Support for Think Big

Dear Western Michigan University community,

Town halls, design teams and workshops have been the visible part of Think Big.  We sought every form of feedback and critique we could make available to us. We appreciate the incredibly bright minds who have guided us through the first four phases. We are honored to be the facilitators of this process.

In these early days transitioning from Phase 4 to Phase 5 implementation, the WMU community can rest assured that no effort has been spared to refine the strategy. We are absolutely committed to getting this right, which involves continual refinement of our ideas and approach. This is the key to a truly shared and transformational vision.

A less visible, but important part of the refinement of these ideas has been the input from the University’s leadership and industry experts. President Montgomery has been engaged in shaping our thinking at every step. He kicked off each of the Phase 1 and Phase 4 town halls. And, most helpfully, he provided thoughtful guidance, asked hard questions, and kept our aim high throughout the process.

Similarly, the Board of Trustees has received briefings and provided support at crucial moments throughout the process and is enthusiastically supportive. The President’s Cabinet and Provost’s Council members have offered input at every step along the way. In fact, the two bodies met every week for two months in the summer of 2019 to share ideas in the crucial and challenging Phase 4.

Members of the Western Michigan University Foundation and Alumni Association boards have also been briefed; they gave beneficial advice and eagerly support our direction.

The Think Big team is grateful for the efforts made by leadership of both the Faculty Senate and Western AAUP to encourage faculty participation in the process.

In addition, the Think Big team has also sought the feedback of expert alumni who work for the world’s biggest brands (e.g. Kellogg, Mazda, Nissan, Stryker). The team has also vetted the ideas with some of the nation’s best higher education marketing and branding experts both in universities (non-competitors) and agencies. The feedback has been consistent: “The strategy is differentiating, you are on the right track, it needs to be simplified. Also, ‘Those who are masters of their fate and captains of their soul change the world’ is poetic, but it is too dark and needs to be simplified.”

The Think Big team appreciates everyone in the campus community that has played a role in getting us where we are today. It is because of this communitywide effort that we are ready to take the next steps.

With deep appreciation,

Jennifer Bott

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Tony Proudfoot

Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communications

Diane Anderson

Vice President for Student Affairs

Published on Feb. 8, 2020.