A Strategic Plan for Johnson & Wales University


Johnson & Wales University has come a long way from its roots as a small, local business school, but we have never lost sight of our founders’ focus to provide students with an excellent education that fully ignites their potential. In recent years, we have evolved from a world leader in culinary and hospitality education to a comprehensive university providing opportunities in a wide breadth of industry-relevant disciplines. Today’s Johnson & Wales University offers an excellent, educational experience to students across a diverse spectrum of programs that are designed to prepare our graduates to make meaningful and immediate contributions in their fields of choice. Through PURPOSE 2024, we will continue that evolution and embrace our standing as a university that supports every student’s journey to fulfilling their academic potential, professional ambitions, and personal aspirations.

PURPOSE 2024 builds upon past strategic plans and sets clear goals for the future to ensure that we attract and retain well-regarded faculty and staff, recruit high-performing and ambitious students, and promote a culture across the university that takes pride in fostering student success, scholarly excellence, and institutional efficiency.

Through the success of this strategic plan, Johnson & Wales University will be known as an innovative and comprehensive university that prepares students for careers and leadership in a wide range of industries.


  • Offering excellent academic programs across a broad range of disciplines from the undergraduate level to the doctoral level
  • Promoting and embracing a teacher-scholar education model that centers on experiential education and applied learning
  • Supporting and encouraging faculty scholarship and research
  • Building a student body comprised of individuals with diverse academic interests and career goals
  • Providing students with a robust, dynamic campus and university experience

Powered by Purpose 2024 Digital Brochure (PDF)  

2024 Update

A new chapter in Johnson & Wales University’s rich history has been written as we conclude another successful academic year and confer degrees to over 2,100 students, joining more than 124,000 JWU alumni throughout the world. This year, as we continue to pursue the goals set in the Powered by Purpose strategic plan, we also are celebrating 110 years since our founding in Providence and 20 years since our Charlotte Campus first opened in North Carolina.

Here are some updates on the progress we have made since our last report in October:

Fall 2023 Update

Johnson & Wales University continues to shine in the U.S. News rankings that were released this fall. As we continue to pursue the goals set in the Powered by Purpose strategic plan, we are pleased to receive this external validation recognizing the hard work and achievements of our faculty and staff.

Here are some updates on the progress we have made since our last report in May:

Spring 2023 Progress Update

During the 2022-23 academic year, JWU faculty and students have engaged in exciting research and scholarship; the university continued to invest in high-impact practices that support a quality education for our students. We are proud to share with you our accomplishments and further progress on the strategic goals outlined in Powered by Purpose 2024.

As the university looks into the future, we are eager to continue to promote student learning as we expand and enhance Johnson & Wales’ academic reach and reputation through research and scholarship. Across our Providence and Charlotte campuses and online, we remain one JWU — united by our mission and powered by purpose.

Watch the video update from Chancellor Runey below:

Fall 2022 Progress Update

Since the 2021 launch of POWERED BY PURPOSE 2024, the university has been concentrating its efforts to achieve the initiatives outlined in the strategic plan. As we begin the second year of the 10-year master strategic plan known as the Powered By series, explore some of the great strides that we have been able to accomplish during the first year, and will continue to build on our success in year two.

Watch the video update from Chancellor Runey below:

Powered by Purpose 2024 Update (PDF)

Core Areas of Focus


Johnson & Wales University is powered by a belief that every student deserves a high-quality education that can prepare them for success in a meaningful career. Through PURPOSE 2024, the University will take intentional steps to embrace a teacher-scholar model, strengthen the student experience, and celebrate scholarship and research.  Guided by our plan, we will nurture an academic culture that embodies discovery, creativity, and intellectual curiosity. Our faculty will foster adaptable thinkers, professionalism, and the quest for lifelong learning. Our focus on academic excellence will position the University to attract and retain well-prepared students with diverse and successful academic journeys.

Group of students in science lab gathered around experiment


Since its founding in 1914, Johnson & Wales University has been powered by its connection to industry. Through PURPOSE 2024, we strive to strengthen existing and establish new partnerships. We will be recognized as a premier provider of professional studies and corporate training, expanding our linkages with industry leaders and professional organizations in support of faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Students presenting in front of large screen


PURPOSE 2024 recognizes that while a focus on financial responsibility is essential to maintain a strong institutional foundation, the people and human capital within the organization are the bedrock of every lasting institution. Through PURPOSE 2024, we are focused on sustained and long-term success to achieve strong operating results and fiscal sustainability. We are committed to investing in our core mission and delivering a high-quality educational experience.

Student studying on lawn in Gaebe Commons


Johnson & Wales University, at its core, is powered by the people who make an impact for our students and alumni. Through PURPOSE 2024, we will bolster a campus culture that takes pride in what it means to be a Wildcat, and we will be purposeful in our external storytelling to ensure that all audiences recognize the impact Johnson & Wales University has on local economies, civic culture, and industry.

Students hang lanterns at Ignite the Night