Westminster Spotlight: Strategic Plan
Plans for the Future
Your Questions Answered by Dr. Brian Levin-Stankevich
by Lexie Banks (’13)
How does this strategic planning process compare to that of prior plans?
Our new strategic plan was built upon the prior plan, but we now face an even more demanding educational and economic climate. We must innovate curriculum, foster student development, and ensure affordability.
I am very proud of and grateful for the work the Westminster community put into the plan. A hallmark is the inclusivity, approval, and bottom-up approach to implementation. Formulated and owned by our entire campus community, the plan will be implemented with the same inclusivity and transparency.
How will the campus community be involved?
Each constituency has chosen planning council members who will hold me accountable. Members serve terms, so there will be opportunities for new members in the future. Representatives discuss the plan with and gather feedback from their groups, but ultimately make recommendations to me that serve the college as a whole.
What do we do well, and what can we improve upon?
The mission and values of Westminster are constant—at the core of who we are. Westminster is a community of learners that encourages students to challenge themselves, experiment with ideas, and make informed decisions. We aim to empower students to accept responsibility for their learning. And we will continue the leading-edge innovation in new teaching and learning modes for which Westminster has become known, like project-based learning, guided inquiry, and competency-based assessment.
We will be more deliberate about aligning programs and initiatives toward student success. When we asked alumni, we found that learning and mentoring relationships were at the core of their experience, whether our graduates came from 1963 or 2013. Focusing our efforts toward the three strategic goals—building a community of learners, innovating to support student success, and assuring affordability and sustainability—will better allow Westminster to accomplish its vision of enabling vibrant, just, and successful lives for our graduates and our entire community.
What are some key successes to come from this process?
This truly student-centered plan focuses on the outcomes of a Westminster education.
Today’s generation of students is increasingly focused on new measures of quality,
such as graduation rates, retention, timely completion, loan indebtedness, and post-graduation
The intense dialogue of our planning process awakened us to the need to attend to our own community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. We are building a model organizational culture that is both innovative and attractive—one that will be an example for other organizations as well.
What are the long-term implications of this plan?
This plan’s focus is on student recruitment, retention, and graduation. We will need to be a larger institution. Our residential, campus-based undergraduate program will be increasingly selective and diverse. We will grow less-traditional enrollment through programs that offer alternate pathways to students. To do this, we will need to be an affordable option. We will offer options that meet the diverse needs of today’s higher education marketplace, focusing on quality and the relationship-based way we teach and learn. Finally, we will be uniquely recognized for our connectedness to communities.
The increased use of experiential learning has led to our intense interaction with local communities. We will become the new model for community/college collaboration that results in high-impact learning, while helping build strong communities. We will produce graduates who care about their community and know how to make it better.
What immediate changes can we expect to see?
We will provide strategic planning grants for “quick-wins,” ideas that can be implemented within an academic year, creating immediate change on campus and becoming the foundation for continuous improvement. The next few years will be very exciting as we move forward using the many concrete ways our community has identified to propel our strategic plan.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.