The timeline for the new strategic plan’s development

Back in October, Western president Brad Baca sent an email to campus concerning the university’s five-year strategic plan — which is currently being updated, and is set to be finalized in the summer of 2023. Western’s current strategic plan extends through the end of 2023.

“The Strategic Plan is essentially a road map for Western over the next five years, and the planning process provides a crucial opportunity for the campus to unite under a shared vision of our priorities and opportunities to further our excellence as a university,” wrote Baca in his Oct. 21 email to campus.

In his email, the president added that Western’s Board of Trustees approved a new set of Guiding Principles and Goals for the 2024-2029 Strategic Plan with revisions back on Oct. 6.  

Those principles and goals stem from the mission, values and vision of Western, which are laid out on the Board’s webpage.

“With the Rocky Mountains serving as our laboratory, Western Colorado University is a unique, public institution. As a premier provider of rigorous, immersive education, Western champions intellectual exploration, critical thinking, and integrity, while inspiring innovation. Western offers an inclusive and personalized academic experience that enhances the lives of our students and their communities now and in the future,” reads Western’s current vision statement.

The five listed institutional values of Western are:

  • Courage
  • Growth
  • Inclusivity
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship

“The next stage of the strategic planning process involves the development of taskforces to create initiatives for each of the 4 goals of the strategic plan,” relays Baca via email.

Those four strategic planning goals are as follows:

  • Enrich the Western experience and improve wellbeing for students, faculty and staff
  • Improve student affordability and access
  • Enhance the quality and value of a Western education and degree
  • Ensure financial strength and support enrollment growth

Each of the four taskforces will be co-chaired by a senior cabinet member, who will serve along with another member of the campus community. The taskforces will include roughly six members from across campus, including current students.

The taskforces will evaluate initiatives, and the ensuing metrics, for each of the four goals spelled out in the strategic plan.

Come January, the taskforces will report back to the Strategic Plan Steering Committee with their proposals, and a full draft of the strategic plan will be created utilizing taskforce input.

The creation of the plan will take into account five guiding principles, taken from Western’s strategic planning webpage:

  • Financial Stewardship of the University
    • “The financial health of the university is fundamental to carrying out our mission. Responsible stewardship of our financial resources will underlie all aspects of our work.”
  • Sustainability
    • “Western is a leader in sustainability, and issues of sustainability are central to many degree programs. We will capitalize on this to make all aspects of Western’s operations sustainable—both socially and environmentally—with questions of sustainability appearing across Western’s curriculum.”
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ)
    • “Western has made progress in diversity, but the work of making the university a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just learning environment and workplace remains a priority and our curriculum will reflect the diversity of our local and global communities.”
  • Sense of Place and Belonging
    • “Among Western’s most important characteristics is its mountain valley location and how that develops a sense of place, in both social and environmental contexts. We will cultivate relationships with local and regional communities to ensure access and career success for students. We will emphasize “place as a teacher” using Western’s unique location, history and serving local organizations in our curriculum, engagement, and recruitment.”
  • Global Outlook
    • “Western is global in its outlook and we prepare students for work and citizenship in a globalized world. We will embrace this global perspective and apply it across the university in student and faculty recruitment, scholarly engagement, institutional relationships, and curriculum development.”

Upon completion of the draft plan in January, the document will be brought to the Western campus community for feedback, before it is shared with the university’s trustees, alumni, and other constituents for more input.