Strategic Planning Initiative

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Charge to Strategic Plan Committee from Dr. Schmotter

Overview
As WestConn enters our third year of discussion and strategic planning, the next steps in our advancement are as follows:

  • Begin implementing some of the recommendations developed to date, and
  • Articulate our vision and strategies in a unified planning document.

I am asking the co-chairs of WestConn’s five action teams, joined by UPBC chair Dan Goble, to move this work forward during the summer of 2006.  Implementation of those recommendations identified as readily achievable will then begin immediately.  University-wide discussion of the content of the strategic planning document is targeted for the fall 2006 semester and will form the basis for additional decisions and actions going forward.

Given their participation and leadership with the action teams and in our two planning retreats, as well as their representation of faculty and administration, the co-chair group has the depth and scope of knowledge that positions them well to guide this next planning phase on behalf of WestConn.  They will function as the Strategic Planning Steering Committee during the upcoming academic year, shepherding the strategic plan through the university while implementing recommendations from the action teams.  Vice President Beth Amyot and Dean Ellen Durnin will serve as the convenors of the Steering Committee, and I will be happy to meet with the group whenever they deem it necessary.

Background
The process of developing a vision and a strategic plan for WestConn has been moving forward over the last two years.  During Year 1, individuals and groups at the university and from all stakeholder groups were interviewed, and their responses were compiled as part of the Values and Visions process, designed to help clarify WestConn’s self-identity and perception while identifying key opportunities.  Major themes emerged in the areas of academics, community, identity, resources, and students.
Results were shared in a “town meeting” format, and the Extended President’s Advisory Committee (EPAC) and the University Planning and Budget Committee (UPBC) held a retreat in summer 2005 to analyze the data and to formulate next steps.

Year 2 began with the creation of five action teams, each of which focused on one of the critical issues identified through the values and visions exercise as important issues for significant attention or improvement.  The five critical issues were:  strategic enrollment management, student success, comparative advantage, summer and intersession activities, and community partnerships.  Team members met throughout the 2005-2006 academic year and submitted their final reports to the president in April 2006. 

EPAC and UPBC met again in a retreat format in May 2006.  The group focused on a vision statement drafted to reflect the beliefs and aspirations of the university as conveyed through the values and vision exercises.  Within the framework of the vision statement and informed by the action team work, the group brainstormed planning strategies. To supplement the work the action teams had completed on critical issues requiring attention or improvement, the retreat discussion extended to include a fuller exploration of areas of strength at WestConn.

We approach the start of Year 3 with valuable information:  themes from the values and vision phase, a draft of a vision statement for WestConn, action team strategies and recommendations that address critical issues for improvement, and the beginnings of strategies relevant to areas of strength.

Charge (and targeted completion dates)
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee, as representatives of EPAC and UPBC, and co-chairs of the action teams, will guide the next phase of WestConn’s strategic planning process.  Specifically:  

  1. Outline a plan for implementation of action team recommendations consistent with the strategic vision of Western Connecticut State University and our resource availability.  Prioritize actions that can be implemented in the near term with little or no financial investment, and identify key implementation requirements. (August 31, 2006)
  1. Separately prioritize and integrate longer term strategic recommendations of the five action teams, together with their key implementation requirements. (August 31, 2006)
  1. Within the structure and spirit of the vision statement, draft a unified strategic planning document that captures the content of planning discussions over the past two years.  Integrate strategic recommendations from the action teams.  Develop and articulate strategies relevant to vision statement components not encompassed by the action team work.  (September 30, 2006)
  1. Recommend a process for engaging the university community in an exchange of views regarding the strategic plan during the fall 2006 semester, leading to a living plan with broad understanding and support for action.  (August 31, 2006)

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