Report details successful first year in implementing WMU strategic plan

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KALAMAZOO—A report detailing the first successful year of implementing Western Michigan University's 2012-15 Strategic Plan has been published online.

The report outlines the infrastructure built to implement the plan and the plan's basic goals as well as a series of initiatives designed to achieve those goals. Initiatives implemented or underway during the first year ranged from work by an individual college to increase the number of students who study abroad to the establishment of professional development options for student employees and a decision to launch an affiliation with Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  

Available at wmich.edu/strategic, the Annual Strategic Plan Effectiveness Report reflects the actions and outcomes associated with the first full year of work focused on ensuring the University is learner centered, discovery driven and globally engaged—the plan's three major tenets. The report also details some of the specific strategies the University embraced during the 2012-13 year to achieve five major plan goals. The five goals are to:

  • ensure a distinctive learning experience and foster success of students,
  • promote innovative learning, discovery and service,
  • advance WMU as a major research university,
  • ensure a diverse, inclusive and healthy community, and
  • advance social, economic and environmental sustainability practices.

WMU's strategic plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in December 2011, following a year of development by a campuswide committee and extensive feedback from the campus community. When it was adopted, the plan was described as a blueprint to take the University where its constituents wanted it to be in the coming years.

"Considerable progress has been made in implementing the plan and embedding it into the WMU culture," says Dr. Jody A. Brylinsky, WMU's vice provost for institutional effectiveness, who guides the planning process. "In a year's time, the three-year plan has been applied to an infrastructure that has breathed life into the vision and goals that were developed by the University Strategic Planning Committee and honed by the WMU community."

Brylinsky notes the planning document, which is known on campus as the "Gold Standard," serves as a guide for decision making, a lens to make clear WMU's direction and a key to measuring WMU's successes.

With the shift to a new academic year, the University has moved into the second year of the three-year plan. Brylinsky says a primary goal of year two will be communicating the plan, its importance and its successes more broadly both to internal and external communities.

"Our strategic planning effort is all about transparency, communication and efficiency," Brylinsky says. "Achieving the plan's goals will have a direct impact on issues like budgets and programming that are of critical importance to everyone in the University community."