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Goals, Outcomes & Strategies

Goal One – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Eliminate disparities in educational outcomes for underserved students, particularly students of color and students from low socioeconomic status.

Desired Outcomes

Equity-minded outcomes cannot be isolated in this goal area alone. They have been integrated into the other strategic plan goal areas. The outcomes below, therefore, focus on the changes to organizational culture and university systems that are required to eliminate institutional disparities.

  • By 2023, 100% of university units will complete an equity-minded audit to identify policies and practices that contribute to inequitable outcomes for underserved students and propose interventions to remedy those inequities.
  • By fall 2025, 100% of academic and student support units will implement equity-minded accountability and assessment practices and an annual reporting requirement that includes measures such as the participation and/or success rates of students disaggregated by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and gender.
  • At the end of their first year at WSU, 80% of students, faculty and staff from traditionally underserved populations will report a sense of belonging at the university. These underserved populations include, but are not limited to, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA, first-generation students, people with disabilities, people from underrepresented religious backgrounds, undocumented/Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students and students of low socioeconomic status.
  • By 2025, the hiring and retention of faculty and staff from underrepresented and underserved populations will increase from 11% to 20% (based on 2020 data).
  • By 2025, hiring and retention of administrators, including vice presidents, deans, department chairs and directors, from underrepresented populations will increase from 10% to 20% (based on 2020 data).
  • A commitment to equity-minded and inclusive practices will be a job qualification and performance criteria for 100% of university positions.

Strategies

Embed a discipline of equity: Embed a discipline of equity in all university policies, practices and accountability systems as the central framework for eliminating disparities in outcomes for students of color and students of low socioeconomic status.

Strengthen belonging: Strengthen the sense of belonging, engagement and empowerment of traditionally underserved students, faculty and staff across campus in order to enhance and sustain conditions in which all WSU community members thrive.

Align resources: The university will provide broad-based, well-resourced support to advance equity-minded practice across the institution.

 

Goal Two – Retention and Completion

Through well-aligned and meaningful initiatives, WSU will positively impact student success as defined by measurable increases in retention and completion across all student populations throughout their academic careers.

Desired Outcomes

  • By academic year 2025-26, all first-time students, fall-to-fall retention rate (for fall 2023) will be 60% (up from 56% for fall 2019 students).
  • By 2025-26, 80% of WSU first-time students will earn a 2.2 GPA for their initial semester (up from 70% for fall 2019 students).
  • By 2025-26, at least 34% of WSU concurrent enrollment and 52% of early college high school (HS) graduates will become matriculated degree-seeking students (up from 22% and 40% respectively for spring 2020 HS graduates).
  • For 2025-26, 50% of WSU bachelor’s degree completers will have 2 or more high-impact educational experiences (HIEE) (creating baseline in AY 2021).
  • By 2025-26, 46% of entering students from AY 2015-16 will have completed a certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree (up from 42% for AY 2011-12 students).
  • 70% of WSU students who have earned 90+ credit hours during AY 2022-23 will complete a bachelor’s degree by the end of 2025-26, and 60% of students with 50+ credits in an associate’s track will complete that degree in 1 year (up from 56% and 45% respectively for AY 2017-18 students).
  • Close 8-year completion gaps between the overall student population and the following student populations of interest:
    • Low-income (Pell-eligible) students: reduce current 6% gap to a 4% gap
    • Students placed in developmental math and English: reduce current 28% gap to a 20% gap
    • First-generation students: reduce current 7% gap to a 4% gap 
    • BIPOC/minoritized students: reduce current 12% gap to a 8% gap

Strategies

Flexibility in academic programs and services: WSU will provide flexibility in academic programs and services, allowing all students to pursue credentials at their own pace when possible, and by offering flexible course delivery, accelerated and hybrid programs and stackable credentials leading to degree completion.

Intentional, specialized support: Working with existing support programs and services, WSU will provide intentional, specialized and coordinated programs, classes and services for students, especially students historically underrepresented in higher education, to ensure that we are “student-ready.”

High-impact programs and community connection: WSU will expand participation in high-impact programs and community connections by providing opportunities for a diverse array of students to play a more active role in society through internships, volunteer experiences and other opportunities both on and off campus.

Directed communication and follow up: WSU will continue to expand its directed communication to students based on personas and student life cycle stages to ensure students are receiving information that is needed for specific groups of students at specific points in time of the semester and/or the student life cycle.

 

Goal Three – Personal Connections and Academic Excellence

On their path to their own definition of academic success, the experience of every student at Weber State is filled with rich and impactful relationships with faculty, staff, students and the community.

Desired Outcomes

Mentoring 

  • 10% annual increase in students who have mentoring relationships.
  • Students have at least one mentoring relationship (student, staff or faculty) during their time at Weber State who can speak of their personal and professional accomplishments. 

Connection with WSU Community 

  • Every program should include at least two opportunities that promote a strong connection and a sense of belonging to the university community, such as HIEE co-curricular programs, immersive projects and Student Involvement and Leadership (SIL) activities.
  • For 2025-26, 50% of WSU bachelor’s degree completers will have 2 or more HIEE experiences (creating baseline in AY 2021).

Classroom Engagement

  • Students’ level of engagement in their classroom experiences increases by 10% per year.

Strategies

Resource reallocation: Weber State will assess our current resource structure and needs and reallocate and realign to enable higher levels of student engagement and human connections in the classroom.

Increase professional development for faculty and staff: Programs will identify and develop opportunities within and related to their respective curricula or co-curricula in which students can deeply engage with faculty, staff, other students and/or the community. These opportunities will be promoted extensively so that students can identify their value and are encouraged to participate.

Adjust performance measurement and reward systems: Weber State will increase opportunities for faculty to easily articulate and demonstrate their developments of student engagement and mentoring.

Enhance career readiness: Weber State will provide high-impact educational experiences that enhance career readiness by helping students develop transferable skills, build strong personal connections and gain valuable work experience.

 

Goal Four – Community Anchor Mission

Intentionally apply our intellectual assets, economic influence, and financial and human resources in partnership with regional communities to seek a sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental system that ensures opportunity, equity and inclusion.

Desired Outcomes By Fall 2025

Economic Development Outcomes

  • WSU has utilized our convening power to create and/or facilitate 18 initiatives to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
    • Current: 11 Programs
    • Desired: 18 Programs
    • Difference: 7 Programs
  • WSU has utilized our convening power to establish a more coordinated defense/aerospace ecosystem by engaging industry partners and together developing programs that will strengthen the ecosystem.
    • Current: 2 Programs
    • Desired: 6 Programs
    • Difference: +25% partners, 4 Programs

Workforce Development Outcome

  • WSU has proactively identified, developed and delivered programs that respond to workforce needs by innovating, collaborating and leveraging resources to meet the dynamic needs of our community as indicated by WSU continuing its 2.9%* annual growth in Utah System of Higher Education’s (USHE) market demand degree attainment measure. *Roughly equivalent to prior 5 years 2.919% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), AY 2014-15 through AY 2018-19
    • Difference: 551 additional certificate or degrees
    • Desired: 2.9% annual growth* or AY 2023-24 result meet or exceed 4,138 certificate or degrees
    • Current: 3,587 certificate or degrees (last reported by USHE, AY 2018-19)

Sustainability Outcome

  • WSU achieves Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Gold by fall 2025, carbon neutrality by 2040, and helps the region strive for carbon neutrality by 2050.
    • Current: Silver
    • Desired: Gold
    • Difference: 1 level

Community Development Outcomes

  • 25% of WSU faculty are engaging their teaching, research and service agendas to address social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges facing our communities, including the East Central Neighborhood of Ogden.
    • Current: 17% (177 faculty)
    • Desired: 25% (263 faculty)
    • Difference: 8% (86 faculty)
  • WSU has improved 5 business practices related to hiring, purchasing and investing to build prosperity equitably across all our communities.
    • Current: 0 business practices improved
    • Desired: 5 business practices improved
    • Difference: 5 business practices improved

Educational Partnerships Outcome

  • A P-20 Alliance will be established to coordinate strategic education access activities between WSU and other education and community partners through targeted initiatives including the newly formed Dual Enrollment Strategic Task Force.
    • Current: P-20 Alliance does not exist; Dual Enrollment Task Force recently formed
    • Desired: P-20 Alliance and Dual Enrollment Task Force fully formed and working in alignment with each other
    • Difference: Creation of the P-20 Alliance

Strategies

Educational partnerships: Establish a P-20 Alliance to better align initiatives, funding opportunities, state educational objectives and outcomes to support an educated workforce.

Workforce development: Facilitate the necessary programs to fill the workforce pipeline that supports our surrounding business, industry and community stakeholders.

Community development: Leverage faculty expertise to build community prosperity.

Sustainability: Increase sustainability education across the curriculum, in university practices, and sustainable operations at the university and in the region.

Community development: Change university business practices to build prosperity equitably across all our communities.

Economic development: Increase our efforts as an anchor institution to facilitate networks and partnerships to achieve resilient and stable economic growth.

 

Goal Five — Marketing and Branding

Weber State is an “institution of choice” for key target audiences* looking to pursue higher
education, with an emphasis placed on increasing awareness of WSU’s value proposition
among the “general population.”

Key target audiences will be further analyzed for the most viable segments based on prominent targeting criteria: substantiality, identifiability/measurability, accessibility and responsiveness.

Desired Outcomes

  • At the conclusion of the first six months to a year, Weber State University will have researched and articulated audience and competitors insights, tested and solidified its brand and unique value proposition as it relates to those audiences and developed a detailed communication/marketing plan to effectively apply that value proposition to its key target audiences.
    • IMPORTANT ASSUMPTION: All other desired outcomes listed below rely on successful completion of the first desired outcome (value proposition with key targeted audiences).
  • At the end of the 5-year period, a majority of WSU’s marketing resources (51% or more) will be shifted toward the key target audiences.
  • WSU’s Marketing & Communications will begin to measure and improve its marketing efforts, targeting a 10%* annual increase of ROI. 
    • *Baseline will need to be established.
  • Weber and Davis counties’ historically underrepresented populations will regard Weber State University as a place of higher education that provides a welcoming space where they can thrive as they pursue their higher education goals. This outcome will reflect a 10%* change in attitudes by fall 2025. It will be measured with telephone surveys of this perception.
    • *This is a tentative outcome that will be adjusted based upon further research and  definition of key target audiences and value proposition. This goal may align with the diversity strategic goal.
  • Increase the WSU top-of-mind awareness of the population* from 44% to 55% by fall 2025.
    • *This is a tentative outcome that will be adjusted based upon further research and definition of key target audiences and value proposition. *General population will need to be defined.
  • Recapture the 10-year high of 7,912 25+-year-old undergraduate students from the low of 5,466 in 2020 by the year fall 2025.
    • *This is a tentative outcome that will be adjusted based upon further research and definition of key target audiences and value proposition.
  • Increase the WSU perception of high-quality* among the first-year admits from 20% to 25% by fall 2025, and see key value proposition reflected in responses.
    • *This is a tentative outcome that will be adjusted based upon further research and definition of key target audiences and value proposition. High quality will need to be defined.

Strategies 

Competitor/industry analysis: Post-high-school students, transfer students and adult learners have a variety of educational options to pursue. By conducting a competitor/industry analysis, Weber State will better understand where we are losing market share and also identify value propositions/distinguishing features of WSU that we can use to better position the university and attract more students.

Marketing segments and current/potential target markets: In order to properly identify and target our audience, we must first segment the market. By segmenting the market, we can do a thorough job of identifying, understanding and reaching our key target audiences, and share highly tailored messages to those audiences. Only through segmenting and subsequent targeting can we speak with a strong, clear voice to our most-desired audiences.

Current marketing strategies/efforts: An actionable data-driven strategy is needed to ensure marketing is effectively contributing to the university goals. The documentation of current marketing efforts across campus will guide in analysis and optimization. This analysis will provide valuable insights into essential information and aid in making strategic marketing decisions. Findings will be applied and optimized for ongoing marketing efforts and workflow. WSU will work on opportunities to strengthen the weaknesses in the marketing tactics and remove channels and areas that don’t contribute to success. 

Promotional strategies, traditional and digital: The audiences for higher education institutions are diverse and range from future high school graduates to those seeking graduate-level degrees, as well as seekers of vocational degrees and certifications. Consequently, higher education institutions must employ an equally diverse range of marketing and promotional techniques to reach the highest number of prospective students. The right mix of strategies has become increasingly important in this highly competitive field. Students are not the only ones to be targeted through marketing strategies. Parents, high-quality teachers and faculty, and other influencers of student decision-making are valuable to the recruitment process. A well-rounded marketing plan can build the institution’s reputation, establish prestige and increase enrollment.

Future strategies to be decided after completion of the first four strategies.