Priorities 2021

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change."
-Charles Darwin

A broad-based campus committee has examined data about The W, reviewed initiatives underway, listened to constituent voices, discussed areas of opportunity, and helped develop focus areas for the near future based on existing and potential strengths of the university. After review by the larger campus community, these priorities are now being adopted to help guide resources and efforts over the next 3-5 years.

Academic Excellence

Academics are at the heart of a W education. Our dedicated faculty, respected in their fields, champion a commitment to teaching shaped by their research, scholarship, and creative expressions. Partnered with an equally committed staff, they foster a learning environment that is both broad and highly personalized. For the W, academic excellence results in graduates who are equipped for the competitive and diverse global economy.


The W is committed to an academic environment that fosters critical thinking, excellence in written and oral communication, creative expression, and civic engagement. By capitalizing on the university’s personalized learning environment, our goal is to create and instill in our students an attitude of active engagement and investment in their learning. We also commit to creating opportunities for co-curricular programming through the cultivation of diverse campus communities.
  • Create additional synergies between admissions and academics for channeling new information about programs and actively promoting and recruiting for all majors.
  • Create and sustain a diverse community of student scholars who challenge themselves academically, personally, and professionally.
  • Create opportunities for synergies between academic programs and athletics.


The W is committed to providing high quality accessible resources and services to support excellence in learning, teaching, and research for our students and faculty. With an emphasis on developing and enhancing student research, creative activity, and faculty mentoring, we hope to create opportunities to produce and share original work with other researchers, future employers, and graduate programs, and to ensure that students are equipped to participate actively in ever-changing social and economic challenges.
  • Provide academic units and campus organizations with resources necessary to prepare students to compete in a highly competitive employment market.
  • Offer active-learning pedagogies and experiential opportunities such as residencies, clinicals, internships, and study abroad.
  • Promote and develop relationships with potential employers to highlight program strengths, distinctions, and student achievements.


The W is committed to enhancing accessibility in all traditional, hybrid, and online learning environments. By creating an equitable learning experience with a foundation of instructional support and innovation for faculty and staff, we will offer a rich educational environment and university experience for our students.
  • Leverage the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning to support faculty and staff with educational resources and professional development to provide ongoing and innovative strategies that enhance teaching, learning, and foster leadership.
  • Enhance accessibility in all learning environments to create an equitable learning experience.
  • Provide opportunities for students to learn new technologies to complement classroom learning.
  • Continue to strive for parity of resources and services for distance students to provide a rich learning environment and university experience.


The W is committed to enriching the learning experience of our students and the campus culture through an investment in attracting and retaining a diverse group of faculty and staff. We will continue to create a welcoming environment by investing in our rich campus community and additional support, including competitive salaries, that will ensure retention of current and new faculty and staff.
  • Implement inclusive recruiting and search committee training to facilitate an increase in diversity among faculty and staff.
  • Create a welcoming community to retain and empower all faculty and staff.
  • Invest in increasing salaries to become competitive in hiring and retaining a diverse faculty and staff.

Advancement Excellence

A strength of any institution is the level of engagement with those it serves. At The W, that includes a diversity of constituents: students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, the community, and elected officials. By cultivating these relationships, we build support critical to the future of The W. One important outcome of valued relationships is the continued generosity of our larger W family, providing resources that allow us to improve quality across all aspects of the institution.


To ensure we reach the next level of excellence, The W must continue a culture of giving that encourages participation through gifts of time, resources, and talents that strengthen and improve the institution. We must provide structures that can align constituents more closely with their interests and background at the university. The W will encourage this culture at the time students enroll at the university and continue to reinforce it throughout their educational progress and beyond.
  • Conduct interviews with potential donors and provide them a menu of giving opportunities.
  • Continue to increase participation in faculty/staff giving campaign.
  • Find more opportunities to educate students about their donors and the importance of philanthropy.


By continuing to foster alumni pride, The W can be successful in its first-ever major gifts campaign designed to support key university initiatives such as academic program enhancements, athletics, campus improvements, scholarships, and recruitment. We will also strive to solicit resources to recruit, retain, and support faculty and their research to enhance the academic environment of excellence. These constituencies can be valuable ambassadors for the university in recruiting potential students, as well as mentoring and helping retain enrolled students.
  • Create excitement around the Major Gifts Campaign to encourage donations for success.
  • Develop a campus speaker’s list for alumni activities.
  • Provide more opportunities for donors to support faculty.
  • Develop an alumni ambassador recruitment team to host student recruitment events.


While planning events, affiliations will continue to be developed through academic college alumni groups and other identifiable constituencies. Increasing participation in programming such as Homecoming, special events, and Alumni Office activities, while broadening access to all alumni by offering virtual options, will be key.
  • Provide a virtual option for all alumni/donor events.
  • Continue to offer campus programming virtually to alumni/donors.
  • Offer more diverse alumni events and more diverse speakers.


Enhance the recruitment of high-ability students to continue to build a climate of academic excellence. We will also endeavor to provide adequate financial resources to students to complete their studies and to include resources for student research and travel. Private contributions will be elicited to provide greater academic opportunities through awards. Scholarship structures and disbursements will be continually reviewed and aligned to support existing and future programs, services, facilities, and activities.
  • Provide more opportunities for donors to support students.
  • Provide donors with departmental needs in order to provide better learning environments.


Continue to provide an environment that will enhance classroom experiences and assist students and alumni with career goals. By introducing emotional intelligence career training, students can develop critical competencies, regardless of major, to help them successfully interact with co-workers and clients to build the foundation as a high-performance team member in their profession. This training advances effective communication and collaboration and provides resources to navigate career-related challenges and conflicts on both a personal and professional level.
  • Partner alumni as mentors to offer networking and job shadowing opportunities for students.
  • Continue to offer workshops and job fairs with intent to collect data through experiences.
  • Provide professional development workshops.

Community Connections

The W’s unique niche is not confined by geographic boundaries. By serving its communities through programs and partnerships, both locally and globally, the university will continue to communicate its value and explore ways to create significant impact through its areas of strength. It should also identify innovative and diverse approaches that enhance health, quality of life, cultural enrichment, and society's overall economic potential.


One of the strengths of the university is its emphasis on a holistic approach to health and wellness that focuses on all aspects of a person’s well-being. The W should capitalize on current academic, community outreach, and other initiatives in order to increase collaborations between campus units and public communities through regional partners and online audiences.
  • Continue to offer accessible programming and services to enhance holistic well-being for a diverse variety of community members, including, but not limited to, our campus community.
  • Make events available through a combination of delivery methods (e.g., streaming, remote, in-person, hybrid, etc.) for communities who may be unable to attend otherwise.


We are committed to identifying the underserved and diverse populations of our communities, understanding that they are not limited to just one group or demographic. The university can increase inclusive initiatives to provide better access to campus resources, programming, and outreach efforts to enhance the well-being of our communities.
  • Identify at-risk or high-needs groups within our communities and the barriers they encounter or needs they express through departmental or university individuals or groups.
  • Design all programming to be inclusive and empowering to all within our communities and accommodate those with additional needs (e.g., considering those with barriers to access, be they technological, financial, intellectual, accessibility, etc.).


By enhancing relevant partnerships with businesses, hospitals, nonprofits, P-12 schools, community colleges, and other agencies, The W will provide real-life experiences. These partnerships create future employment opportunities, develop civic awareness, and enrich the student experience. Developing internships, community, and service-learning activities will create mutually beneficial exchanges and serve our communities by providing a future workforce to support economic and personal growth.
  • Expand on current and seek new opportunities for partnerships through internships, service-learning, and student placement (e.g., clinical rotations, student teaching) for all disciplines to bridge the gap between campus and community partners.
  • Follow-up with each stakeholder in the partnership to assess ways to improve and expand future collaboration opportunities.


The W serves as a cultural hub for the campus and broader communities. By utilizing our liberal arts emphasis and creativity of our campus community, we can provide accessible, inclusive, and diverse events and programming to enhance cultural competencies and enrich the lives and perspectives of all within our communities.
  • Continue to offer accessible programming and services that promote creative, intellectual, and social opportunities using our liberal arts focus for a diverse variety of campus and community members.
  • Make events available through a combination of delivery methods (e.g., streaming, remote, in-person, hybrid, etc.) for communities who may be unable to attend otherwise.

Degree Completion

The W recognizes that Degree Completion requires recruitment, retention, and support through graduation and into a career. We aim to provide holistic support for all students throughout their time at the university.

GOAL: Recruit a diverse student body to ensure a vital university community

The W will engage in recruiting a diverse student body for its undergraduate and graduate programs. With a commitment to its mission of providing a liberal arts education and professional programs to prepare students for a wide range of careers, the university will support current majors and programs, while developing new programs targeted to prospective students’ interests and goals.
  • Support broad-based recruiting across the university while providing for the direct recruitment of students by academic programs (undergraduate and graduate).
  • Encourage programs/departments to adjust curriculum to meet student interests.
  • Enhance the student onboarding process to promote success, retention, and degree completion.

GOAL: Provide equal access to advising, mentoring, and support services to all students

With a continued emphasis on academic advising and related support services, The W will help students choose academic pathways that match their interests and skills and lead to completion in a reasonable time. The W will support students with services such as peer mentoring, tutoring, and career counseling to meet the needs of the whole student to ensure retention and progress toward a degree. Equivalent support services should be made available to residential, commuting, and distance students.
  • Enhance the promotion of student support services.
  • Enhance and provide equal access to student advising (e.g., Degree Works, Navigators).
  • Support the offering of services in multiple modalities.

GOAL: Assist students to maintain financial, physical, emotional, and mental well-being

Acknowledging that students’ financial, physical, emotional, and mental well-being are directly connected to student success and degree completion, The W will continually review scholarship structures, disbursements, and work-study opportunities to assist students with identified areas of financial need. The W will also support students’ financial, physical, emotional, and mental well-being through mentoring, counseling, advising, and health services. 
  • Assess different scholarship opportunities for underserved populations (financial need).
  • Provide more on-campus work opportunities.
  • Provide for the physical/emotional/mental well-being of students through the promotion/awareness of services (Counseling Center, Campus Recreation, Student Health Center, etc.).
  • Provide financial education and intervention programs (financial literacy education, financial early alert, etc.).

GOAL: Support students through degree completion and into their careers

To connect students with desirable outcomes of degree completion, The W will ensure that academic programming provides students with competitive knowledge and skills that translate into leadership in their careers by providing opportunities for internships, preceptorships, conferences, and other professional engagement.
  • Streamline processes and partnerships, including utilization of advisory boards, to allow for more opportunities for internships/preceptorships/conferences and other professional engagement opportunities.
  • Promote funding of faculty and staff for professional development that will enhance career readiness of students.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

The W is on a mission to create a welcoming, diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus climate for all. As the university strives to reach the highest levels of academic excellence, it is also essential that the university foster an environment where all members of the campus community can flourish. Diversity recognizes the value of varied perspectives, which helps drive innovative solutions to an ever-changing world.

GOAL: Create an inclusive and equitable campus climate reflective of the growing diversity in our communities, state, and nation

We will work to create an environment in which all campus community members, including those who are underrepresented, are welcomed and supported, and differing perspectives and contributions are sought out and valued.

  • Conduct first university-wide climate survey.
  • Develop toolkit for conducting search committees.
  • Develop central diversity, equity and inclusion education and training resources for faculty, staff, and students designed to develop skills and behaviors that ultimately will enhance our campus climate.

GOAL: Communicate mission and or vision statement on inclusive values

Diversity crosses all aspects of the university community. We will communicate and promote widely to all key stakeholders, The W’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure all know they are welcomed here.

  • Create tab off homepage showcasing diversity efforts.
  • Create diversity video from the president.
  • Include diversity statement on publications.

GOAL: Connect internal and external constituencies to opportunities at the university

In understanding the needs of the campus community, we will work to connect communities to one another to create a sense of belonging, trust, and credibility for all groups, including internal and external stakeholders of The W family.

  • Promote affinity groups on campus.
  • Educate vendors about bidding opportunities.
  • Connect students with alumni.

GOAL: Capture, promote, and enhance overall curriculum and programming that enhances multicultural awareness and understanding

We will work to create opportunities for the campus community to gain awareness of cultural differences, to be open to diverse perspectives, and to have the ability to interact effectively with people different from themselves.

  • Promote academic and cultural programming, internally and externally.
  • Promote Common Read Initiative (CRI), internally and externally.
  • Cross reference themes and education in the classroom and/or programming, where appropriate.

Financial Sustainability

A financial model supports the efforts and goals of academics, student services, and the campus as a whole. The W’s mission-driven approach involves clear strategic planning and actions that ensure the ongoing financial health of the University.

GOAL: Develop a strategic budget model

The W will continue to develop business practices to safeguard and enhance the financial health of the university. Our budget model will maintain a commitment to investing in new resources that ensure a successful student experience.
  • Create opportunities for transparency and dialogue between all campus entities in university budget planning and priorities.
  • Share objectives by department to create a long-range plan for supporting and growing academic programs to more deliberately enrich campus culture.

GOAL: Enhance and maintain campus infrastructure and facilities

As appropriate for an historic public regional university, The W will develop support for infrastructure and operations, including grants and other development opportunities to improve security, stability, and access, as well as to remain current with effective course delivery methods.
  • Attract funding to modernize residence halls and academic buildings.
  • Invest in creating accessibility in all campus buildings.
  • Update the Master Plan for the university to address safety, traffic flow, parking, and other outstanding infrastructure needs.

GOAL: Invest in faculty and staff hiring and development

The W is committed to recruiting, hiring, and retaining a diverse and outstanding faculty and staff. To ensure this, we will work to pursue funding opportunities to enhance and create equitable salaries that are competitive with peer institutions across the region.
  • Review salaries and support for faculty and staff across campus to create and execute a plan to address inequities and salary compression.
  • Focus on educational opportunities and training to develop an outstanding and innovative campus staff.
  • Expand opportunities for recruiting a diverse and outstanding faculty and staff.