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Mission, Values, Strategic Vision

ASPIRATION:  Palo Alto University (PAU) strives to be a preeminent and robust learning community in the fields of Psychology and Counseling with a commitment to diversity and to improving the human condition. As a unique, highly focused institution of higher education, PAU is dedicated to advancing knowledge through rigorous research and scholarship, producing outstanding professionals, innovators and leaders, and achieving pedagogical excellence.

Mission Statement

Engaging Minds and Improving Lives through Excellence in Research, Education, and Clinical Practice in Psychology and Counseling, with an Unwavering Commitment to Diversity and Improving the Human Condition.


1. Social justice, cultural competency[1], and diversity

2. A student-centered[2] and culturally responsive environment

3. High quality scientific research and scholarship that advances the state of knowledge and practice

4. Institutional integration and unity that fosters cross-fertilization and a strong sense of community among students, faculty, and staff

5. Shared governance with voices from across the University active in transparent, data-driven decision making with respect for academic freedom

6. Rational and culturally responsive organizational structures, policies and procedures

7. Ongoing institutional self-evaluation to assure positive educational and research outcomes, operational efficiency, and fiscal integrity

8. Innovative programming, partnership development, outreach and service that strengthen the University's offerings, contributions to the public good, reputation and financial health


Objective #1: As a unified university, optimize the educational, research, and clinical training experiences for PAU students and faculty

Goal #1: Organize administratively to support a unified university and maximize the effectiveness, efficiency, and responsiveness of staff and administration.

Goal #2: Structure academic offerings, faculty workload, and staffing to support excellence in teaching, research, and training across all degree programs.

Goal #3: Build critical programmatic decisions (e.g., hiring, new programs, growth) on recognized core competencies across the university.

Goal #4: Evaluate the suitability of  PAU’s space and facilities, including the Gronowski Center, and develop a plan to create a university-wide community,  and make the best use of infrastructure, both technological and physical.

Goal #5:  Encourage cross-university collaborations to strengthen course offerings, research, practice, and community service.


Objective #2: To strive for excellence and cultural competency in research, education, and clinical training.

Goal #1: Define and operationalize standards of excellence in research, education, and clinical training.

Goal #2: Deliver culturally responsive, high quality education in all modalities across all levels of training with attention to diversity and improving the human condition.

Goal #3: Grow research infrastructure and encourage faculty scholarship and student involvement in research.

Goal #4: Enhance support for pedagogical excellence in the physical or virtual classroom.

Goal #5: Provide organized and effective services to support student success.

Goal #6: Provide organized and effective services to support alumni engagement.


Objective #3: Maintain and enhance PAU’s commitment to honoring culture and promoting diversity at the core of all academic and institutional initiatives, infused and incorporated into all Objectives of this Strategic Vision.

Goal #1: Recruit and retain students, faculty, staff, and administrators who represent a wide range of culturally diverse, marginalized, and underrepresented groups.

Goal #2: Build sustainable institutional structures expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education to substantially impact and monitor a commitment to diversity throughout the university.

Goal #3: Continually strive for PAU’s growth as a place of respect, inclusion and acceptance, so that everyone is truly welcome and valued at PAU.


Objective #4: To sharpen PAU’s identity and raise its profile in the higher education community, in the relevant professional communities, in Silicon Valley, and beyond.

Goal #1: Build an External Affairs Office with expertise in Marketing, Communication, and Public Relations.

Goal #2: Build a culture of identification with and enthusiasm for PAU.

Goal #3: Enhance local and national visibility through the external promotion of research and other professional work produced by PAU faculty and students.

Goal #4: Showcase PAU faculty and students to the community and encourage regional and national leadership for students, faculty, and staff.


Objective #5: To actively pursue new and expanded funding and development opportunities to ensure long-term financial stability.

Goal #1: Develop a business and curriculum plan for a Continuing and Professional Studies program.

Goal #2: Develop a plan for advancement activities.

Goal #3: Build capacity for Educational and Business Partnerships.

Goal #4: Build capacity for facilitating faculty grant-writing and grants management.



[1] The term cultural competency is meant to encompass cultural awareness, sensitivity, responsiveness, humility, cultural science, and other terms utilized in the broader field of culture and behavioral health / behavioral science, including how they interact with principles of social justice. The term cultural competency is inclusive of intersectionality and multiple cultural identities, and is utilized with recognition that it is a lifelong process rather than a fixed endpoint.


[2] The term student-centered refers to an educational environment that supports student academic success, personal and professional development, and a commitment to life-long learning and service, while upholding the highest standards for quality and excellence.



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