The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed a new strategic plan designed to guide the institution’s direction and development over the next decade while strengthening relationships with the communities and regions it serves.
Approval by the board as part of its quarterly meeting Friday, June 8, brings to a close the nearly yearlong process of developing a new strategic plan for WCU. The board action also signals the beginning of the next part of the process, as individual divisions and units of the university begin to develop their own strategic plans.
“This is an ambitious plan, but it is an achievable plan,” said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher. “It is a plan that, while built upon the institution’s strengths and traditions, is forward-looking. It will guide all of the units of the university as they begin to map their own strategic plans to the course charted by this document.”
Titled “2020 Vision: Focusing Our Future,” the plan was drafted by the 2020 Commission, a 36-member committee appointed by Belcher, who announced last August that beginning the strategic planning process would be a top priority in the first year of his administration.
It defines six strategic directions the university will take in the years ahead and spells out numerous initiatives designed to help the institution work toward specific goals.
The plan calls for Western Carolina to:
“This really is an impressive piece of work, one that maps the future of Western Carolina in a very thoughtful and ambitious way,” said Joan MacNeill, chair of the Board of Trustees.
Chaired by Melissa Canady Wargo, assistant vice chancellor for institutional planning and effectiveness, the 2020 Commission includes representatives from the university community – faculty, staff and students – and from the broader external community – alumni, donors, friends, and business and community leaders. In addition to on-campus meetings with students, faculty and staff, the commission solicited input from WNC residents through a series of public hearings in Franklin, Sylva, Hendersonville, Asheville, Waynesville, Cherokee and Murphy.
“A lot of times, the process used is as important as the final product,” Belcher said. “I believe that people will feel a sense of ownership of this plan because of their involvement in the process of devising it.”
For more information about the strategic plan, visit the website the2020commission.wcu.edu.
By Bill Studenc