Members of Wayne State’s administration met Monday to discuss the development of the 2022-27 Strategic Plan, which aims to guide the university’s future initiatives and build on the progress made during the previous 2016-21 plan.
The 2022-27 Strategic Plan Steering Committee will be co-chaired by Interim Provost Laurie Lauzon Clabo, incoming Provost Mark Kornbluh, Vice President for Research Stephen Lanier, and Vice President of Marketing and Communications and Chief of Staff Michael Wright, according to WSU.
Board of Governors Chair Marilyn Kelly is representing the BOG on the committee.
“A key responsibility of the Board of Governors is to determine the strategic direction of the university,” Kelly said. “And since our current strategic plan is expiring, (BOG) convened in early March to discuss how to go about developing a new plan.”
The BOG came up with a list of strategic focuses for the steering committee to elaborate on in the new 2022-27 plan, Kelly said. This includes student success, completion and retention, better enrollment numbers, diversity, equity and inclusion, research, community engagement and more.
The 2022-27 strategic plan will take into consideration students’ needs after the COVID-19 pandemic, President M. Roy Wilson said. It will also ensure the university is ready for any future pandemics by offering different forms of education to students.
“I'm pretty sure that the post-pandemic university is not going to be the same as pre-pandemic,” Wilson said. “Out of any fault of our own, we were a bit unprepared for the devastation of the pandemic. We need to make sure that we're better prepared next time… These viruses have periodicity to them.”
New policies and procedures will be enforced to promote safety and equip the campus community to work, learn and teach in a virtual environment, according to WSU.
“This past year has been a frustrating one to teach and our faculty were heroic in their response to the institutional challenges the pandemic forced upon us,” Kelly said. “The new strategic plan needs to provide innovative models of training for new or different audiences, as well as encourage benefiting from techniques learned.”
The Office of Multicultural Student Engagement was created during the 2016-2021 strategic plan, Wilson said.
“In matters of diversity, equity and inclusion, we have advanced, but we're not satisfied,” Kelly said. “The recently completed Social Justice Action Committee report, which the president shared with us, provides superb input for the new plan.”
One of the main 2016-21 strategic plan goals was to increase graduation rates by 50%, Wilson said.
“We’re at about 52% now,” he said. “We also tripled our Black graduation rate, which was also very important.
Objectives WSU did not accomplish in the 2016-21 plan will roll over into the next strategic plan, Wilson said. This includes the overall enrollment goal of 30,000 students, an aggressive goal that was difficult to meet due to a decrease in graduate and international students during the fall 2020 semester.
“We must continue to make progress on closing the graduation gap between Black students and white students… The gap is still very wide and it's just not acceptable, but we're improving," Wilson said. “The next big plan is going to have to really set some very realistic but aggressive goals in terms of how we're going to make progress on reducing and ultimately eliminating that graduation gap.”
The university also strengthened its reputation within the community through new outreach, communication and financial programs like the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge and Warrior Way Back –both of which gained national attention and have been copied by other universities, Wilson said.
The full 2022-27 strategic plan steering committee consists of 20 members who represent a diverse group of students, faculty and administrators in key positions, Clabo said.
“The first phase of the planning process is really setting our foundation by gathering and analyzing input from a variety of sources,” Clabo said. “We have a lot of information already to start with, including input from the board, the Social Justice Action Committee report and more.”
The committee will also receive help from MGT Consulting Group, a company with expertise in higher education strategic planning, according to WSU.
The Office of the President sent out a Strategic Plan feedback form on Tuesday for the campus community to contribute to the planning process.
“We anticipate that it will take us throughout this summer and into late fall,” Clabo said. “And we'll be sharing our progress with the Board of Governors, as we proceed. Once we have an approved plan, we will begin to communicate it broadly and deeply throughout the organization.”
Nour Rahal is news editor at The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.