Lighting the Way: Strategic Plan Summary

Lighting the Way

Creighton University’s strategic plan illuminates a bold vision that strengthens our core mission and passionately pursues opportunities for distinction

Creighton University is a world-class academic institution recognized for excellence in teaching, learning and research, and enriched by a more than 450-year tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education.

With our depth and breadth in the liberal arts, distinctiveness in the health sciences, preeminence in law and real-world innovation in business, Creighton is poised to capitalize on compelling opportunities to significantly advance our premier standing locally, nationally and globally.

We stand on the edge of our tomorrow, open to incredible new possibilities.

A dynamic vision guides our path, in the form of The Creighton 150 Strategic Plan: Lighting the Way. This ambitious plan, developed with input from the entire Creighton community, focuses on three key themes – each closely allied with our mission and impelling us to dramatic, thoughtful action.

Key Themes

  • Achieving Academic Excellence
  • Thriving in Our Mission
  • Engaging the World

This plan is inspired and motivated by our outstanding students. They are ambitious, academically talented, diverse and service-oriented – striving always to make their mark on the world.

Creighton’s future aligns with their future.

Creighton University graduates not only find success in their careers and professions, but they are an informed voice for justice on significant moral issues facing our communities, nation and world. Out students, faculty, staff and alumni bring critical analysis and thoughtful discussion to complex societal issues, and put bold leadership into action for the benefit of all of humanity.

This is our passion. This is the Creighton difference.

It invites a joyful hope for the future, as we confidently explore ways to enhance the student experience and place our mission at the forefront in all that we do.

Creighton is not a place that stands still. Leveraging our comprehensiveness and complexity, we are pushing boundaries, engaging the world, advancing new knowledge and leading the way in seeking creative solutions to some of society’s most challenging issues.

This plan represents our shared future and a significant undertaking to do the important work that will advance Creighton to unprecedented heights.

This is our time. This is our opportunity.

This is our chance to light the way – now and into the future.

Our Progress

Creighton University’s strategic plan – the result of more than two years of in-depth, comprehensive planning – was approved by the Board of Trustees this past November, and has now entered the implementation phase. Exciting advances are happening now – and will continue to unfold into the future – as teams of campus representative from across the University work diligently to put the plan into action. This is a snapshot, a high-level overview, of our guiding plan and our first steps to bring it to successful fruition.

Theme: Achieving Academic Excellence

The integration of intellectual rigor with our Jesuit, Catholic mission of caring for our world and all of humanity is a hallmark of a Creighton University education. This theme focuses on furthering that foundational mission throughout our comprehensive undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. It extends into our interdisciplinary and interprofessional learning, research activities and service experiences. And it guides us as we prepare the next generation of critical thinkers, problem-solvers and ethical leaders to respond to the complex needs of our world.

Leading with the Liberal Arts

Thanks to its emphasis on the liberal arts, over its 140-year history, Creighton has prepared students for a wide range of careers, while inspiring graduates to excel not simply in their work, but in making generous and humane contributions to society as a whole.

Moving boldly forward in this mission, Creighton announced it will create the Kingfisher Institute for Liberal Arts and Professions, with space designed inside the new School of Dentistry Building. The institute will augment resources for faculty scholarship and faculty-led undergraduate research; support the continued infusion of liberal arts values across schools and colleges; and facilitate connections among liberal arts and professional programs.

Innovative approaches and investments in faculty, academic programs and facilities will support methods and techniques in research and teaching that will allow our students to face the future with hope and confidence. Renovations to laboratory and other spaces within the Rigge Science Building are set to begin in May.

Communication efforts will be bolstered to share Creighton’s story as a global leader in the liberal arts.

Interprofessional Education and Creighton Collaborative Care

The future of health care is collaborative, and Creighton is at the vanguard of this new approach. A 2010 World Health Organization report noted that Interprofessional education occurs “when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health”. Creighton’s cutting-edge collaborative care model has been successfully implemented at CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-University Campus. This facility, which opened in January 2017 at 24th and Cuming streets, serves as the learning laboratory for more than 2,200 health sciences students, medical residents, learners and clinicians.

Creighton is on the leading edge nationally in offering our students in the health sciences — in dentistry, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, public health, physical therapy and emergency medical services, along with a new graduate-level physician’s assistant program — opportunities for interprofessional education and practice in the clinical setting to deliver the highest quality of care. This interprofessional, team-based approach represents the future of clinical care and is an extension of Creighton’s classroom teaching.

This model, which focuses on wellness and disease prevention, is revolutionizing health care delivery for patients. According to data, this method of care at University Campus has led to a reduction in annual emergency department visits and hospitalization – with a total estimated annual cost savings of more than $4 million.


Gilbert, J., Yan, J., & Hoffman, S. (2010). A WHO report: Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Journal of Allied Health, 39 Suppl 1, 196-7.

Academic Health System Excellence

Through collaboration with our clinical partners in the region, including our primary clinical partner, CHI Health, Creighton has expanded clinical training opportunities for its health sciences students, residents and fellows. With our two-campus academic health system – University Campus and a campus at Bergan Mercy – fully operational, Creighton is poised to build upon that success and momentum.

New models of effective and efficient clinical care designed for the evolving health care environment will provide a platform for excellence in education that prepares health care professionals for real-world practice.

Distinctive collaborative initiatives such as a research exchange, centers of excellence and specialty institutes will promote excellence in basic, translational and clinical research and take our academic health system to an even higher level of national renown. These include a Cardiovascular Care Institute, Institute for Community Health, Musculoskeletal Institute, Henry T. Lynch Cancer Center, Neuroscience Institute and an Imaging Center of Excellence – along with an innovative Creighton University Research Exchange (CURE).

Theme: Thriving in Our Mission

This theme focuses on igniting a passion for our foundational Jesuit, Catholic tradition on campus and within the wider community locally, regionally and nationally.

It includes coordinating with local partners to become more fully engaged in our surrounding neighborhoods; developing a regional, national and international presence as a significant voice on Catholic Social Teaching; responding to Pope Francis’ call to develop more sustainable initiatives and practices; and celebrating and enriching Creighton’s mission-centric commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Living Our Mission

Creighton University will advance its foundational Jesuit, Catholic mission on campus and in the wider community through three overarching, interrelated priorities: formation and culture, Catholic Social Teaching and sustainability.

Through an emphasis on formation and culture, Creighton will develop additional opportunities for members of the campus community – including health partners in Omaha and Phoenix – to experience a deeper understanding of Ignatian principles and more fully participate in the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission.

Creighton will be recognized regionally, nationally and internationally as a significant voice on Catholic Social Teaching – which includes an emphasis on advancing the common good and caring for all of God’s creation – and serve as a contributor to the Catholic Church on its ethical teaching. The University also will expand partnerships with local neighborhoods to foster community improvement and student service-learning opportunities.

Finally, Creighton’s Jesuit, Catholic mission calls for increased efforts in sustainability and caring for the environment – with plans for a new degree program in sustainable international development, new campus sustainability initiatives and a renewed commitment to promoting ecological justice at Creighton and within society at large.

View the Living Our Mission brochure.

Diversity and Inclusion

Creighton took a major step forward in this area with the hiring of Christopher Whitt, PhD, as the inaugural vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. He joined the University in February, and serves as chair of the new Presidential Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. 

Climate surveys of students, faculty and staff will help inform Creighton’s current status in terms of diversity and inclusion, and help provide a road map for future plans.

Moving forward, the University will seek to develop a diversity-related curriculum, reflect diversity and inclusion in our research endeavors, and recruit and retain an increasingly diverse faculty, staff and student body. Additionally, Creighton will examine the responsiveness of campus structures, policies and processes to eliminate bias and exclusion.

Finally, Creighton will engage the most complex problems of equity, inclusion and social justice and foster a welcoming environment where students, faculty and staff – from diverse walks of life – can see, and be, themselves.

Theme: Engaging the World

Creighton will expand its partnerships with organizations, nonprofits, civic and government agencies, and corporations, with a particular focus on health care, global engagement, and professional and corporate development. The University and its strategic partners will develop and grow world-class, innovative and compassionate programs, alliances and initiatives that enhance student learning, patient care and global understanding.

As a premier, comprehensive university, Creighton is ideally suited to lending its expertise to meet a wide range of needs and challenges across a spectrum of disciplines and localities.

Arizona Health Education Alliance and Health Sciences Campus Vision 

Creighton University has an opportunity to significantly impact health care and health sciences education in Arizona and the U.S. Southwest through its expanding partnership with Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Maricopa Health System and the District Medical Group.

This strategic partnership is designed to improve and expand Creighton’s Graduate Medical Education programs, and develop new training programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, emergency medical services and other disciplines.

Beginning in January, Creighton began offering its accelerated BSN and RN-to-BSN programs in Phoenix, building on the creation of a Creighton medical campus at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 2009. This rapidly growing area of the country, which also has a significant and increasing older population, is facing a critical need for quality health care services

The Arizona campus incorporates Creighton’s leading-edge collaborative learning model and advances the University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, as the only Catholic medical education campus in the western United States.

Global Partnerships

Creighton will embrace the distinctive Jesuit focus on global learning that takes place not only “in” the world, but also “for” it, providing students the education, ethical perspectives and experiences needed to create a more just and sustainable world.

An Institute for Global Studies will advance Creighton to the next level in offering a world-class education. It will serve as both a physical and virtual collaboration hub for University faculty, staff and students to foster interdisciplinary teaching, scholarship and research on pressing global issues.

It will expand global collaboration opportunities, support onsite and virtual work on global projects, prepare faculty to lead students on immersion experiences locally and abroad, and build connections with strategic global partner institutions.

In addition, a Global Eco-Village will gather domestic and international students and scholars in a supportive community that will engage diversity across the spectrum and collaboratively seek solutions to local and global challenges and injustices.

A unique feature of this living and learning community will be an emphasis on global environmental sustainability issues around which cultural sharing, diversity, negotiation and joint creativity are organized.

Professional and Corporate Partnerships

Creighton, with its nine schools and colleges, is uniquely positioned to leverage the breadth of its outstanding academic programs, united with its distinctive Jesuit, Catholic education, to deliver quality continuing education for a diverse population across a wide array of professional contexts.

Given our exceptional faculty, consisting of industry-leading practitioners and scholars, Creighton is ideally suited to address the needs of a dynamic 21st-century society.

Through collaboration among disciplines and professions, Creighton will create opportunities tailored to each partner’s distinct professional circumstance, consistent with our mission – through the Center for Corporate and Professional Excellence. This can take the form of badges, degrees, certificates, credit and noncredit courses, continuing education, continuous learning seminars, innovative experiential opportunities, professional development, licensure and certifications across our program offerings in law, business, humanities and health sciences.

This center will provide an inviting, accessible place for our partners, and streamline and expedite University processes for identifying potential partners, forming new relationships, establishing incentives and executing planned programs.