WCU is recognized as an active partner with the Western North Carolina region, its
communities, organizations, and businesses.
Partnerships with regional businesses and industries, nonprofits, civic organizations,
government agencies, communities, and cities are an integral part of WCU’s core mission
as a recognized, regionally engaged university. The University’s emphasis on integrated
learning experiences, its commitment to engaged scholarship, and its embrace of the
institution’s role as both a steward of this unique and special place and a catalyst
for economic and community development all demonstrate and reinforce WCU’s commitment
to enhancing engagement with external partners.
Strengthen relationships and communication between the University and its external
- Initiative 3.1.1: Senior campus leadership will model the institution’s commitment to community outreach
- Initiative 3.1.2: Establish an annual leadership tour of the Western North Carolina region designed
to reinforce WCU’s connection with its external constituents and to update University
leadership consistently about regional and local priorities.
- Initiative 3.1.3: Establish the appropriate leadership and organizational structure at WCU to support,
coordinate, and facilitate external partnerships and collaborations.
- Initiative 3.1.4: Create an institutional council with representatives from each division and college
to enhance internal communication about external partnerships and engagement, including the sponsorship
of an annual inventory of such activities.
- Initiative 3.1.5: Develop and implement a communications plan that informs Western Carolina University’s external community about University resources (inventoried annually), such as programs, services,
facilities, and faculty/staff expertise that are available to the public. (See Initiative 6.2.1)
Position the University as a key leader in regional economic and community development
- Initiative 3.2.1: Facilitate an annual conference for regional government, nonprofit, community, education,
and business leaders to focus attention and action on regional strategies for economic
and community development.
- Initiative 3.2.2: Develop the West Campus, with its Millennial Initiative designation, as a national
model for building, in a rural context, public-private partnerships that are integrated
into the academic enterprise and which support community and economic development.
- Initiative 3.2.3: Develop the programs at Biltmore Park to position WCU as a key provider of graduate
and professional programs in the greater Asheville-Hendersonville area along the I-26
- Initiative 3.2.4: Work with external partners to facilitate economic and community development in Cullowhee
and Jackson County, which form the University’s backyard, and participate in the formation
of formalized community leadership for Cullowhee that can serve as the voice of the
community as it anticipates growth and development. (See Initiative 4.3.2)
- Initiative 3.2.5: Seek out and implement internal synergies among outreach efforts and potential partnerships
that are focused on economic and community development and consistent with the curricular
focus areas identified by the 2020 Commission.
- Initiative 3.2.6: Facilitate collaborative research and development efforts between WCU and external
Align internal processes and reward systems to foster external engagement.
- Initiative 3.3.1: Develop models and strategies to formally recognize and reward faculty and staff participation
in educationally-based external engagement.
- Initiative 3.3.2: Ensure that all division and departmental personnel processes, including those related
to annual faculty evaluation, tenure, promotion, and review, provide faculty and staff
the formal opportunity to detail and describe educationally-based external engagement
- Initiative 3.3.3: Promote the University’s support of staff-initiated community service.