February 22, 2012
As WesternU continues the process of updating its strategic plan, which will guide our institution over the next five years and beyond, we are faced with a variety of questions: What is our purpose and mission? Why is change important?
Over the past 35 years, our university’s literature has been liberally sprinkled with references to growth and development, for a variety of reasons. In the early days, the push to expand and improve COMP was in large part made to ensure its academic and fiscal foothold, and future, as an osteopathic education resource - the only one of its kind in Southern California. As time has gone on, however, our growth and development have been less about survival than about making sure what we’re doing, and how we’re growing, is best suited to meet the changing health care needs of the populations we serve and the changing demands of the health professions themselves.
Philosophically, change is an essential part of the fabric of WesternU. In that respect, these references to growth and change are evergreen; if you left campus and returned 100 years from now, they still would be vital parts of our institutional conversation, not least because reasonable change protects every institution from atrophy.
Fortunately, our embrace of change encourages even loftier ambitions. In fact, as the result of our last Strategic Plan, WesternU is an excellent example of all the good that can be done for an institution when change is part of its makeup. This most recent process of change completely transformed our university from a modest campus to the nation’s most comprehensive health professions university, translating what was initially a vision into a new educational entity. This transformation also underscored a key concern about change, which is that we don’t engage in it simply for its own sake. It has to be meaningful and significant to be successful; what’s happened here over the past five years qualifies on all three counts.
But the questions remain: What is the goal of the university? How do we measure our success? The goal is to improve the quality of health for our communities, and to constantly be striving for the best ways to do that. No matter how well run a university might be, we can always find new ways to be better and more efficient. As for success, I ask you to look to the past, present and future, and to consider the health of the populations we serve. Our performance should be judged by the health of those same populations. I am pleased to note our record of success in this area over the past three and half decades, which has created a legacy on which future success must and will be built.
As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU's Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at email@example.com, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.
My best to you all,