Western Rising Compass
Western Rising

A New Direction for the Future

Strategic Plan 2024 – 2030

Western Rising
Dr. Manohar Singh

A Message from
the President

Dr. Manohar Singh

Founded on June 12, 1903, as the Danbury Normal School, Western is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. While the world has experienced significant change, Western has stayed true to its mission of preparing compassionate leaders. This reflects the intellectual leadership of its faculty, dedication of its staff, and inquisitiveness of its students in advancing shared goals for the betterment of mankind. We have much to be proud of.

As a dynamic institution of higher learning, we are responsive to the needs of the rapidly changing socioeconomic and political fabric of our society. As a result, Western finds itself ready to embark upon a new path of strategic planning while building upon its legacy and rich traditions. In addition, we have experienced seismic shifts in the higher education landscape nationally and globally over the last decade. These changes have not only posed challenges to higher education, but offer a wealth of opportunities a dynamic institution like Western to stay at the forefront of discovery and impact. This is a propitious moment for us to come together and envision a shared future. Collectively, we can craft our next mission-centric strategic plan as the previous plan comes to its conclusion in 2024.

During my listening and learning tour with several stakeholders over the past 12 weeks, I realized that our progress emanates from our collective strength and purpose. A strategic plan developed in an inclusive and collaborative manner, as enshrined in the principles of shared governance, will unite us with greater resolve to meet the challenges ahead. Guided by faculty and staff colleagues, we are initiating a strategic planning process. The 2024-30 strategic plan, “Western Rising,” embodies our collective indomitable spirit to continue to rise beyond limits and toward brighter horizons.

Through Western Rising, our College community will discuss, develop, and initiate fresh and bold strategic priorities to advance Western Connecticut State University’s excellence, inclusiveness, and opportunities for all.

Strategic Planning Process

This six-month inclusive process will engage our diverse community in an in-depth self-evaluation that will yield a collaborative vision to guide us to shared institutional aspirations. It will navigate our mission, vision and values to shape the next six years as we outline our short-term goals and long-term mission-centric strategies as a regional public university — one of our society’s most powerful catalysts for economic prosperity, social mobility, nation building and personal wellbeing. 


The process will have four stages. The first stage was launched on November 21st. The process will yield a comprehensive strategic plan that represents a diverse set of perspectives and shared aspirations reflecting five pillars developed from the first phase of the strategic plan (click link above to view the survey results). Each committee will gather input from the community through forums and surveys.

President Launch - 11/21/23 – 3/10/24

Phase 1:
Listening and Learning

To launch our strategic planning process, we will do the following:

  1. Create the Strategic Planning Committees with representation from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and administration.
  2. Host two sessions to frame the strategic planning process. These sessions will be in person and via WebEx. Each session will followed by small focus groups to gather feedback and shape next steps.
  3. Evaluate the initial survey and the data from the focus groups and use them to identify our strategic priorities

02/01/24 – 04/07/24

Phase 2:
Envisioning Our Future

During this phase the Strategic Planning Committees will meet with university and community stakeholders to develop the critical objectives that stem from the strategic priorities.

04/07/24 & 06/14/24

Phase 3:
Crafting our Plan

The strategic planning team will transform the fully developed objectives into action steps and responsible parties.


Phase 4:
Honoring our Promise

Step by step, year by year, action by action, together we will make our strategic plan a reality.


Upcoming Events

News & Updates

The Launch for Western Connecticut State University’s Strategic Plan, Western Rising 2024 – 2030, took place on November 21, 2023. To view a video recap of the launch click the link – STRATEGIC PLAN LAUNCH

Phase 1

The Best Practices & Socio-Cultural, Political & Economics Roundtable was held on December 1, 2023

Phase 1

The WCSU Positioning for Success and Higher Education Landscape Panel Discussion was held on December 5, 2023

Phase 1

The Higher Education & Western Roundtable was held on December 7, 2023

Phase 1

The Higher Education & Western Roundtable was held on December 8, 2023

Academic Excellence Subcommittee members

Transparency & Collaborative Decision-Making Subcommittee members

Community Partnership Subcommittee members

DEI & Belonging Subcommittee members

Financial Sustainability & Vitality Subcommittee members

An Opportunity to Engage

The Planning Process

Organization Structure:  

We plan to set up three groups to implement the process. The five-person Process Management Group (PMG) appointed by me will conduct the administrative tasks to manage the process and real-time communications. The next larger group with 8-10 members will be the Steering Committee (SC) that will collect, summarize, synthesize and craft the final strategic plan based on the multiple rounds of information gathering, feedback, consultations and discussions conducted at various events planned throughout the process. The Steering Committee will be a body of various stakeholders — faculty, staff, students, alumni — who choose to send their representatives as members. Finally, the largest group that will engage in the process is the Strategic Planning Group (SPG) a collection of various subcommittees and working groups that correspond to various strategic plan domains.  

Process Management Group (PMG)

AVP (IEP) – John Osae-Kwapong 

Director of Communications & Marketing – Marcia Firsick 

Presidential Assistant – Charmaine Lloyd 

Instructional Designer – Aura Lippincott 

Professor Ancell School of Business – Mohinder Dugal 

Steering Committee (SC)

Chair/Co-Chair – Michelle Brown & Julie Perrelli

Senate President – Jeffrey Schlicht

Dean of School of Visual & Performing Arts – Brian Vernon 

Dean of Student Success & Engagement – Julie Perrelli

VP of Enrollment Mgmt. and Student Affairs – Jay Murray 

Financial Administrator – Inita Mix 

Faculty – Joshua Rosenthal

Associate Dean, Library Services – Veronica Kenausis

Athletics – Lori Mazza

Student – Kristina Caravetta    

Alumni Board – Tom Crucitti 

Dean of Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences – Dr. Michelle Brown  

Sub Committees

Sub Committee 1: Academic Excellence

Chair/Co-Chair – Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox

Athletics – Alex Harrison

Faculty – Carol Huang

Dean of Professional Studies – Joan Palladino 

Celt Director – Leslie Lindenauer 

One Faculty – Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox 


Sub Committee 2: Financial Sustainability

Chair/Co-Chair – Melissa Stephens & Deanna-Cibery Schaab

UPBC Chair – Jim Donegan

Director of Financial Aid – Melissa Stephens  

Budget Director – Mufu Weng

Facilities – Deanna Cibery-Schaab 

Faculty – Zuohong Pan 


Sub Committee 3: DEI & Belonging

Chair/Co-Chair – Scott Towers & Jessica Coronel

HR – Michele Ribeiro Cazorla

Faculty – Carina Bandhauer 

Title IX – Scott Towers

Faculty – Chair of Social Work, Karen McLean

Student – Maia Quirk 

Associate Director of Pre-Collegiate Access – Jessica Coronel

Director of Counseling Services – Ree Gunter


Sub Committee 4: Transparency & Collaborative Decision Making

Chair/Co-Chair – Anna Malavisi & Maribeth Griffin

Faculty – Anna Malavisi

Student – Rebecca Wozniak 

Faculty – Adam Brewer 

IT – John DeRosa

Director of Residential Programs & Staff – Maribeth Griffin


Sub Committee 5: Community Partnerships

Chair/Co-Chair – Fred Cratty & Yaseen Hayajneh

Foundation Board Members

Interim Dean of Ancell School of Business – Yaseen Hayajneh

Faculty – Mitch Wagener 

Director of Career Services – Kathleen Lindenmayer 

Director of Pre-Collegiate Access – Rob Pote 

Director of Career Academy Partnerships – Brent Dean

Human Resources – Fred Cratty

Alumni Board – Ray Lubus

Mayor’s Office Representation

Foundation Board Member – Nelson Merchan