Strategy Statement

Our Strategic Plan outlines a clear pathway to realize our vision for PNCA as a thriving art and design college which engages and impacts Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, the United States, and the world.

We ground our efforts in the exceptional teaching and curriculum for which PNCA is known, beginning with a strong fine art foundation and continuing through empowering graduates for a successful life of creative practice. And with an eye on the future, we continue to develop new areas of study and methods of delivery in emerging areas of art and design.

To support this work, over the next 10 years PNCA will increase its endowment to $50M, increase enrollment to 1,000 students, and continue to make operations as efficient as they can be.

This all happens in the context of an inclusive and transparent culture of shared governance that empowers all educators to contribute fully to the learning community that is PNCA.

MISSION We prepare students for a life of creative practice.

VISION PNCA empowers students to reimagine what art and design can do in the world.

CORE THEMES Integrated throughout our curriculum and everything we do.

  • Studio Practice
  • Critical Inquiry
  • World View
  • Professional Practice

Strategic Plan 2018-2023 (pdf)

The Four Goals



Build a supportive, inclusive, and equitable culture that empowers creative risk-taking; expresses appreciation; embraces humor; and practices open communication and critical discourse.



  • Prioritize student experience.
  • Recognize that we are all educators and learners.
  • Challenge student, faculty, staff, and board members to think ambitiously and take big creative risks.
  • Generate shared cultural experiences.


  • Increase transparent and regular communication at and between all levels of the college.
  • Bring best practices of studio critique and critical discourse into all of our communications.


  • Prioritize becoming an inclusive, diverse, and equitable community.
  • Support all members of the PNCA community with empathy and understanding.


  • Increase opportunities, internally and externally, for student voices to be heard and work to be seen.
  • Increase opportunities for professional development of faculty and staff.
  • Cultivate participation in shared governance within the school.



Educate in influential artist, designers, provocateurs, and professionals through innovative, rigorous, and diverse curricula, pedagogies, and communities of practice.



  • Lead and respond to developments and innovations in the fields of art and design education, activism, and research.
  • Launch and incubate new programs in art and design. (3-4 new design programs by 2019)
  • Experiment with credit-bearing structures and delivery methods.
  • Prepare students for the rigor of professional and creative marketplaces.
  • Provide students with opportunities to weave existing and emerging technologies into their creative practice.
  • Expand internship opportunities and career services.
  • Infuse the curriculum with a rigorous variety of aesthetic strategies.


  • Activate learning and interaction on the campus year-round, day and night.
  • Integrate existing and new centers of making with our evolving curriculum.
  • Align resources to support student success.
  • Invest in a robust and diverse community of educators.
  • Provide resources to support ambitious pedagogies.
  • Develop strategies for engaging and responding to a breadth of learning styles.



Cultivate and expand PNCA’s role as a center for creative research and learning in Portland, the Northwest, and the world.


Diversity + Inclusion

  • Increase critical and global discourse and perspective.
  • Expand and diversify resources for creative research and learning.
  • Present lectures, exhibitions, and programs by visiting artists and intellectuals that represent a variety of voices and inquiries.
  • Increase access to PNCA public programs.
  • Increase institutional capacity to engage new and diverse constituencies.

Partnerships + Connections

  • Strengthen relationship between PNCA alumni and the college.
  • Cultivate productive partnerships, associations, and collaborations regionally and around the world that enhance our ability to deliver our mission.
  • Increase opportunities for global learning, creative research, and international exchange.

Leadership + Vision

  • Cultivate a spirit and culture of excellence.
  • Develop PNCA as creative hub/nexus for the city and region.
  • Expand public understanding of what an art college is and does.
  • Lead and convene intellectual and artistic conversations and programs on and off campus.
  • Strengthen institutional capacity to understand disruption and identify future opportunities.

Reputation + Value

  • Increase local and global name recognition.
  • Measure and articulate the value of a PNCA education and our role as a cultural institution.
  • Communicate a sense of momentum, urgency, and excitement driving PNCA.



Create an economically thriving institution that provides abundant support for students and educators.



  • Meet or exceed annual enrollment goals for academic and community programs and continue to increase retention of all students. (Goal: 650 Fall 2020; 1,000 2028) (Fr Retention Rate: 80%; Graduation Rate: 60%)
  • Target and expand recruitment into broader channels to reach international students, students of color, and students across all economic classes.
  • Increase affordable student housing opportunities. (Open second Residence Hall by 2019)


  • Meet or exceed annual fundraising goals and increase donor acquisition and retention. (Annual Fund $1.5M by 2019)
  • Increase institutional (hard dollar) scholarships.
  • Add endowed positions and increase endowment. (50M by 2028)


  • Ensure that our facilities support the missions of the college.
  • Recruit and retain high-performing faculty and staff by ensuring competitive and equitable compensation and social justice in our policies and procedures.
  • Develop efficient operational processes, protocols, and training that support resiliency across the institution.

For more information on the strategic plan

David G. Ellis
Interim President

VP for Advancement