WU launches strategic planning process to define the University’s growth over the next decade

Washington University announced an 18-month strategic plan to formulate future objectives, March 10.

The planning process will be directed by a 16 member steering committee made up of faculty members. This steering committee will oversee a coordinating committee, which will oversee the progress of nine working groups each working to create a report on a given topic over the course of 2021.

The plan will focus on five main principles: inclusion, diversity, equity and access, global perspective, stewardship, community impact and academic distinction.

“These guiding principles are at the heart of our process and will be at the core of our plan,” Provost Beverly Wendland told The Source. “The work we do will reflect these principles, and our plan will advance our capacity to live them out.”

Through the lens of these principles, the plan aims to address several topics, including campus wellness, public health, research and general St. Louis initiatives. Other topics involve sustainability, personal growth and graduate, professional and undergraduate education.

“These areas represent not only our highest priorities, but also the places where we feel there is the most potential for us to grow and become even more distinctive as an institution of research and higher learning,” Wendland said. “This is not an exclusive list—we will, of course, also consider other issues of importance to our community throughout the planning process.”

The committee’s structure is based on the 1979 Commission on the Future of Washington University, which met over the course of 28 months and recommended 194 different actions to improve the University.

An online form will also be used to solicit feedback from the Washington University community. Planning committees will also host events allowing individuals to personally meet with committee members.

From now until September, the steering committee and coordinating committee will meet regularly while working groups will assemble initial drafts for the plan. The working groups will submit their reports to the coordinating committee, who will then work to compile the reports into a comprehensive draft plan by the end of 2021. The steering committee plans to finalize a draft between March and May 2022. The Board of Trustees will then begin the process of implementation.

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