I’m writing to provide an update on how the planning work that emerged from our Values and Vision process is progressing. Much is being accomplished, and I’m grateful to the many faculty and staff colleagues and students who’ve devoted their time to these efforts.
Let me begin with a quick historical overview. In Fall 2004, we organized the Values and Vision Committee to collect comments, observations and wisdom from members of all of the university’s stakeholder groups. More than 70 structured conversations involving more than 600 individuals ensued. These conversations included campus groups such as faculty, staff and students and external constituents from government, business, education and the community. The Values and Vision Committee organized this mass of information into broad themes for our “Stakeholders’ Conference” last March. Relying on the dialogue at that meeting, four retreats with administrative and faculty leadership were held over the spring and summer to further prioritize the many ideas that surfaced in Values and Vision. From those retreats came a decision to proceed in Fall 2005 with five Action Teams. These teams are focusing on developing actionable steps to address the following topics:
- Strategic Enrollment Management (pdf, 255k) (co-chairs: Maribeth Amyot, Vice President for Finance and Administration; and Patricia O’Neill, Assistant Professor of Psychology)
- Improving Student Success (pdf, 317k) (co-chairs: Linda Vaden-Goad, Dean, Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences; and Walter Bernstein, Vice President for Student Affairs)
- Strengthening WestConn’s Comparative Advantages (pdf, 1,354k) (co-chairs: Ellen Durnin, Dean of Graduate and External Programs; and Burton Peretti, Associate Professor of History)
- Fully Utilizing Summer and Intersession Terms (tri-chairs: Katy Wiss, Associate Dean, Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences; Walter Cramer, Dean of Students; and Norine Jalbert, Professor of Psychology)
- Developing Model to Assess Costs of External Partnerships (co-chairs: Allen Morton, Dean, Ancell School of Business; and Vijay Nair, Librarian)
The action teams have all been meeting regularly and will complete their work by mid-April by submitting reports with recommendations supported by background information. The content of these reports will form the basis for the draft of a strategic plan for the university. This plan document will be drafted by Clinton Sidle, a consultant with whom we have been working on this project in earlier retreats. The first draft will be processed by university leadership and University Planning and Budgeting Committee members at a late May retreat and will be further honed over the summer for presentation and debate by the entire university community next Fall.
In the weeks ahead, each action team will be posting abstracts of their work in this web space. These abstracts were distributed at the March 15 University Senate meeting. The action teams will also be holding open meetings for dialogue on their ideas in April. Times and places will be announced. Please continue to check here for additional information about this process.
These colleagues are working together both to construct a framework for WCSU’s future and to address some of the most important issues that our community identified in the Values and Vision process. I think you’ll find their conclusions sound and their ideas stimulating, forward-looking and even occasionally provocative. These will form the basis for constructive university-wide dialogue in the months and years ahead.
Thanks as always for your interest and engagement.
James W. Schmotter