FAIRBORN — The willingness to work together and the freedom to try new things as well as a strong sense of acceptance and community were among the strengths of Wright State voiced in the latest community dialogue session in the university’s strategic planning process.
Nearly 60 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders attended the Feb. 23 session in the new archives space at 2455 Presidential Dr. just across from the Dayton Campus. Many of the participants said they were excited to help shape where the university is going.
“I came out today and participated because I think the future of the university is a fascinating thing to help build,” said Linda Caron, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “I want to be part of the discussion because I want to be part of the future of the university.”
Strengths of the university coming out of the discussions included the teamwork it took to create and develop the highly successful ArtsGala and the collaboration among hundreds of people to make Move-In Day a success. Other strengths included risk-taking, creativity, innovation, mentorship and opportunities.
“It was fun to be part of the process, to hear different people’s point of view, to hear different people’s experiences and to find that our perception of the university all coalesced around some very common themes,” said Caron. “Our experiences were all very, very positive and our investment in the university was very, very strong.”
However, there were also suggestions for improvements such as a better strategy to recruit students, being more forward-looking and coming up with measurable objectives and the means to reach them. In addition, there was a call for greater financial responsibility as well as stronger workforce engagement and degrees- to- jobs focus.
Michael Davis, economic development director for Moraine, feels that Wright State can play a larger role in the community in meeting workforce demands.
“I think there needs to be a bigger emphasis on understanding what the region needs from an employment perspective,” he said.
The community dialogue session will help refine the university’s vision, mission and values statements as part of the ongoing strategic planning process, The Wright Path to 2025: Pride, Transformation, Potential.
The strategic planning process is intended to start an ongoing dialogue among the campus community that encourages continuous reflection and revision of the community’s hopes and priorities. The conversations are a chance for community members to engage with others across the university in meaningful ways.
Carol Loranger, chair of the Department of English, said the session left her with a feeling of optimism.
“I feel like they must have felt 50 years ago when they sat down to invent the university,” she said. “Maybe we can do the same.”
The strategic plan will guide Wright State by creating a vision and focus that directly aligns resources with the community’s values, strengths, and the strategy built around them. The planning process will be continuous and will put Wright State in a position to thrive in higher education’s changing environment, help the university achieve financial sustainability, and foster a campus atmosphere that provides graduates with opportunities to excel in fields that define the future.
Burhan Kawosa, senior lecturer in the Department of Finance and Financial Services, said the session was a reminder that people are proud to be a part of Wright State and are all here to unleash the potential of the students.
“This is an institution that is loved by the people who work here — be it faculty, be it staff or be it the students who are here,” Kawosa said. “I think there is a great sense of pride for the people associated with this university.”
The Strategic Planning Steering Committee is guiding the university’s efforts to include a wide range of perspectives from the Wright State family and the broader community. The committee includes 33 Wright State employees, students and alumni as well as community leaders. It is co-chaired by Wright State President Cheryl B. Schrader, David Bright, chair of the Department of Management and International Business, and Michael Wiehe, director of the Applied Policy Research Institute.
The first phase of the planning process is focused on gathering community input to develop an updated vision, mission and values statement for Wright State. The statement should reflect a compelling perspective about the core identity of Wright State and its future.
“I am optimistic about the future of the university,” said Caron. “I think it will be different but build on our very considerable strengths.”
In April, the committee will host an event to unveil the updated vision, mission and values statement and a draft strategy statement.
From May through September, the committee will use what it learns from its outreach efforts in the spring semester to further develop strategy statements, priorities and goals, as well as metrics to measure the effectiveness of the strategies.
The goal is to deliver a strategic plan to the Board of Trustees by October 2018 for its approval.
“This is going to help us moving forward,” Schrader told the gathering. “It’s going to help us leverage the strength that we have.”
To stay up to date with the planning process, visit wright.edu/strategicplan.
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