UW Trustees Approve 2017

students walking on campus
The University of Wyoming’s new strategic plan calls for enrollment to grow from 12,366 at present to 13,500 in 2022. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming aims to advance academic quality, enrollment, statewide engagement and economic contributions over the next five years, according to a strategic plan approved today (Friday) by the UW Board of Trustees.

The board voted unanimously in favor of “Breaking Through 2017-2022: A Strategic Plan for the University of Wyoming” during the trustees’ meeting in Rock Springs. The document was crafted during a nine-month process involving statewide and campus meetings, public input and multiple revisions.

Specifically, the draft plan targets increasing student recruitment, retention and graduation; degree programs offered through distance technologies; collaborations with community colleges and K-12 schools; research funding; and private contributions to the university, among other measures.

“We are excited to move forward with this plan to take the university to new levels of excellence in its land-grant mission of educational opportunity, research and service,” UW President Laurie Nichols says. “Drawing upon the state’s history of overcoming barriers to provide educational access, excellence and relevance, this plan sets the stage for further breakthroughs for the benefit of our state, the nation and the world.”

The broad goals and objectives of the draft plan are to:

-- Enrich an intellectual community already renowned for its regional, national and global relevance and impact by fostering and rewarding excellence in teaching, scholarship, innovation and creative endeavor.

-- Inspire students to pursue a productive, engaged and fulfilling life, and prepare them to succeed in a sustainable global economy.

-- Improve and enhance the health and well-being of communities and environments through outreach programs and in collaboration with constituents and partners.

-- Assure the long-term strength and stability of the university by preserving, caring for and developing human, intellectual, financial, structural and marketing resources.

Each goal and objective includes a set of measurable performance indicators. For example, the plan calls for:

-- UW’s overall enrollment to grow from 12,366 at present to 13,500 in 2022.

-- The freshman-to-sophomore retention rate to rise from 76 percent to 80 percent.

-- The six-year graduation rate to go from 54.4 percent to 60 percent.

-- Annual research funding to rise from $95.3 million to $115 million.

-- The number of endowed faculty positions to grow from 36 to 60.

“These are ambitious goals for the university that will require significant focus, hard work and collaboration among everyone at the university and our many constituents and supporters,” says Provost Kate Miller, who chaired the Strategic Planning Leadership Council that led the planning process. “Many efforts to achieve these goals are already underway, and others will take shape as individual units build their strategic plans under the framework of the university’s overall plan.”

In the area of academic excellence, the plan calls for building national reputation and stature through strategic initiatives, including establishing a center for integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; and enriching student opportunities in research, internships, international experiences, leadership and community service.

To improve student support and success, the plan sets the stage for developing a professional advising program with services centralized in colleges; building new living and learning communities; and expanding career placement services.

In the area of statewide connections, the plan calls for improving relationships with Wyoming and regional high schools through visits and pre-college summer and academic programs on campus; establishing dual-enrollment and other transfer processes with the state’s community colleges; growing the number of distance students enrolled in hybrid and fully online degree programs; taking educational and cultural opportunities around the state; and establishing an Office of Engagement and Outreach.

Regarding economic development, the plan calls for expanding the capacity of UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development; promoting academic programs that address workforce needs of the state and region; and establishing a center for entrepreneurship and infusing innovation throughout the curriculum.

In the area of finances and operations, the plan calls for diversifying UW’s revenue streams; launching a major capital campaign; finding further efficiencies while maintaining services; and analyzing UW’s tuition and fee structure.

The plan also calls for developing and promoting “competitive athletic teams that conjure enthusiasm and pride for UW,” with a goal of increasing annual attendance at intercollegiate athletics events from 275,372 in the past year to 310,000 in 2022.

The strategic plan goes into effect immediately, triggering development of strategic plans for UW’s individual units this summer and fall.

The full strategic plan may be read online at www.uwyo.edu/strategic-plan.



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