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Strategic Plan aims for student input

October 7, 2011

The strategic plan for UW-River Falls strives to look at where the campus is going in the future, based on where it has been in the past. Officials want student involvement in the process. UWRF is “Developing an ambitious, forward-thinking strategic plan that will build on its strengths and past strategic planning efforts.”

The strategic plan for UWRF is a 3-step plan. The first step is the planning phase, which included administering a survey to gather input from UWRF faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends that will help shape the University’s strategic plan. The survey was administered May 4 through June 6, 2011. Out of 7,587 emails that were sent out, 543 unique respondents started the survey and 292 completed and submitted the survey, equating to a 3.8 percent response rate.

The next step is the development stage where the University strives to develop our mission vision/values, a draft defining strategy and goals get developed by taskforce people.

The final step is to develop the strategic plan. A representative from Faculty Senate is assigned to draft the goals.

“There are many ways that students can participate,” said Glenn Potts, dean of the College of Business and Economics. “Students can participate through Student Senate if they are having a reaction to what is being proposed, or they can submit suggestions online through our website.”

“A lot of students don’t step forward and participate because they have the attitude that what is happening is not going to affect them,” said Potts, “Because they will be out of school by the time any changes take effect, but it is still important for future students. We have a responsibility not only to our school, but to the community as well,” said Potts.

“In 2006-07 the University went through a strategic planning process that was very inclusive,” said Wes Chapin, political science professor and Faculty Senate chair. The entire campus community had many opportunities for input, engagement, and feedback. The current effort is designed to accomplish several things. “We want to assess whether we should revise or replace parts of our existing strategic plan, and we are also providing many opportunities for students, staff, and faculty, as well as community members and other interested parties, such as alumni, to participate,” said Chapin. There are also organized surveys, multiple forums for colleges, units, and community members, and there have already been Town Hall meetings open to the entire campus and the broader community.

President of UWRF Student Senate, Tyler Halverson, participated in the open town hall meeting. “The meeting brought in many members of the campus community from different departments or divisions together,” said Halverson, “I was the only student representative at this meeting, so I felt that the group as a whole really valued what I had to say, and it was a tremendous responsibility to speak for the students of River Falls. I feel the process is going well.” Halverson also stated, “In the future, it looks like students will have more opportunities to have input.”

“We are still in the early stages of the process and anticipate multiple opportunities for additional students, staff, faculty, and others to be engaged as we work on our mission, vision, and values statements, draft or revise strategic planning goals, and draft initiatives for the goals, among other things,” said Chapin. The website is a great resource for anyone who has any questions about the strategic plan, and has information about meetings, timelines, and who is working on the plan.