The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider a strategic plan — a guiding document that spells out the university’s policies and priorities for the next five years — during its meeting Friday in Rock Springs.
UW does not currently have a strategic plan and has not had one since its last — University Plan III — expired in 2014.
The university absolutely needs a document like this, said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Kate Miller, who worked with President Laurie Nichols and UW’s Strategic Planning Leadership Council to develop the plan.
“A strategic plan is all about saying where we are, who we are and where we want to go as an institution,” Miller said. “And so you can see that laid out in the plan.”
The most up-to-date draft — the one to be considered Friday — includes a preamble outlining UW’s history and also states the university’s vision and mission, which proudly proclaim UW’s role as the Equality State’s sole public university and its role as a land-grant institution.
According to the draft, these roles compel the university to graduate students prepared for an increasingly complex world, cultivate a diverse community of learning and promote personal health and growth in the wider UW community.
“As Wyoming’s only public university, we are committed to scholarship, outreach and service that extend our human talent and technological capacity to serve the people in our communities, our state, the nation and the world,” the draft states.
The plan lists a dozen values — ranging from exploration and discovery to diversity and internationalization — that represent the “beliefs and principles that drive the culture and priorities of the entire University community,” before also listing more specific goals.
The four goals address research and scholarship, student success, the land-grant university mission to improve the state community and the management of human and capital resources.
“For each of the broad goals, there are a number of sub-goals and actions that are proposed,” Miller said. “And then for each of the goals, there are measurement pieces that are in the metrics.”
The metrics — the final component of the strategic plan — take a deep dive into specificity, listing measurable targets for UW to reach by 2022, such as adding eight new academic programs while modifying or eliminating four others.
The metrics also call for boosted enrollment numbers, higher four- and six-year graduation rates, higher attendance at intercollegiate athletic events, more endowed faculty positions and for improved campus sustainability.
The current draft is the result of almost a year of work. Miller, Nichols and the Leadership Council traveled the state throughout autumn, listening to stakeholder concerns. Once they had an initial draft, they hosted four listening sessions, mostly in Laramie, to receive feedback.
The Leadership Council itself consisted of students, faculty, staff, administrators and representatives from the UW Foundation Board, the Alumni Association Board and the Board of Trustees.
The lengthy development process and the varied council seats were necessary to craft the best possible plan, Miller said.
“To reach out to such a broad group of people with often differing interests — it’s really important to take that time, and especially (when) we haven’t had a strategic plan here at the University of Wyoming in a long time,” she said. “So, it’s important for everyone (that) as many people as possible have a voice, because this is going to be what we use to move forward.”
During the board’s July meeting — which started Tuesday and finishes Friday — the board will also meet with state legislators and Wyoming’s community college presidents, in addition to hearing updates on the newly established Honors College and ongoing administrative searches.
The board, in Rock Springs this week, meets outside Laramie once a year.