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 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
- 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
- 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.