WWU releases draft of new strategic plan, seeks comment

Western Today staff
Friday, October 15, 2010 - 10:28am

Western Washington University has released a draft of its new strategic plan and is seeking feedback and discussion on the plan from the campus community.

The draft plan was approved by the University Planning and Resources Council on Oct. 13, and Jeff Newcomer, chair of the UPRC and a professor of Engineering Technology at WWU, sent a message to campus regarding the draft.

Newcomer's comments are below:

Dear Colleagues,

Below you will find a link to the draft of Western's strategic plan that was approved by the UPRC on October 13 for campus discussion and feedback. Before you open up the draft, I want to highlight three features of it that might take you by surprise:

1) The draft plan is very short. In fact, the entire draft plan (Mission, Vision, and Strategic Goals) is noticeably shorter than the current Mission Statement. This is because the draft plan is only a strategic plan; it does not stray into areas of operations and tactics as the current plan does.

2) The draft plan does not try to define us the way the current plan does. The draft plan summarizes what we do now and what we want to do in the future, but in general terms. The draft plan makes no attempt to list everything that we value or prescribe exact actions. We know who we are and what we value, so the draft plan only discusses where we will go (or how we will grow, if you prefer).

3) The draft plan looks outward, not inward; it discusses what we have to offer, not what we want to be. It is not that we no longer want to be the best (we still do, of course), but by using our potential to address real problems of real people we can achieve that aim through actions rather than accolades.

We on UPRC believe that the draft plan has the proper form and content to allow the bright and talented students, faculty, and staff of Western to find the appropriate ideas, tactics, and initiatives to move Western towards its goals. We have shared a version of the draft plan with the Board of Trustees, and they supported the direction it provides for the university and preferred it to the current, multi-page plan.

Now we want to know what you think about this draft. Does the draft talk about the big ideas? At the same time is this a document you can use in making a departmental plan? Can you use this plan in making tactical and procedural decisions? Does it provide direction in requesting resources or proposing innovative programs? Please send your thoughts and comments either to your UPRC representative or to me, and remember that there is a General Faculty Assembly (staff and students welcome) to discuss this draft and Western's future scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday October 20 in AW 204 (AIC West).

The draft strategic plan is available on the Faculty Senate website, and you will find it at the end of this message.

All the best,

Jeff Newcomer
UPRC Chair

The UPRC’s ready-for-review version of the new Mission, Vision, and Strategic Goals for Western:


Western Washington University serves the state of Washington, the nation, and the world by bringing together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to form an inclusive university that develops the full potential of learners and the well-being of communities.


Western will build a stronger Washington by being the destination for active learning, expertise, and societal problem solving.

Strategic Goals

  • Build upon Western's strengths to address critical needs in the State of Washington.
  • Expand access and opportunities in baccalaureate and graduate education.
  • Foster and promote life-long learning and success in an ever-changing world.
  • Apply Western's scholarship, creativity, and expertise in ways that contribute to the well-being of communities beyond the campus.
  • Serve as a model for institutional effectiveness, innovation, diversity, and sustainability.