March 7, 2012
WesternU's last strategic plan, initiated in 2007, led to the creation of our four newest health professions colleges, giving us an unequaled opportunity - indeed, a responsibility - to capitalize on our new place in the health education and health care firmament to make even greater plans for our future.
What are the next "big ideas" for WesternU? Where are they coming from? How can we ensure that our infrastructure keeps pace with physical and programmatic growth across our campuses? What do students, staff, and faculty want to have happen the most over the next five years?
Most important, who are we, and who do we want to be?
These and dozens of other questions were the focus of a daylong Strategic Planning Retreat last week that included about 50 representatives from WesternU's nine colleges, various departments, faculty, the Board of Trustees, and administration. What emerged was a diverse set of ideas about what our University can aspire to over the next five years, all the while preserving its core mission of improving health care for all of humankind.
One thing seemed clear after our day of work: The collective sense that WesternU is still in the early stages of a long and fruitful journey remains undiminished. For all of the growth and progress our University has made over the past 35 years, much remains to be done. As the health-education and health-care landscapes shift, we too must adjust and change, all the while planning for a future that no one can fully predict.
Clear, too, is the realization that service diversity and collaboration throughout the University create value, not only to prospective students and patients, but to the communities we serve and to the larger worlds of education, health care, and social mission. Examples abound across our campuses, but this notion is in perhaps no better evidence than at the Patient Care Center, where all of our disciplines join forces to improve patient care, and at the Western Diabetes Institute, where treatment and research innovations will one day lead the fight against a growing worldwide epidemic.
Meanwhile, we must maintain a laser focus on educating tomorrow's health-care professionals to work compassionately and collaboratively, and must encourage a culture among our colleges and departments that brings us all together as a true university, rather than a collection of separate entities under one banner.
These goals will not be accomplished overnight, nor without more thoughtful and forward-thinking work by all those involved in the update to our Strategic Plan. This group includes you. Your thoughts and ideas about what the future could hold for our University are essential to who we are, and who we want to be. I've heard dozens of them already. I can't wait to hear more as we continue to engage in this process.
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,