Strategic Direction #4 – Invest in Our People

WCU is recognized as one of the most highly competitive and desirable employers in the region.

Excellent faculty and staff are prerequisites for the fulfillment of Western Carolina University’s mission. Western Carolina University must therefore advocate for competitive compensation for its employees and facilitate professional development; leadership development, succession, and stability; and, as appropriate, support for issues related to quality of life, all of which will enhance the recruitment, development, and retention of qualified and satisfied faculty and staff.

Make salary and total compensation packages an institutional priority in order to attract, reward, and retain the highest quality employees.

  • Initiative 4.1.1: Advocate for the financial resources necessary to offer competitive salaries and compensation packages.
  • Initiative 4.1.2: Develop a regular and recurring process for employee salary review.
  • Initiative 4.1.3: Develop and implement strategies for retaining high-performing employees with competitive salary adjustments and compensation packages within existing policies.
  • Initiative 4.1.4: Develop and implement a program of competitive summer grants to support innovative faculty pursuits within the context of Western Carolina’s mission and values.
  • Initiative 4.1.5: Advocate with other UNC system institutions for a competitive and attractive health benefits plan that is cost-effective for employees and their families.

Ensure professional development opportunities for all employees.

  • Initiative 4.2.1: Make support for professional development for all employees a fiscal priority at WCU.
  • Initiative 4.2.2: Include in each supervisor’s performance evaluation an assessment of his/her support for and his/her unit’s progress in professional development.
  • Initiative 4.2.3: Ensure appropriate orientation and annual refresher updates for all staff and faculty, as appropriate.
  • Initiative 4.2.4: Ensure that all faculty and staff understand performance evaluation processes and criteria.
  • Initiative 4.2.5: Establish a campus leadership academy to cultivate faculty and staff leaders.

Work to develop a work-life environment for Western Carolina University employees that enhances their personal and professional lives.

  • Initiative 4.3.1: Develop a network within the University and with regional businesses and institutions to enhance employment opportunities for spousal and partner hiring.
  • Initiative 4.3.2: Partner with appropriate civic leaders in the development and revitalization of Cullowhee and Jackson County, with specific emphasis on developing a community core around the campus aimed at improving the quality of life for faculty, staff, students, and the community. (See Initiative 3.2.4)
  • Initiative 4.3.3: Accommodate flexible work arrangements for staff, where appropriate and possible.
  • Initiative 4.3.4: Facilitate a network of opportunities, where possible, for affordable child care, health care, and housing options for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Initiative 4.3.5: Increase diversity among faculty and staff.

Adequately support for scholarship and creative activities in support of Western Carolina University’s mission as a regional comprehensive university.

  • Initiative 4.4.1: Establish an organizational structure to accommodate the research, Graduate School, and Millennial Initiative ambitions of the University.
  • Initiative 4.4.2: Ensure appropriate institutional infrastructure to support scholarship and research.
  • Initiative 4.4.3: Increase support for scholarship and creative activities, including funding for reassigned time for scholarship, library support, graduate research assistantships, summer research grants, seed funding, start-up support where appropriate, equipment replacement, and travel for conference presentations.

Create an environment in which the primary role of faculty as teacher-scholars is recognized and valued.

  • Initiative 4.5.1: Develop and implement integrated faculty workload expectations and policies that facilitate exemplary teaching, scholarly productivity, and public service in alignment with Western Carolina’s commitment to external engagement.
  • Initiative 4.5.2: Provide department heads and deans flexibility within the parameters of fiscal realities in assigning workload to faculty to accommodate significant contributions for such out-of-classroom responsibilities as advising, undergraduate and graduate research supervision and mentoring, and student career development.
  • Initiative 4.5.3: Eliminate redundant and ineffective service obligations and committees across campus.

Foster an inclusive University community where the contributions of all employees are recognized and valued.

  • Initiative 4.6.1: Establish opportunities that give University staff access to University administration in the governance process.
  • Initiative 4.6.2: Develop a forum that facilitates collaboration among members of the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and the Student Government Association on university wide issues and projects.
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