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Visioning conference explores ways to maximize WSU’s impact

October 29, 2019

The University plays an increasingly important role in serving and advancing the state of Washington’s needs by carrying out its three-pronged mission of teaching, research, and community engagement.

But how can the talent and intellectual capital represented in WSU’s statewide enterprise be molded into a more cohesive system that delivers even greater benefits to the state? And how should the University’s 2020-2025 system strategic plan, currently in the early stages of development, reflect that goal?

Those questions were at the heart of a visioning conference on October 28 that engaged more than 650 members of the WSU community on both sides of the Cascades in day-long conversations about topics such as the University’s core purpose and values and the ways the Drive to 25 will boost the fortunes of the state and WSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

“I’m thrilled by the conversations that took place today,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz in his closing remarks. “Our community is clearly engaged in planning the University’s future, and moving forward, we are committed to ensuring the new strategic plan represents the input of the entire community.”

See conference input; draft plan coming in January

The raw responses from the group discussions at the visioning conference are available online.

All of the input gathered from the conference will be provided to internal concept teams charged with drafting the goals, objectives, and strategies of the strategic plan.

The first draft of the system strategic plan will be available for public comment in January.

Retreat explores key considerations in creating next strategic plan

June 12, 2019

What are some of the key next steps in the process that will guide the University community in creating the 2020-2025 WSU System Strategic Plan?

WSU chancellors, vice presidents, and deans wrestled with that question at a May 22 afternoon retreat. The retreat was scheduled, in part, to give the participants opportunities to share their impressions about the University’s path forward following the May 7 system-wide symposium focused on the future of land-grant universities.

Among the key takeaways from the retreat:

The University community must identify agreed-upon ideals and principles that will serve as the foundation of the strategic plan.

  • The principles to be developed will serve as WSU’s North Star for institutional planning.
  • The principles should reflect institutional core values; values the WSU community lives out on a daily basis.
  • It is essential that the strategic plan closely align with the state’s needs and priorities.
  • Resource allocations system-wide must reflect and support the priorities identified in the plan.
  • Furthering the land-grant mission should serve as a core focus of the plan.

Additional in-depth conversations focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and how they are incorporated into the strategic plan are required.

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion need to be identified as a core institutional belief and be integrated throughout the plan.
  • Additional conversations are required to ensure the plan fully addresses all forms of diversity.
  • Discussions focused on the appropriate ways to reflect equity and inclusion within the land-grant mission are needed.

The concept and place of Extension at WSU going forward needs in-depth conversation.

  • How does having an Extension unit differentiate WSU in the higher ed landscape?
  • How can the benefits and value of an Extension unit be better incorporated across the University and the system at-large?
  • Efforts to increase awareness throughout the University community of Extension’s role and contributions are needed as part of the process of visioning WSU’s future.
  • Extension faculty and staff currently are often not recognized in an equitable way for their contributions to the University.

The benefits of the Drive to 25 and its connection to the land-grant mission must be made clearer and more meaningful to both the internal WSU community and University stakeholders.

  • The Drive to 25 goals must be communicated regularly and consistently.
  • Drive to 25 messaging should focus on stories that demonstrate the progress of the initiative and show how WSU will be better positioned to fulfill its mission and serve the state by achieving D25 success.
  • Additional communication focused on the D25 metrics is needed to develop additional internal community understanding and support for the initiative.
  • The entire WSU community must see themselves in the D25, understand their contributions, and feel excited about the University’s progress in advancing the metrics.
  • The Drive to 25 is aspirational, and progress in the metrics should be considered success.

Members of the Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Council (SPIEC), a cross-section of system chancellors, vice presidents, and deans, is charged with creating WSU’s strategic plan. The group, which meets monthly, will consider the retreat takeaways at an upcoming meeting.

Washington State University