Report details progress to date in strategic plan's 3rd year

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University has embraced strategic planning and is becoming more mature in integrating it into the institutional culture, according to a mid-year report released earlier this semester that details this year's progress in implementing the 2012-15 WMU Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-year Report on Progress and Outcomes is available at wmich.edu/strategic. Known as The Gold Standard, the strategic plan in its final year and will be updated this summer and fall, with a 2015-20 version to be implemented in January 2016.

Jody Brylinsky, associate provost for institutional effectiveness, says the mid-year report describes where WMU is in terms of implementing recommendations made at the end of 2013-14 as well as implementing the priority initiatives identified for 2014-15 by the University's senior leadership.

Significant progress found

Overall, Brylinsky says, significant progress has been made regarding the previous year's recommendations. With strategic planning now more integrated into WMU's culture, she says improvements are being realized especially in areas that make the planning process more efficient and easier to navigate.

"For instance, we've been able to reduce the number of tactical actions communities and project action teams that are needed and been able to develop a more centralized reporting system that will allow for more meaningful analysis of the impact of strategic planning," Brylinsky says.

"As WMU has become more sophisticated in strategic planning, the information being requested and received has also improved. This third year represents the most streamlined data collection and, notably, includes submissions of priority initiatives and associated success measures from University-level centers and institutes."

In terms of the 2014-15 priority initiatives identified by WMU's senior leaders, the mid-year report notes that efforts to achieve them have begun across the campus.

Work will continue through the end of the fiscal year on the initiatives, which focus on enrollment management, degree completion, maintaining a robust global and experiential learning experience for WMU students, and increasing research productivity as well as alumni giving.

Transition work begun

Efforts also are underway to plan how the University will transition from its inaugural, three-year strategic plan to an updated five-year plan.

A key part of that work will be to do a targeted analysis of WMU's strategic plan management maturity. The University is thought to be at the structured and proactive, or middle, level.

"During the transition to the new planning cycle, we'll fully utilize the lessons already learned and facilitate a data-driven and inclusive strategic planning revision process," Brylinsky says. "Most notable will be the integration of enterprise risk management into the analysis, planning and implementation processes."

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