The Strategy

Student gazing in the distance with the words "We believe college is a place to go; Western is a place to become."

Core concepts

We will aim to be the most responsive university in the country. Our promise will be built on three core concepts:

  • Purpose
  • Well-being
  • Career

The Big Idea: College is a place to go; Western is a place to become.

What will set us apart is being more than just a place go. Western is a place to become. We take a holistic approach to a college education. Any college will help you get a job—we’ll help you start a great life and begin your career.

Our promise: We help students grow stronger, better themselves and become empowered. Graduates are determined to overcome inevitable challenges and make a difference at work, at home and in the world.


Why this idea?

We serve a generation that is experiencing a mental health crisis, that craves optimism, demands belonging and pursues well-being. The public needs a new reason to trust us.

Our students want to take hold of their lives in a world they see as out of control. They’re seeking a clear path for how they can find a job they love, make a difference and make a broken world better.

What we offer

  • Students’ mental, physical, and academic well-being are our top priorities.
  • Students have the opportunity every year to have an applied experience that they can add to their resume.
  • We pursue unparalleled flexibility for students to discover and align their purpose with their career goals.

What you get

  • Graduates have the resilience to overcome challenges.
  • Graduates are sought after by employers because they are prepared to contribute. They apply deep knowledge from their major to problems in practical settings.
  • Graduates earn a degree that is aligned with both their personal purpose and career goals.

Download the Phase 4 Think Big Outcomes

We're Offering a new higher education experience

We will respond to a world that requires adaptation in general and demands change in American higher education specifically. This means making it easier to change majors when students’ interests evolve; blurring the lines between college and work with new micro-experiences, capstones, and internships; and focusing our talents and expertise on practical problem solving in communities, across the state, and around the world. We will become the most responsive university in the country.

The Big Picture: The Student Journey. Assess. Guide and Decide. Try and Do. Review, Reflect, Repeat. A Well-being mindset.

WMU doesn’t lock you into an inflexible path. For us, the student experience is a journey of exploration, with guidance and support, hands-on learning, and the opportunity to use what you learn about yourself to reimagine a new future that is professionally and personally rewarding.

The Think Big process has been an unrivaled year-long experience for the entire Western Michigan University community.

Download the Think Big End of Phase 4 Presentation