This is a transformative moment for Western Michigan University, and it's time to rethink the limits we’ve put upon ourselves by deciding to defy the impossible.  

As we begin to contemplate the evolving identity of Western Michigan University, developing a new Strategic Plan presents the opportunity for every member of our community to create Western’s future – together.  

We will center ourselves around the mission and values of our institutional identity, guided by our core principle, “so that all may learn,” inspired by the ideals of Rethink Smart, and supported by our three pillars – learner centered, discovery driven, and globally engaged. 

Preparing for the decade ahead will require refusing to let the conventions of the past constrain us and bravely finding ways to break down the structural barriers that stand in the way of “so that all may learn.” The foundation of our future will be built upon an equity-mindedness framework, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion embedded into every aspect of Western’s new Strategic Plan. 

Launching in fall 2021, our data-informed Strategic Planning process will be driven by continuous improvement, using information gathered through institutional efforts such as the Campus Climate and Employee Engagement surveys, the Think Big initiative, and other local and national data sources. By analyzing the data and evaluating our past actions, we can refocus our attention toward opportunities that will help us empower our students to succeed, thrive, and prosper in a life well-lived. 

Western’s new Strategic Plan will cover a span of 10 years – but will be developed in a way that will allow us to deliver on our commitment to continuous improvement. A 3-4-3 structure enables us to respond to changes as they occur in our environment and to evolve our process as milestones are reached.  

Our actions will focus on achievable, metric-based goals revolving around seven key priorities – 

  • Academic Excellence   
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion  
  • Well-being 
  • Sustainability   
  • Research and Innovation   
  • Internationalization  
  • Community Building  

A cross-campus steering committee will lead the way by analyzing data, providing recommendations, and acting as a guide for the seven key priority subcommittees who will collect and compile feedback from all members of our community. These discoveries will enable Western to better understand how to remain learner centered while responding to the ever-changing nature of providing higher education in a globally connected context.  

As we begin to plan for the future of Western Michigan University, we need your help. Students, staff, faculty, alumni, administration, and beyond – developing a shared vision for the next decade depends on the collaboration and participation of every member of our community.  

Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, we’ll be hosting in-person and virtual town hall sessions where our community can come together to contribute to the development of the Strategic Plan through conversation. Join us and make your voice heard!  

You’ll also see graffiti walls designed to spark reflection and generate ideas pop up across campus. In addition, we welcome you to hop into the recording booth in the UCC to share your opinions or leave a message in the suggestion box.  

Charting the course for a thriving future requires a roadmap – and ours is the Strategic Plan. How do you envision the future of Western? We’re listening.