Good day, WesternU!
With spring around the corner, our University continues to think and act nimbly and with innovation, notably as initiatives draw together in our Achieving Aspirations Strategic Plan.
Much progress has been made since the formal launch of this process last autumn and the plan will have a first reading at the Board of Trustees meeting this Saturday. My initial year of situational assessment led me to propose new Strategic Pillars and engage internationally noted strategy consultant Nicholas Webb to help guide our initial Strategic Conclave and follow-on. These Strategic Pillars build on the WesternU Way, our cultural foundation stones of humanistic science, and will serve as the means to decide – among the many, many opportunities before us – what to embrace (and which to forego). A multitude of tremendous opportunities are at various stages of development. We will vet pro forma business plans for these via our Strategic Pillars over our five year strategic horizon. But already The WesternU Center for Health Innovation has launched and is mobilizing student, faculty, and staff creativity with more than 61 workflows already in process while things will further ramp up as several key staff are on-boarded. The Center will host a major health innovation conference this autumn bringing to campus a range of national thought leaders and corporate partners. Also underway even before finalizing our Strategic Plan, a series of Mission Critical Strategic Deployments: IT review, digital footprint audit, online learning readiness are complete while executive development training is in the offing (featuring 6 Sigma and Lean techniques for financial stewardship and organizational excellence).
Also, from our strategic planning surveys and focus groups a clear consensus emerges among students, faculty, and staff that we need enhanced amenities. Thus I charged a work group to review and advise as to near- and long-term options for a ‘Lifestyle Center’ in Pomona that might co-locate exercise and lounge space along with broader dining options. Ultimately, the full solution will be some years down the road likely in the form of a new facility as a key feature for our future fund-raising. In the near term, creative repurposing of space is promising.
Other steps in strategic planning speed ahead.
A recent Research Conclave, the first-ever gathering of all faculty researchers, is exciting as we begin to sail to future research horizons. It was fitting this significant event came just as news that the first pharmaceutical product licensed by WesternU passed into a new level of external investment as clinical trials start. We are beginning to unleash the remarkable range of creativity at WesternU!
Speaking of longer-range planning, this is also underway for Oregon as led by Dr. Crone and the Advancement Board. There are many opportunities in Oregon, including the construction of a new teaching and service clinic in Portland as well as planning for expanded PT training.
Otherwise, at month’s end, the WASC Senior College and University Commission will visit to re-affirm our standing. We have a remarkable and remarkably positive tale to share with a smooth transition following our Founding President, fiscal health, concerted strategic planning, and sound activities in core mission areas of education, research, and service.
Last Thursday the College of Podiatric Medicine Dean’s Lecture featured Dr. David Carlisle, President of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, as keynote speaker. Dr. Carlisle – an outstanding physician, educational leader and speaker – is, with his university, a longtime valued partner with WesternU in regional and national health sciences education. Dr. Carlisle spoke on Sisyphus and The Sailboat – The Course Toward Universal Health Insurance. It is terrific that the University has friends and supporters of such learning and discernment. It is also for us to take time from our busy days to revel in broader perspectives of our shared work.
Finally, last week hundreds from across Southern California were out in force to gather at WesternU in celebration of Dr. P’s legacy of humanism, compassion, innovation, and educational excellence. Phil, your legacy is looking to a bright future!
Every kind regard,
Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD