WCU 2020 Strategic Plan Update

WCU's strategic plan, 2020 Vision: Focusing on our Future, was adopted by the university Board of Trustees in June of 2012. The plan has guided Western Carolina University through a period of tremendous growth and opportunity over the last five years. As we enter the sixth year of the plan, WCU has assigned a cross-divisional committee to oversee a comprehensive update. The update will be presented to the Board of Trustees in March of 2018. 

Western Carolina invites input into the update process from faculty, staff, students, alumni, partners and community members. 

Chancellor's Charge

Chancellor David O. Belcher


Chancellor David O. Belcher issued this charge to the committee tasked with updating WCU's Strategic Plan:

The 2020 Vision strategic plan has guided Western Carolina in dynamic ways to strengthen the institution in many ways. During this period, we have certainly grown, we have matured, our success metrics have improved, we’ve gotten our act together (remember the $4.85M structural deficit?), and we have moved away from reactionary toward proactive approaches, embracing the attitudinal stance of “what we should and can be” rather than that of “why we can’t”. We are a university of ambition within the context of our mission, and our 2020 Vision strategic plan has grounded our progress. I am very proud of that plan and what it has enabled and prompted.

There are 3 primary factors which motivate an updating of our strategic plan now.

First, it’s time for us to review and update our plan. We have accomplished a great deal articulated in the plan, it’s time for us to consider whether the initiatives which we have not begun are as important to us as they were when the plan was endorsed in 2012, and there are many priorities which have emerged in the last few years which need to be incorporated. 

Second, we knew that the SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation process would reveal some opportunities for improvement that we should integrate into our planning, and indeed a focus on consistent assessment across the university must be so integrated. 

Finally, the UNC System strategic plan has clear implications for the work of the individual UNC institutions, and our strategic plan updating must accommodate them. The good news is that, in many ways, the essence of the System plan is quite nicely aligned with our trajectory.

Lead our university in developing a strategic plan for Western Carolina University which:

  • Will be grounded in institution’s mission and budgetary realities, albeit with an eye toward enhancing our fiscal resources.
  • Will reaffirm our commitment to excellence, student success, and external focus and engagement.
  • Will be a shared, comprehensive vision.
  • Aligns with regional and state priorities, state and federal regulations, best practices, and an intensifying demand for accountability.
  • While informed by the individual trees, is more forest-like in nature – this is big-picture stuff.
  • Is ambitious but tethered to reality.
  • Is developed through engagement of and input from the broad range of constituents.
  • Is institutionalized by linking implementation with budgeting and identification of responsible parties who will champion specific priorities.
  • Is strategic, planning from the end goal rather from the starting point.
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