our expressed willingness to innovate and be agile (sense and respond) to what is quickly becoming a turbulent professional education “market.” And, in the tradition of agile-thinking, I lack a full sense of the “things we must do” and the “things we will never do” as a guide to individual and collective action.

    My two dollars (inflation-adjusted cents).

  3. What you outline is a massive undertaking and one that would, in my opinion, be extremely beneficial for the Robinson College of Business. I have little to add on the content.

    I have only a couple of comments on the way the paper is structured:

    • The first has to do with process: Do you have the resources and skills in the School’s current organization to undertake 12 strategic thrusts and make them a reality? Or said another way, are the strategies in order of priority or should they be expressed in that way. There are some statements that could be construed as hyperbole unless acted on rapidly, whereas other are somewhat longer-term.
    • The second has to do with first impressions: The word “Education” doesn’t appear in any of the three Goal headings. I totally understand why you have chosen to phrase the headings in a more powerful way than would be accomplished with “traditional” language; but I would suggest starting with Goal #2, “Empower Students…”, because starting with a Goal of “Foster the Research Environment…” could give a reader the wrong impression – I.e., that the RCB has a bias towards research rather than real-life learnings, which is exactly contrary to the text and the strategies!

    Just a couple of thoughts that came to mind while reading your excellent Advancing Vision 2020. Hope they are helpful.

  4. I have reread both the original from 2011? And the updated version. I like the streamlined updated version which is more concise and focuses on a greater tie to the business community. In the updated Mission statement, you used the term “engaging scholars” vs “employing scholars” in the original mission statement, was this intentional? I think the mission is to have/hire “teachers” that relate the real world to the academic one and can bridge that gap in their teaching skills to engage and excite the students. I do not see a direct link of “teaching effectively” and inspiring our young leaders. Maybe this theme is embodied in other sections.

    Lastly, it seems like the new version is less a vision/mission of global excellence in all we do, but more focused locally, nationally? Not many references to the global relationships that GSU enjoys… Again, might be covered in another section or maybe it is just worded differently.

    These comments are really small tweaks in an otherwise fine document that tells the RBC story and so WELL DONE to all those who helped to create and more importantly live by these core values and creeds.

  5. Overall looks very good.
    A number of areas that can be tightened.

    This page needs to be aligned with the document vision 2020, one of the links on this page.
    1. Given the amount of time that was spent on language, the language needs to be consistent…e.g. The language of the goals should be the same.
    2. This front page should say something about Gloabl or International, given the extensive treatment in the vision 2020 document. It is also a major trend. Now given the dramatic demographic shifts.
    3. need to have some metrics for the initiatives. They need to be more specific so that there can be metrics and progress can be measured.
    4. People ultimately make the change happen. There must be an assessment of the people especially on the core values… ” all in” / winning attitude; collaboration with various stakeholders , etc.
    Now to the specific questions:
    Question 1.
    The vision and goals are fine. The key is the specific initiatives and the metrics around them. The faculty needs to be assessed on whether they can live the values and pull of the change with specific performance metrics. People and Metrics will make a bigger difference than the vision , goals and fine tuning the strategy statement on success.
    Question 2.
    GSU has a diverse student body’s do that is both a competitive advantage and liability. To make a difference, there has to be flexibility in the curriculum to lift each student idiosyncratically to the GSU standard. That is the competitive advantage as shown by the university through its intervention program to increase retention.
    Question 3
    As an advisory board member, I have and will continue to contribute my ideas and challenge thinking and practices at RCB. Once metrics are in place, the role can become even more active.

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