Deliver high-quality academic programs (undergraduate, graduate, and professional)
designed to fulfill the educational needs of the State and region, and promote regional,
economic and community development.
Initiative 1.1.1: Undertake a rigorous and inclusive process to prioritize all academic
programs in alignment with the university mission based on the following criteria:
Program History and Development, and Expectations of the Program; External Demand
for the Program; Internal Demand for the Program; Quality of Program Inputs and Processes;
Quality of Program Outcomes; Equipment, Facilities, and Other Resources; Size, Scope,
and Productivity of the Program; Revenue and Other Resources Generated by the Program;
Costs and Other Expenses Associated with the Program; and Impact, Justification, and
Overall Essentiality of the Program.
Initiative 1.1.2: Develop visionary academic strategic plans through an inclusive
1) Position and market WCU as the cultural heart of Western North Carolina in the
2) Fulfill WCU’s historic and continuing commitment to be the regional leader in
3) Assume regional leadership in the study of the environment and environmental policy.
4) Position WCU as the premier regional provider of baccalaureate and graduate education
in the health professions with an emphasis on culturally sensitive, integrative, and
intergenerational health care.
5) Establish WCU as a hub of innovation, facilitating interdisciplinary connections
among academic programs in such disciplines as business, the sciences, engineering,
technology, and entrepreneurship and external collaboration with industry, start-up
companies, research institutes, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.
6) Advance the recreation and tourism industries of Western North Carolina.
Fully integrate into the liberal studies program and into each major and minor at
both undergraduate and graduate levels an emphasis on those core abilities expected
of all WCU students: integrate information from a variety of contexts; solve complex
problems; communicate effectively and responsibly; practice civic engagement; and
clarify and act on purpose and values.
Initiative 1.2.1: Create and implement a new assessment plan for the revised Liberal
Studies student learning outcomes.
Embed and support realization of WCU's areas of distinction: A. Cultural and environmental
immersion; B. Service and outreach; and C. Experience-based learning.
Initiative 1.3.1: Expand opportunities to engage students directly with the natural
landscape and cultural heritage of the campus community and the Southern Appalachian
Initiative 1.3.2: Increase availability and participation in service opportunities
and community partnerships.
Initiative 1.3.3: Increase participation in high impact practices such as student
research, project-based learning in upper-level courses, and on- and off-campus internships.
Enhance programs that include cross-curricular, applied, and international/global
awareness opportunities for all students.
Initiative 1.4.1: Reduce, and where possible eliminate, bureaucratic and financial
barriers to cross-curricular design, team-teaching, and international/global curricula.
Initiative 1.4.2: Expand international experiences to enhance a wider cultural/global
understanding for all WCU students and enhance integration of international components
into existing and new curricula.
Initiative 1.4.3 Provide international professional development opportunities to faculty.
Eliminate barriers to student access through coordinated endeavors with Birth-12 (B-12)
and community college partners.
Initiative 1.5.1: Expand networks of regional advisory committees to enhance communication
and collaboration among B‐12, community college, and WCU in the areas of 1) curriculum
goals and transferability; 2) the benefits of higher education and the best strategies
for marketing and recruiting; and 3) admissions and financial aid.
Initiative 1.5.2: Expand opportunities for WCU staff, faculty, and students to communicate
with B‐12 and community college students regarding the importance and value of higher
education; the affordable avenues for individuals to access and benefit from higher
education; and the processes and programs at WCU.
Make WCU (the Cullowhee campus and the Biltmore Park Instructional Site) a destination
for short-term, educationally based programs, activities, and events, including summer
session, continuing education, camps, conferences, and personal enrichment opportunities.
Initiative 1.6.1: Expand the number of resident and distance summer session offerings
for a wide variety of learners, including college level, B-12 students, and life-long
learners; expand summer school enrollment by 25 percent by 2020.
Initiative 1.6.2: Assess the campus climate on expansion of camps and conferences
including identifying types of appropriate programs.
Initiative 1.6.3: Develop and implement a coordinated marketing plan to promote WCU's
Cullowhee campus and its programs in Asheville at Biltmore Park as conference destinations.
Refine WCU's student enrollment strategy to ensure continuing balance of access, diversity
and student success, mission and sustainable revenue sources.
Initiative 1.7.1: Establish headcount targets consistent with institutional priorities.
Initiative 1.7.2: Refine and adapt the strategic enrollment plan to meet student enrollment
targets including a focus on academic rigor.
Initiative 1.7.3: Increase and track student diversity, ensuring that support services
are in place to enroll and meet the needs of a diverse student body that reflects
state, national, and international demographic trends.
Initiative 1.7.4: Develop and implement rigorous tracking at the individual level
using GradesFirst to clearly determine non-completed and reason-for-exit for each
Initiative 1.7.5: Develop innovative data-driven methods of monitoring and enhancing
student success at the individual level.