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Editorial

New Strategic Plan revealed

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April 27, 2012

Over the course of the last year, UW-River Falls students, faculty, staff and community members from the St. Croix Valley area have come together to develop the University’s next five-year Strategic Plan, “Pathway to Distinction.” Strategic planning determines where an organization is going over the next year or more, how it’s going to get there and how it’ll know if it got there or not.

The Strategic Plan celebration was held Thursday, April 26 in the Ballroom at the University Center. The event featured displays, activities and a film all highlighting strengths UWRF possesses in areas related to the plan’s three goals: distinctive academic excellence, global education and engagement, and innovation and partnerships.

According to UWRF’s 2011 Strategic Plan update, the previous 2007-2012 Strategic Plan “Living the Promise” was a comprehensive and broadly supported strategic plan that aimed at enhancing our culture of learning as well as developing an infrastructure capable of supporting the University in order to meet every type of challenge. “Living the Promise” guided the University through significant fiscal challenges and a number of changes in leadership and personnel. Having a Strategic Plan has meant that the University could continue to make progress despite external threats and internal changes.

The framework followed in creating “Pathway to Distinction” involved first coming up with a vision statement as well as a mission statement, completing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunity, threats) and an external environmental scan, formulating and implementing the strategy, and later evaluation of the strategy following implementation.

Several initiatives have been proposed as part of “Pathway to Distinction” and were voted on by the Faculty Senate on Feb. 29. One approved initiative involves developing a full-semester education abroad program in Central and South America called the International Travelling Classroom—Central America/South America. Another approved initiative involves the addition of the “Global Scholar Certificate” credential onto every UWRF students DAR, which would hopefully encourage more students to develop internationally. An approved initiative entitled “Sustainability Incubator” aims to place even greater distinction on UWRF as an incubator for sustainability efforts.

These initiatives are available on UWRF’s Strategic Plan website. For questions or concerns regarding any of the initiatives, email StrategicPlanningGroup@uwrf.edu or submit to the feedback page on the Strategic Plan website.

Successful strategic planning is fundamental to ensuring UWRF’s future. We want to be on the “Pathway to Distinction,” not extinction.