University of Wyoming Strategic Plan moves forward
Laramie – On March 31, the University of Wyoming (UW) released their draft strategic plan, which they say, “calls for advancements in academic quality, enrollment, statewide engagement, diversity and economic development over the next five years.”
“Specifically, the draft plan aims to increase student recruitment, retention and graduation; degree programs offered online and at UW’s regional centers; collaborations with community colleges and K-12 schools; research funding; startup companies; and private contributions to the university, among other measures,” comments UW in a press release that accompanies the plan.
The plan was laid out by the university’s Strategic Planning Leadership Council, a 24-member board that held an extensive series of public meetings around the state and on campus.
UW Provost Kate Miller, who chairs the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, says the group welcomes input from all of UW’s constituents.
“This draft is still rough in some respects, but it represents the council’s best efforts to set a course by which the university fulfills its flagship and land-grant mission through the free and open pursuit of knowledge in engagement with Wyoming and the world,” Miller says. “Our vision is to bring Wyoming and western intelligence, energy, grit and innovation to the economic, social and environmental challenges of today and to create a thriving, equitable and sustainable world for tomorrow.”
Within the university-wide plan, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey says it’s important for Wyomingites to comment on the plan.
“Reading through the draft, it’s sufficiently rough at this point,” he comments, “and I think there’s plenty of time to comment on it. It’s an 80,000-foot plan, and it’s pretty general, which is good, I think.”
In broad strokes, UW explains that the broad goals and objectives of the plan are to “foster and reward excellence in teaching, scholarship, innovation and creative endeavor to enhance an intellectual community renowned for its regional, national and global relevance and impact; inspire students to pursue a productive, engaged and fulfilling life and prepare them to succeed in a sustainable global economy; in collaboration with constituents and partners, improve and enhance the health and well-being of communities and environments; and assure the long-term strength and stability of the university through a focus on infrastructure, human capital and new revenue sources.”
Under each goal and objective, the plan lays out measureable outcomes.
Inside the plan
Overall, the strategic plan refers to growing research and increasing creative efforts, both of which inspire students to be engaged.
“We’re certainly happy about a plan that inspires students to be engaged,” Galey says. “We’ll also probably put something in our college academic plan that talks about ensuring students get some sort of experience.”
Many students in the College of Agriculture currently receive some hands-on or internship training during their education, and Galey notes that he is supportive of a continued drive to push student experiences.
Currently, the UW Strategic Plan does not say much about Extension, Galey adds, but he believes the general goals of the plan encompass the Extension missions.
“Currently, the plan forms an Office of Engagement that tracks and coordinates our engagement,” Galey explains. “They talk about economic diversification and collaboration with community colleges, mostly related to recruitment and engaging alumni.”
He continues, “One of the things they did talk about is trying to establish recognition by the Carnegie Foundation as an engaged community, with a lot of focus on infrastructure.”
In particular, Galey cites a focus on maintaining and enhancing the physical infrastructure on campus, which is helpful for ag.
“There is also a lot on enhancing workplace climate for the university,” he says, adding that the plan also mentions a capital campaign.
“They are taking comments on that plan now,” Galey says. “Right now, I’m supportive of the plan, but the next draft could have a land mine in it. We’ll have to watch and be engaged in this process.”
Listening sessions on campus are being conducted throughout April. The next listening session will be held April 25 at Casper College’s Strausner Hall from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
UW’s strategic plan will be out for comment until April 27.
After public comment, the plan may be revised to reflect input and then will be presented to UW’s Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and the Associated Students of UW. At that point, it will go before the UW Board of Trustees for final approval and consideration.
“Following Board of Trustees approval, the plan will be implemented at the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year, with college and unit plans finalized in fall 2017,” says UW.
Galey notes that there are likely to be some substantial changes after the listening sessions.
College of Ag plan
With the university-wide draft strategic plan nearly complete, Galey says, “We haven’t completed a strategic plan. We need to draw our plan up to line up with the university-wide plan, which is the process we’re in now.”
A committee from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is currently working to finalize the strategic plan for the college.
“We’ve gotten through a preliminary process, and now we’re looking at what we can do in the college,” Galey explains. “We’re setting goals to recruit new students, research and outreach service-related goals.”
In addition, at this point, the College of Agriculture plan has all units drafted, and the document will be reviewed by the College Advisory Board during their spring meeting.
“We’ll likely have a draft by end of summer or fall,” Galey says. “Once that draft is available, we’ll make sure to distribute it to the ag community.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at email@example.com for comments or questions.