We began the year by synthesizing thousands of hopes and dreams that were shared last spring into five simple planning priorities for WSU: people, programs, price, place, and pride. While I’ve asked particular committees and individuals to work on certain aspects of this, my hope is that the entire WSU community will remain hoping and dreaming and sharing their ideas.
We are in this process for the long haul. Indeed, patience will be required, because shared governance will be our approach – we are seeking ideas for future projects that ring most true for WSU, so we want the whole campus talking about their hopes and dreams for WSU. The very best ideas are out there among our students, faculty, staff, alumni and alumnae, and community friends.
I’ve asked members of the WSU Cabinet to serve as “czars” for each of the planning priorities. Each of them will ensure that the process for developing and nurturing great ideas is progressing. Barb Oertel is working on “People” and will be looking for ways for WSU to enhance civility, diversity, and internal communication. Patricia Rogers will work on “Programs,” seeking ideas about enhancing our academic enterprise, WSU Rochester, athletics, and other programs, with help from Ken Janz on technology. The “Price” initiative is being led by Scott Ellinghuysen, and his team will be working on keeping WSU affordable and of the highest value. Karen Johnson is shepherding “Place,” which includes enhancing the beauty of the campus, sustainability, and community engagement. As for “Pride,” that is being led by Gary Evans, and his folks will be exploring ways to extend WSU’s distinctiveness, pride, and identity. I also have a small steering committee that includes Nancy Jannik and Cristeen Custer.
Thanks to leadership from our bargaining units we now have in place a great planning structure that will help us turn our hopes and dreams into realities. The structure includes a new Long-Term Planning Committee that reviews and proposes major long-term projects and programs related to campus facilities and academic programs at WSU; a new Improvement, Accreditation, and Assessment Committee that emerged from our HLC Steering Committee and proposes, reviews, initiates, and coordinates short-term initiatives for university improvement; and our existing Finance and Facilities Committee, which advises the Cabinet on policies for resource allocation within the university. In this way, planning leads to budgeting which leads to assessment, and based on that assessment we can make further plans – a logical structure for building a future. This shared governance approach will ensure that we are defining the truest direction for our future.
My dearest hope and my fondest dream for WSU is that we develop a culture of transparency and trust that allows us to envision the future together, a future that promises we are at our best when it comes to people, programs, price, place, and pride.
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