Planning Process & Timeline


Fall 2021

Goal: Campus engagement activities and institutional SOAR analysis.

Key Activities: Themed town hall listening sessions, committee orientation and regular meetings, review of institutional data and reports, campus engagement, and feedback.


Spring 2022

Goal: Identification of recommendations.

Key Activities: Themed town hall listening sessions, committee orientation and regular meetings, Regular committee meetings, campus updates and feedback, identification of themed focus areas, production of draft recommendations.


Summer 2022

Goal: Unification of process outcomes and plan recommendation.

Key Activities: Compilation of committee recommendations, development of first draft of plan.

Review, Approval, and Launch for fall 2022

Fall 2022

Goal: Finalize WMU Strategic Plan and institutional launch.

Key Activities: Internal and external plan feedback activities, development of plan evaluation and reporting structures, incorporate suggested revisions, completion of the final draft for review.

Suggestion Box


  • Strategic Planning continues to progress-Sept. 7, 2022

    Dear campus community, 

    As we enter a new semester, I want to take a moment to share with you an update on the significant progress we have made toward charting the course of Western’s future through our new Strategic Plan. 

    More than 500 members of our community made their voices heard by participating in more than 20 priority-focused listening sessions, town hall workshops and student-focused surveys. Your invaluable ideas and suggestions were used to help develop the goals, objectives, illustrative strategies and metrics of success that provide structure for the Strategic Plan's seven key priority recommendations. In addition, Western’s new vision and mission statements, along with our first formalized values, were collaboratively drafted by integrating the feedback gathered during the fall and spring engagement sessions. 

    Throughout summer 2022, these draft goals and objectives were reviewed by members of the University’s Executive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Core Team, and myself. We are currently making excellent progress on the development of a fully drafted Strategic Plan to present to campus in late fall 2022, with the refinement, integration and alignment of the seven key priority recommendations occurring throughout the next several months. 

    I want to recognize the hard work of the University’s Strategic Planning working groups and Steering Committee members. Developing a shared vision for the next 10 years depends on the collaboration and participation of every member of our community, and I am proud that our Broncos have enthusiastically risen to the challenge and embraced this charge.

    The Strategic Planning website will continue to provide updates and publish information throughout the entirety of the planning process. There you can learn more and discover how you can get involved.

    Thank you, 

    Dr. Chris Cheatham
    Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Incredible progress in strategic planning-April 25, 2022

    Dear colleagues,

    I hope your finals week is off to a great start! I am writing today to provide an update regarding the Strategic Planning process. We have been overwhelmed with the amount of engagement from our campus community this semester and are happy to share with you the incredible amount of progress that has been made because of your participation. 

    • Steering Committee: The Steering Committee has wrapped up its work on the University’s vision, mission and values. Using the data we have collected throughout the academic year from across campus, the committee has drafted updated vision and mission statements along with the University’s first formalized values. This draft has been shared with the President’s Cabinet, and we are pleased to now share this with all of you. You can view this draft document by visiting our website.
    • Working Groups: Our key priority Working Groups have successfully hosted more than 20 themed listening sessions with more than 500 participants joining the conversation. Thank you to everyone who registered for these sessions! Groups are now working to write goals and objectives along with illustrative strategies and metrics to be submitted to the Steering Committee next week.
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Committee: We have met with the University’s DEI Advisory Committee to update them on the process and plan for their review of recommendations, which will occur during the summer months. We are grateful for the committee’s dedication to ensuring that all recommendations reflect our institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
    • Looking ahead: The Core Team, Steering Committee and DEI Advisory Committee will spend the summer compiling all recommendations from the Working Groups, aligning language, reducing overlap and working toward producing a draft Strategic Plan to present to campus at the beginning of the fall 2022 semester. In addition to receiving campus feedback on the draft plan, we will also shift our focus to implementation and planning within units. 

    I want to express my thanks and appreciation to all members of the Core Team, Steering Committee and Working Groups for all their hard work and dedication this year. I look forward to continued engagement by the campus community in the fall when we present the draft plan for your feedback.

    Thank you,

    Chris Cheatham
    Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Vice Provost for Budget and Personnel
    Academic Affairs

  • Make your Voice Heard Student Survey-April 5, 2022

    Dear students,

    As the Strategic Plan’s spring 2022 engagement process draws to a close, we ask that you please take five minutes to respond to this short survey about Western’s key priorities. 

    Why? Because the Strategic Plan will impact every one of you directly. And hearing your thoughts, opinions and ideas about our University’s future is critically important to making sure that this new plan represents everyone. 

    The information you provide by responding to this survey will be used to better inform the recommendations that will help determine the course of our community’s future for the next 10 years. 

    The time to join the conversation is now. We’re listening. 

    Thank you for making your voice heard,

    Chris Cheatham
    Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Vice Provost for Budget and Personnel
    Academic Affairs

  • Strategic Planning Progress Report-Feb. 14, 2022


     On behalf of the Strategic Planning core team, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a brief message and share updates that the core team has prepared.

    First, it is important to recognize the hard work and leadership that Dr. Jennifer Bott provided in developing the framework and process that we are moving forward with for Strategic Planning. As we move through this transitional period, I want to emphasize there are no plans to slow down the progress toward the creation of a Strategic Plan that will guide our University for years to come. We will continue to move forward, listen to our campus community and seek input on the direction of the University. I ask that you consider participating in the many opportunities that will be available over the coming months to provide your input.


    Thank you for lending your perspectives during the six town halls about mission and vision, with two additional sessions scheduled this month. These town halls produced nearly 300 structured responses that serve as the foundation for the steering committee’s reevaluation of our mission and vision statements. I ask that you continue to participate in the various opportunities that the steering committee and working groups host this semester. We need your input to make this plan a success.

    Our Strategic Planning website continues to offer engagement opportunities—mission and vision worksheet, suggestion box, listening and values session registration—and will also be the home of all data collected throughout the process. Please visit the site regularly to keep up to date on the progress being made.

    Steering committee

    Our steering committee meets biweekly to engage in discussion around the critical issues facing higher education and WMU. The group has been charged with providing leadership and guidance to the planning process, analyzing existing data and helping to set institutional metrics and targets. It is a fantastic group with representation of all of our stakeholders. We will continue to collect input from the campus community and ask for feedback at every stage of the process.

    Working groups

    Our seven working groups began meeting at the end of the fall semester and are tasked with establishing institutional recommendations regarding their specific priority area. Their work will continue through the spring semester, a feature of which is hosting themed listening sessions each week through the end of March. We continue this week with two sessions from the Community Building group and one from the Internationalization group. Please register to attend sessions on our website.

    Values discussions

    In addition to the themed listening sessions from our working groups, we will also host a series of peer-facilitated values discussions that will focus on our institutional values. The goal of these discussions is to create space for colleagues to identify WMU’s values through a strengths and aspirations lens. These asset-based discussions will be led by a group of outstanding facilitators from multiple divisions. I am grateful for the time and thought this group will contribute to this important discussion throughout the semester. The first session will be on Thursday, Feb. 24; please join us.

    Please join me in thanking all those individuals who are serving on the core team, working groups and steering committee. Their hard work and dedication to this process is very much appreciated. And, again, please consider participating in one (or more) of the many Strategic Planning events that will occur over the next several months.


    Chris Cheatham
    Acting Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Vice Provost for Budget and Personnel
    Academic Affairs

  • Strategic Planning-Oct. 28, 2021

    Dear campus community,

    As we move into the second half of our fall semester, we also continue to move forward in the process of creating Western’s future with our Strategic Planning efforts. Thanks to all who participated in our kick-off event last month and helped us get off to a great start! I am also delighted to share that we’ve received more than 250 nominations for the working groups we are forming. Thank you to all who have taken part in this important effort so far!

    When I announced the start of this process, I promised you would have many opportunities to tell us how you envision our University’s future. Next on the horizon is a set of three town hall meetings that will be open to our entire campus community. Two of the meetings will take place in person and one will be offered virtually.

    Town hall dates and times are:

    • Friday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m. at 1920 Sangren Hall
    • Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. via Webex
    • Friday, Dec. 3, at 9:30 a.m. in room 208-210 Bernhard Center

    Each town hall session will have the same format and content, so you only need to attend one of the three meetings. During each session, we’ll share the timeline and structure of the Strategic Planning process, and we’ll give those in attendance the chance to take part in thought-provoking activities focused on our shared mission, vision and values. Please register for one of the sessions.

    I look forward to engaging with everyone as we take the next step toward our future together. And while these town hall meetings might be the next events in our process, you don’t have to wait to share your ideas or suggestions! Our Strategic Planning website has a set of one-question surveys, a suggestion box and virtual graffiti walls where you can add your thoughts whenever inspiration strikes. I hope you will take time to make use of them and encourage your fellow campus community members to do so, too.

    Thank you again for your early and sincere participation in helping us map a course for the University’s future. What we’re doing now will set the stage for years of success, but we can’t do it without you!

    With gratitude for your continuing commitment to Western,

    Jennifer Bott, Ph.D.
    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Strategic planning-Sept. 28, 2021

    Hello colleagues,

    I’m delighted to write to you today with an invitation to take part in an important initiative focused on shaping Western’s future. We are at the outset of a new strategic planning process that will kick off on Tuesday, Sept. 28, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Sangren Plaza, and all members of our University community are invited to take part. This event will include refreshments and activities designed to encourage you to think about our University and how we can work together to develop a shared vision for its ongoing success.

    The kickoff is just the start of a process that will continue through this academic year, and it will be one of a number of activities being planned to gather community input. Additionally, you are invited to share your thoughts and ideas, or nominate someone to join one of seven working groups that will be formed to provide direction for key elements of the plan:

    • Well-being
    • Diversity, equity and inclusion
    • Sustainability
    • Academic excellence
    • Research and innovation
    • Internationalization
    • Community building

    Strategic planning is an important activity for our institution. It allows us to come together to develop a shared vision for Western’s future; a vision that demonstrates continuous improvement and campuswide collaboration. The best plans are achievable and inspirational; broad enough for aligned, unit-level planning; motivational and incentivizing to campus; as well as communicative to external agents. From the start, all of our efforts will be undergirded by a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as well as scholarship and student success.

    I hope to see you at Sangren Plaza on Tuesday, Sept. 28, or in another strategic planning activity in the future. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with your questions, and look for a strategic planning website that we’ll soon launch with more information.

    With gratitude for your continuing commitment to Western,

    Jennifer Bott, Ph.D.
    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs