Webster University’s community has embraced a new planning methodology designed to position the university for continued success. The outcome from this methodology is an active strategic plan that has an ongoing five-year strategic horizon within a ten-year visionary outlook ending in 2020. The President and the Vice President for Finance and Administration provided leadership in advancing the current working plan which connects resource allocations to planning priorities and evaluates outcomes based on predetermined metrics. The structure of the strategic planning methodology utilizes a planning hierarchy whereby all levels of planning align with our mission, vision goals and objectives. From that, annual institutional planning creates and updates strategies and assesses performance results through established metrics in an active manner. Therefore, definitive terminology within this new process is defined below as:
Mission tops the planning pyramid as a declaration of the general principles associated with those core values from which the university shall function as an organization. It is a declaration of the general principles based upon those core values from which the University shall function as an organization.
Vision or visioning is the next phase of the planning process, typically done over a five-to-ten year horizon, which provides something imaginary to strive for as part of the university’s future. Visioning distinguishes itself from strategic planning as being “strategic thinking”. Strategic thinking or visioning is usually tied very closely to competitive goals and objectives which support the vision. It creates possibilities linked to envisioned outcomes which offer distinctiveness of product or services in the marketplace.
Goals are those outcomes and results necessary to achieve success in support of the Vision.
Objectives are multiple statements which describe the manner in which the outcomes or results will be achieved over a specific period of time in support of the goal.
Strategies are plans of action designed with measurable outcomes that achieve the particular Objective within a time horizon as part of an annualized institutional plan, (i.e. New Academic Initiatives, Space Plans or Information Technology Plans)
Metrics are measurements that quantify results so that University Strategies (action plans) can be analyzed and assessed in an unbiased manner.
Therefore, within the university’s planning methodology, the following processes will remain active and will serve as tools of the planning process:
Strategic planning is a disciplined process by which an organization seeks to craft a desired future for itself (Vision Statement) through a set of informed decisions and actions. The process requires that each functional area of the University understand the vision and commence to examine the external environment, internal capabilities, strengths/weaknesses and opportunities that are strategic in nature. It is within that context that the university’s strategic plan focuses on issues identification and resolution and considers a range of possible futures through a set of informed decisions. Within the Webster University Strategic Plan, six primary goals have been developed for the university. From each one of the established goals, the strategic plan also derived a series of objectives necessary to meet the goal. These goal and objectives will remain constant over the initial five year planning horizon.
Institutional Planning is the next subset to our strategic plan. An Institutional Plan assembles this critical information and creates milestones over a specified horizon (typically a one-to-three year period) of time and within the context of the university’s strategic priorities and financial capabilities. It is the basis whereby the Goals and Objectives identified in the strategic plan are developed into implementation “strategies” and “measures of contribution” as recognized by each planning unit within the institution.
Resource Planning and Budgeting is an outgrowth of the Institutional Plan. The university’s resource planning will be responsible for quantifying each responsibility center as well as those objectives and outcome requiring resources within a five-year time horizon incorporating academic directions, capital goals, fundraising priorities and related resources for achieving them. To be successful, the resource plan will also draw upon many independent consultations with campus constituencies. The Plan will be a basic tool for local units to use in developing and assessing their own strategic goals. It is also the beginning point for the next planning cycle and the conclusion of the cycle that precedes it.
Assessment and Audit Review is the base of the planning process. It is within this step that we determine the effectiveness of our plans by comparing the plan to the actual events. Utilizing the results of these assessments, we will make corrections and adjustments to the ongoing planning process.
1. Students - By sustaining a personalized approach to education through small classes, close relationships with faculty and staff and attention to student life.
2. Learning - By developing educational programs that join theory and practice, provide an international perspective, encourage creativity and scholarship, and foster a lifelong desire to learn and actively serve communities and the world.
3. Diversity - By creating an environment accessible to individuals of diverse cultures, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, and instilling in students a respect for diversity and an understanding of their own and others values.
4. Global Citizenship - By educating a diverse population locally, nationally and internationally, acting responsibly toward the environment to foster a sustainable future, and strengthening the communities we serve.
Goal #1 Set the Standard for Global Education
Webster is a premier U.S. based university setting the standard for global education by fostering dialogue, respect and understanding across boundaries and between peoples.
- 1a. Expand worldwide opportunities for immersion and mobility experiences for all university constituents
- 1b. Expand the international/global foci (global learning) of academic programs and resources
- 1c. Develop a culture and environment committed to global education and global citizenship
- 1d. Expand the reach and offerings of the international campus and partnership network
Goal #2: Advance Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Webster University will excel in teaching and learning, and will utilize continuous quality improvement to achieve excellence in outcomes for students, faculty and academic services..
- 2a. Improve and document student learning outcomes in all academic areas
- 2b. Expand quality assurance incentives, including specialized accreditations and approvals
- 2c. Meet and exceed national benchmark performance in student persistence and graduation rates
- 2d. Accelerate the integration of academic technology into teaching and learning
- 2e. Expand access to academic programs through online programs
- 2f. Advance the professional development and scholarship for faculty, including support for adjunct faculty
- 2g. Achieve excellence in academic support services and facilities
- 2h. Provide superior library resources and services to support the curriculum and to enhance teaching and learning throughout the university network.
- 2i. Expand academic curriculum, including the purposeful internationalization of the curriculum
- 2j. Enhance and expand academic programs
Goal #3: Extend our Tradition of Fulfilling Unmet Needs
Webster University will extend its tradition of changing lives and meeting unmet needs by providing our unique offering of American-style education to a greater number of students.
- 3a. The traditional undergraduate student population will grow by developing new programs and capitalizing upon our competitive advantages. The overall growth is targeted at 3% per year from a 2007 base of 2,200 in St. Louis and 700 in international locations.
- 3b. Improve retention and graduation rates of traditional undergraduate students to an 86% retention rate for first-year students and a six-year graduation rate of 74%
- 3c. Maintain our position as the preferred provider of military graduate education
- 3d. Grow the scope and offerings of the extended campus network for both graduate and undergraduate adult learners
Goal #4: Place Students First
Webster University will focus on student needs and concerns. All students, whether undergraduate, graduate, non-traditional or multi-generational, will receive a distinct personal experience. A concerted effort will be made to build alumni with a strong institutional affinity, pride and lifelong connection to the University.
- 4a. Expand and develop purposeful campus life experiences for undergraduate students to promote leadership, personal development, civic engagement and cultural immersion
- 4b. Offer personal advising and career counseling services that instills a genuine feeling of investment with each student
- 4c. Provide efficient, user-friendly, and integrated student services
- 4d. Maintain a connection to Webster University through lifelong learning experiences
Goal #5: Enhance Our Reputation
The Webster University institutional brand and reputation is established and recognized, contributing to the long-term academic quality, financial stability, increased enrollments and organizational health.
- 5a. Illustrate our position as a premier international institution with branding messages and media sources
- 5b. Build the Webster University brand by consistently communicating the key branding messages with internal and external groups
- 5c. The branding messages shape the enrollment building marketing and advertising campaigns
- 5d. Branding initiatives resonate with alumni and increase their engagement with the university community
Goal #6: Utilize Resources to Achieve Strategic Goals
Webster University will maintain a high level of financial wellness comparable to its benchmarked peers to insure long-term viability. The university will continue to build upon its reputation of good stewardship of resources and build equity through an effective allocation strategy which invests in the areas of Human, Facilities, Technological and Fiscal Resources.
- 6a. Invest in Human Resources to achieve competitive compensation benchmarked to meet or exceed national standards for recruitment and retention
- 6b. Strategically invest in new faculty and staff to support effective levels of academic programs, student service and support of the institutional initiatives
- 6c. Improve the level of diversity within the university’s faculty and staff
- 6d. Implement a comprehensive risk management plan that reduces the university’s overall liability exposure
- 6e. Create a market-responsive academic program development fund to support strategic enrollment growth and allow for seeding longer term entrepreneurial opportunities
- 6f. Build the university technology infrastructure in network and telephony systems to insure the quality and responsiveness required of an international university
- 6g. Invest in academic technology, most notably online learning systems; which adjust to academic needs
- 6h. Invest in administrative systems which enhance the level of information and streamlines business processes within the institution
- 6i. Finalize and implement a new St. Louis-based facilities master plan for continued campus-wide development and improvements and decrease deferred maintenance
- 6j. Increase gift income to support student financial aid, academic programs and facilities construction
- 6k. Manage university financial resources consistent with a disciplined financial plan to ensure financial wellness