Strategic Planning Process
The university contracted with Dr. John Welty, Senior Associate, AASCU Consulting Services, to facilitate the development of a five year strategic plan. Dr. Welty worked with the University Planning Council (UPC) to develop the plan.
The work on the plan began in February, 2020. Initially, Dr. Welty interviewed (via Zoom) several groups of students, faculty, staff, administrators and the National Advisory Council to assess the university’s strengths, opportunities, threats and areas of distinction. In addition, several university documents were reviewed including the current strategic plan, progress reports on implementation, accreditation reports, institutional research data and several regional reports.
The UPC led the effort to develop the plan, and five task forces were appointed to develop the goal statements, desired outcomes and strategies which appear in the plan. Three university-wide town halls were held to get feedback from the university community at each stage of the process.
History of the University
Over the span of 132 years, WSU has evolved and grown to meet the needs of its region.
The institution’s history and existence is rooted in its strong ties with the community as it was originally established to meet the educational needs of the city of Ogden, Utah, and the surrounding area. In those early days, the school primarily offered high school coursework to area youth from Weber County.
In the early 1900s, the institution shifted towards offering a more college-level curriculum. In 1923, Weber became a junior college in the state system. As Weber continued to grow, the Harrison Boulevard location for the Ogden campus was established in 1954. Nearly a decade later, the institution began offering four-year degrees, adding its first master’s degree in 1978 and awarding its first doctorate in 2021. The institution officially became a university in 1991.
With more than 29,000 students, WSU presently has campuses in Ogden and Layton, Utah, along with centers in Davis, Morgan and Weber counties. For more than 50 years the university has embraced its dual mission of being a regional university and serving as a community college for Northern Utah with open enrollment and many associates and stackable degrees to meet workforce demands.
Strengths, Opportunities, Threats, and Areas of Distinction
Several groups of students, faculty, staff, administrators and the National Advisory Council (over 600 people) were interviewed in a focus group by the strategic planning consultant, Dr. John Welty. The information below indicates the number of groups who assessed regarding the university’s strengths, opportunities, threats and areas of distinction. The number after each item reflects the number of groups who identified the item as one of their top three items when they participated in the group exercise.
- Commitment of Faculty to Students/Small Class Sizes/Faculty Interaction with Students (13)
- Affordability/High Value to students (10)
- Focus on Student Success (6)
- Partnerships/Meeting Workforce Needs of Community (6)
- Emphasis on Quality Teaching/Use of High Impact Practices (5)
- Community Engagement (5)
- Dual Mission/Open Enrollment (4)
- Location of Campus (2)
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration (2)
- Sense of Internal Community (2)
- Serve and Provide Access to Underserved Students/Become a Hispanic Serving Institution (10)
- Integrate and Increase Online Education and Other Delivery Methods (10)
- Serve New Workforce Needs of Region (9)
- Increase Retention and Graduation Rates (4)
- Recruitment of Outstanding Faculty/Reward Them (3)
- Fuller Integration with Community (2)
- Improve Marketing/Branding of University (2)
- Legislature/Reduced State and Donor Support (7)
- Competition from State and Online Providers (7)
- Failure to Innovate/Remain Relevant (6)
- Failure to Maintain Competitive Salaries (6)
- Too Many Initiatives/Faculty and Staff Stretched too Thin (5)
- Community Engagement (2)
- Failure to Remain Affordable (2)
- Inability to Recruit and Retain Students (2)
Areas of Distinction
- Student Centered Focus (13)
- Dual Mission/Open Enrollment (8)
- Affordability/High Quality (5)
- Community Engagement/Partnerships with Business and Industry (5)
- Commitment to Sustainability (4)
- Small School Feel/Large Enough to Do Big Things (3)
- Collegial Campus Culture (3)
- Commitment to Adult, Non-traditional Students (2)