North­eastern is at the start of a “once-​​in-​​a-​​generation oppor­tu­nity” to define its future with a new Insti­tu­tional Master Plan, the first in more than a decade, said Ralph Martin, Northeastern’s senior vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral counsel, in a briefing yes­terday to the Fac­ulty Senate.

We are a very diverse uni­ver­sity, and one of the things that could dis­tin­guish this master plan from the pre­vious plan — which was very residence-​​focused, taking us out of the realm of a com­muter school — is now that the aca­d­emic and research ele­ments have really increased, we have to take a look at the kind of spaces we need to sup­port those func­tions: labs, class­rooms, con­fer­ence and meeting spaces — you name it,” Martin said.

Northeastern’s lead­er­ship will work closely with fac­ulty, staff, alumni and others, along­side a task force of 15 to 20 mem­bers of the sur­rounding com­mu­nity, to develop the master plan, which is due to the city of Boston by the end of 2012.

The master plan will draw heavily from Northeastern’s Aca­d­emic Plan and Long-​​Range Plan, “doc­u­ments that should inform our con­tem­pla­tive uses and ulti­mately be a major driver in what the master plan pro­duces,” Martin said.

Though the city’s plan­ning require­ments only call for an out­look of Northeastern’s use of land within Boston, Martin said the process could also serve as a way to deter­mine how to best use other University-​​owned prop­erty, which includes cam­puses in Burlington, Nahant and Dedham.

North­eastern is in the process of com­pleting some of the final projects out­lined in the 2000 master plan and sub­se­quent amend­ments, including the leasing of a research building at 140 Fenway and the con­struc­tion of a new res­i­dence hall behind the YMCA prop­erty near Matthews Arena.

Louis J. Kruger, chairman of the Senate Agenda Com­mittee, said he appre­ci­ated that the fac­ulty was being included in the process “from the ground floor” and would be included on plan­ning committees.

This is an ongoing process, and I hope that you will par­tic­i­pate in all the oppor­tu­ni­ties to inform and engage,” said Provost Stephen Director. “Think about how instruc­tion is going to be car­ried out in the next 10 to 15 years — is it still going to be the fac­ulty standing out in front of the class­room or will it be more in stu­dios and labs? As we look at the teaching spaces, it is the fac­ulty we’re going to be turning to.”