LSE was founded 1895 by four idealistic young Fabians for the "betterment of society". It adopted rerum cognoscere causas, which means to know the causes of things, as its motto.
The desire to bring academic expertise to bear on the problems of society motivated the founders of LSE and underpins the School's vision and strategy today.
LSE’s vision for 2011-16
to deliver challenging, stimulating, research led degree programmes in an environment that supports learning and develops independent thinking among our students
to ensure that our research and teaching remain at the forefront of the social sciences, addressing the evolving challenges of society
to be among the most internationally-oriented centres of social science excellence in the world
to extend our engagement with society across our full academic portfolio and in key regions of the world and
to enrol the best students from around the world to benefit from, and contribute to, the learning environment at the School.
Three priorities for the School
This vision for the future is underpinned by three priorities for the School, all of which will be tackled with equal commitment.
Teaching and student experience
Students at LSE receive research-led teaching from an internationally renowned academic staff. At the heart of this is intellectual challenge. Through exposure to the latest developments in social science and to the thinking of visiting world leaders, business figures and academics in debates and public lectures, students are challenged and inspired by LSE's vision of intellectual excellence combined with real-world engagement.
LSE is currently focusing on increasing contact hours between permanent academic staff and undergraduate students; reducing postgraduate class sizes; improving teaching quality; and improving staff and student contact and student satisfaction levels in relation to the academic experience, including Library and IT services. It will also continue to improve its estate, in particular through the redevelopment of the St Philips site into the exciting Saw Swee Hock Student Centre which has already been awarded an outstanding BREEAM rating and won the 2012 New London Award in the Education category.
LSE is a world leader in social science research. The School protects and encourages theoretical and "blue skies" research while promoting dynamic engagement with wider society.
The UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008 revealed LSE to have the highest percentage of world-leading research of any university in the country, topping or coming close to the top of a number of rankings of research excellence. LSE submitted over 90 per cent of eligible staff for assessment.
LSE is currently focusing on increasing the amount of research funding, especially from peer-reviewed external sources; learning lessons from RAE 2008; preparing for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014; and improving the quality of research space.
LSE is an outward-facing university, constantly engaged with the big policy issues of the day and communities around the world. Its academics are frequently to be found in the media, commenting on issues from the global economy to the government of London. Many serve on government panels and advise international organisations, businesses and charities.
The public lectures programme at LSE embodies the School's engagement agenda and caters to the thirst for informed debate. Global leaders in politics, business and the academic world come to LSE to discuss the issues of the day. LSE also runs a prestigious executive education programme, with Summer Schools in London and Beijing offering intensive courses.
The School is committed to widening participation in higher education, through engagement with secondary schools and their pupils throughout London.
LSE promotes knowledge exchange by "translating" academic research into accessible formats and by better targeting of public lectures.
LSE will also develop our institutional partnerships overseas.
Strategic Plan 2011-16
Strategic Review (internal access only)