Wake Forest begins strategic planning process to identify university's key priorities

By Kevin Cox
April 24, 2006

Wake Forest has begun a comprehensive 18-month strategic planning process to identify key priorities for strengthening the university. All schools and administrative departments of the Reynolda Campus will participate in the process.

Wake Forest President Nathan O. Hatch announced the aims and timeline for strategic planning in e-mails this week to faculty, staff and students.

"Our new plan will build upon existing strengths and identify areas where we need to improve, through setting priorities, defining strategies, and developing tactics to reach our goals," Hatch said.

Provost William C. Gordon and Senior Vice President Nancy Suttenfield will co-chair the planning process. Hatch said that one new component for planning will be a planning council comprising faculty, staff and student members.

"This permanent council will steer the planning process and track its results. Membership on the council…will comprise broad representation across the campus," he added.

According to Gordon, the early parts of the process include gathering and analyzing relevant quantitative and qualitative information about the university today. The process includes several opportunities for input and feedback from the campus community.

"We will need to take into account not only our own highest aspirations for Wake Forest but also the external forces that impact us," Gordon said. "A viable plan balances the two."

The strategic planning outline calls for activities to begin immediately, with the goal of completing the plan in the fall of 2007. The Planning Council will conduct a situation analysis, drawing on input from the campus, examining Wake Forest's position in higher education as well as other environmental factors and qualitative perceptions that can help or hinder the university's progress. Then the council will construct a strategic framework to guide the academic and administrative units in the development of their respective plans. Prior to starting those plans, however, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to give feedback to the council on the strategic framework.

Final priority setting will be completed in the summer of 2007.

"Perhaps the most interesting and invigorating part of any strategic plan is what an institution learns about itself during the journey to the ultimate priorities," Hatch wrote in his announcement.

The university has established a Web site for information about the strategic planning process (www.wfu.edu/planning). Hatch encouraged faculty, staff and students to consult the new Web site and the university's Window on Wake Forest Web site during the summer months for additional information.