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Hello Everyone:

Not long ago, we shared the link to access the University Strategic Plan, “Transforming the Face of Health,” that was approved by the Board of Trustees this past May. This is an ambitious plan, but one that points us toward an exciting future. In that Plan we committed to formalizing a process and structure for ongoing University planning and continued monitoring, evaluation, and appropriate updating of our Strategic Plan. Such efforts will ensure better data collection, access, and analysis, enhanced communication, increased transparency, and expanded participation by internal stakeholders. We also promised to create “horizon scanning” groups in several areas that will also empower us to create and respond to new opportunities in our typical “WesternU Way.”

Too many institutions complete a strategic planning process only to end up with a collection of PowerPoint slides or a three-ring binder that sits on a shelf, serving as a dusty reminder but not as a living compass for actual manifestation of its goals. That is not our intention at WesternU. To ensure that our Plan truly informs our journey forward, we have established a formal, ongoing strategic planning structure that will keep the University Strategic Plan alive in our daily operations and decision-making. This structure is designed to organize a process for ongoing planning and operations in a way that keeps the Plan dynamic, nimble, and open to our many University constituents’ input. At the center of this structure is a newly created entity called the Strategic Planning Implementation Steering Committee, a standing committee formed to focus on the following functions:

    – Articulation and implementation of the University Vision and Strategic Plan.

    – Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of existing and new action plans to provide information for funding and support decisions.

    – Scanning the environment for new opportunities or paradigms to actualize in the strategic Plan and Vision.

    – Communicating strategic planning activities to internal and external audiences.

    – Evaluating and addressing infrastructure needs to ensure plan success.

The Steering Committee includes representatives from the Deans Council, the Operations Council, the Academic Senate, Academic Affairs and an individual to represent student interests. All of our constituencies will have a voice in this process, and will stay updated on the progress and achievements of the University Plan.

This standing committee’s recommendations will flow directly to me and the University’s senior management team (including the Provost/COO, CFO, and Senior Vice President). Our duty will be to review the Steering Committee’s recommendations and make final decisions on the overall strategic vision, plans to implement that vision, funding, and changes or updates to the University Strategic Plan. The individuals that have been appointed to serve on this Steering Committee are:

    – Sheree Aston, OD, PhD, Vice Provost (representing the Provost), Chair

    – Steve Jasperson, Chief Administrative Officer, Patient Care Center

    – Steve Henriksen, PhD, Vice President of Research

    – Jeff Keating, Executive Director, Public Affairs

    – Karen Hanford, EdD, Deans Council Member (elected)

    – Denise Wilcox, Ops Council Member (elected)

    – Michelle Tadros, University Student Affairs Representative (Beverly Guidry, EdD, will serve as interim during Michelle’s leave of absence)

    – Beth Boynton, DVM, Academic Senate Representative

In addition, several ex officio, non-voting members will serve on this committee, including David Dickter, Katherine Jimenez, Juan Ramirez, PhD, and the current Student Government Association president. I look forward to working with this important committee to advance WesternU and “transform the face of health.” More information about the Steering Committee and the ongoing strategic planning structure and processes will be communicated over the next several weeks.

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 ppumerantz@westernu.edu, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.

My best to you all,