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Strategic Planning


The Wright State Experience

Oct 16, 2018
A group of people talking

Over the last nine months, we have met with hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners and gathered input from a thousand more as we crafted the university's next strategic plan. 

While the Wright State campus community values a multitude of essential activities, services, and initiatives, one theme emerged from all that input: the importance of keeping our students as the center of the plan. That's why we have proposed making The Wright State Experience the centerpiece of the Wright Path to 2025: Pride, Transformation, Potential. We propose that this experience is where we truly deliver on our mission. It refers to the effect of all we do to help our students as we prepare them to excel in their lives and chosen careers. This student experience is what differentiates us.

Every aspect of the plan will revolve around this theme. 

In our draft strategic plan, we will propose that The Wright State Experience focus on five important areas of strategic focus:

  • Wright State University will provide an inclusive, diverse student-centered experience through a holistic support system.
  • We will strengthen our service-oriented culture by identifying and eliminating barriers to increase efficiency and support accessibility.
  • We will leverage our innovative education, research, service, and entrepreneurial partnerships to produce graduates who excel in their fields and generate economic and societal prosperity for our region.
  • We will deliver accessible, experiential, high-quality programs that address the diverse educational and professional development needs of our students and community.
  • We will engage the community in creating innovative, strategic, and deliberate win-win partnerships.

Update on Strategic Plan Developments

Oct 10, 2018
A person writing on a pad of paper

Over the past several weeks, a group of senior-level strategic leaders has worked diligently on a draft of the strategic plan. This group includes President Cheryl B. Schrader; Provost Susan Edwards; Craig Woolley, chief information officer; Shari Mickey-Boggs, associate vice president and chief human resources officer; Greg Sample, chief real estate and facilities officer; Seth Bauguess, director of communications; and Larry Chan, chief legal counsel. David Bright, Mike Wiehe, Debbie Kimpton, and Nova Lasky have provided support.

The group has vetted about 45 projects that have been proposed during the planning process, with the goal of deciding which ideas the university will pursue. Projects will be organized in tiers to help the university determine short-term and long-term priorities.

Each project is considered based on the following criteria:

  • Potential of each proposal in light of our mission and vision
  • Priority and timing for implementing each proposal
  • Additional questions or issues that need to be addressed
  • Where the leadership for the proposal should reside in the university’s organizational structure
  • Proposed revisions in the titles or descriptions of each proposal
  • wrHow to position each proposal relative to other proposals

Based on feedback received from the planning process, we have identified The Wright State Experience as the centerpiece of our plan. Every aspect of our strategic plan will focus on this theme. We have again revised the mission, vision, and values statements, the strategy statement, and the statements for strategic goals. 

Bright, Wiehe, and Lasky have met with project coordinators and interested members from each of the 15 strategic initiative groups to convey recommendations of university leadership and finalize the proposals in the draft strategic plan. 

A draft of the strategic plan is expected to be presented at the Wright State Board of Trustees meeting on October 19.

Wright State’s Opportunity to Embrace a “Blue Ocean” Strategy

Jun 26, 2018
Group discussion at a planning session

To date, Wright State’s strategic planning process is the most comprehensive I have seen in my career. What began at the March strategic planning summit with more than 100 Wright State stakeholders has blossomed into a comprehensive set of guiding values that shape our mission and values that define our character. These values have in turn led to draft vision and mission statements, five areas of strategic focus for university activity, and 15 strategic initiatives.

Currently, members of the strategic initiative teams are hard at work creating aspirational statements and goals. I participated in one of these teams at mini-summit 3 on Friday, June 22. Senior leadership has challenged us to “think big” and imagine how our strategic initiatives can transform Wright State into a sustained period of prosperity.

Thinking big can be difficult — this is because we all come to the table with knowledge about various constraints that will impede our ability to change. In fact, instead of generating the big ideas, it is easy to get bogged down into imagining every critique an idea will get, every challenge to successful implementation, and a host of other roadblocks. We need to resist these thoughts.

This led me to think about a concept we talk about in strategic management called “Blue Ocean Strategy.” Imagine for a moment the ultra competitive area of higher education that Wright State competes in. We compete with other universities for students, for talented faculty, staff, and administrators, and for financial and other resources. This ultra competitive environment is also referred to as a “red ocean.” It is very difficult to survive in a red ocean because it is difficult to grow.

Instead, many successful organizations have tried to re-imagine what they can do by competing in other spaces. They seek new opportunities and different ways of conducting their operations. These improvements lead to new customers, more opportunities for growth, and can unleash amazing organizational potential. This is called a Blue Ocean Strategy.

As I considered Blue Ocean Strategy, I thought about one of our five areas of strategic focus: digital transformation of services, which aims to leverage technology to create a seamless digital experience for all constituents. Imagine a future at Wright State where students can apply for admission and receive a decision within 24 hours; imagine a future at Wright State where university staff can navigate a single information system to pull together key information about our students, and reach out to them, leading to higher student retention and satisfaction. Imagine a future at Wright State where students have a common look and feel and logical flow of information for their classes within our learning management system. One example of a Blue Ocean Strategy involving some digital transformation is here (2:15-2:35):

I am inspired as we continue on to the most critical point of our strategic planning process. Our 15 strategic initiative teams have an amazing opportunity to think big and to transform Wright State into a university for the future. I cannot think of a time when we will have the collective attention of our university’s faculty and staff, administrators, Board of Trustees, and community stakeholders. Now is the time to think big — we have to take this opportunity to make the incredible strides we are fully capable of making.

John Martin
Associate Professor of Management and International Business
Raj Soin College of Business

Plan for Remaining Mini-Summits

Jun 20, 2018

About 200 people have been involved in mini-summits or group meetings sometime this summer. To this point, we have primarily focused on organizing and refining our strategic aspirations.  We now have 15 project groups, each focusing on one theme.  In the remaining mini-summits, we will build plans for the project ideas that will translate our strategic plan into strategic actions.

Each project group is working on a set of common tasks (“Group Work for Cycles 3-6" (PDF)) to build a set of project proposals. The timeline for these tasks is described below, with links to the schedule for each session.

June 22, 2018: Mini-Summit, 8:30 a.m.-noon

Develop Lists of Actions

Invited: Open to the Public

Session Goals:

  • Share lists of actionable ideas for each strategic initiative (Task 10)
  • Identity high potential ideas for each strategic initiative (Task 11)
  • Plan for the “Idea Marketplace” (Task 12)

June 27, 2018: University Leadership Meeting

Develop Aspirations and Objectives
Invited: Deans, University Vice Presidents, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Steering Committee, Representatives from Strategic Initiative Project Groups
Session Goals:
  • Discuss and provide feedback on the aspiration and objective statements of each project group.
  • Help the strategic initiative project groups to refine the focus of their work.

July 13, 2018: Mini-Summit, 8:30 a.m.-Noon

Evaluate and Prioritize Actions

Invited: Open to the Public

Session Goals:

  • Share and receive feedback about high potential ideas for each strategic initiative (Task 12)
  • Link the high potential ideas to areas of strategic focus and strategic initiatives (Task 12)
  • Develop recommendations for prioritizing high potential ideas (Task 13)

July 24, 2018: University Leadership Meeting

Evaluate and Prioritize Actions

Invited: Deans, University Vice Presidents, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Steering Committee, Strategic Initiative Project Coordinators

Session Goals:

  • Present project ideas to university leaders (Task 14)
  • Receive feedback and guidance from university leaders (Task 14)

August 3, 2018: Mini-Summit, 8:30 a.m.-Noon

Identify Metrics, Resources, and Milestones

Invited: Open to the Public

Session Goals:

  • Develop initial ideas on metrics, resources, milestones, and conditions of success (Task 15)
  • Identify remaining questions that need to be addressed (Task 15)

August 16, 2018: University Leadership Meeting

Identify Metrics, Resources, and Milestones

Invited: Deans, University Vice Presidents, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Steering Committee, Strategic Initiative Project Coordinators

Session Goals:

  • Share refined project plans in informal discussion groups with other coordinators, and members of the university leadership team (Task 16)
  • Develop additional refinements for project plans. (Task 17)

August 31, 2018: Mini-Summit, 8:30 a.m.-Noon

Assemble the Strategic Plan

Invited: Open to the Public

Session Goals:

  • Share refined ideas on metrics, resources, milestones, and conditions of success (Task 18)
  • Address additional refinements for strategic statements and project proposals (Task 19)
  • Reflect together about lessons learned from the strategic planning process

We Have to Lead the Change

Jun 12, 2018

I recently attended a meeting of coordinators for the strategic planning process. It struck me how much this process is like any other creative process—messy.

That might sound like a criticism of what David Bright and Michael Wiehe are doing, but I definitely don’t mean it to be. Creation is, by its very nature, messy. It is the process of taking the chaos that is the creative force, where infinite possibilities exist, and bringing all of that energy together into a cohesive creation. That process is difficult and messy even for the individual artist.

For an organization—or any large group of people—the complexity and messiness of that process expands by an order of magnitude for each new voice in the process. In that light, you can see the challenge before us, and it becomes clear that David and Michael are doing some really heavy lifting and doing it well.

But that process is absolutely necessary because it imbues each participant with the spirit of the thing. In many ways, the output is less important. The process itself is the thing, at least for those who participate. Each participant, imbued with the spirit of that creation, becomes a carrier of it, a leader within the organization regardless of their position on the org chart.

I hope that every person who is participating in this process begins to feel that spirit and appreciate the responsibility we have to lead the change, not just in the summits, but most importantly after the strategy process ends. Because after it ends, the process of actual creation of those plans begins.

For those who don’t participate or who may join us later in the journey, much of the written plan may seem disconnected and abstract. They may wonder how the plan relates to things we actually do. All organizations struggle with this challenge: how do we make the mission and the plan living things? How do we instill the spirit to create the culture and energy in the organization to sustain the hard work of achieving the plan? The answers to such questions shape the success of every organization.

Those of us who are participating in this process have a responsibility to lead the change that we shape conceptually during this strategic planning process. But, just as importantly, there is still opportunity for the rest of the university community to participate, to help shape the plan, and to imbue themselves with the spirit of that plan. The more people who make that choice, the better our chances of success.

David Bringhurst
Assistant Dean for Academic Success and Foundation Studies
University College

Strategic Planning Leads to Aha Moments

Jun 8, 2018
Participants vote at a planning summit.

Aha moments can come at any time and can come for many reasons. Maybe you remembered where you left your car keys; maybe you remembered that important quote from class; or maybe you had a sudden realization and you know how to tackle an important task.

I witnessed numerous aha moments during the last strategic planning mini-summit on June 1. The strategic initiative working groups spent the majority of the summit presenting and critiquing their revised aspiration statements for each strategic initiative. Upon completion, I saw many realizing that “we actually get to write the plan.” The realization then turned into “We actually have to write the plan! We have to get to work!”

Throughout the strategic planning process, as a co-chair, I encouraged participation in the process by letting people know the plan is developed at the grassroots level. Participation is necessary to generate the ideas and critical mass to fully develop the key pieces of the plan. All of us at Wright State have the opportunity to guide and shape the university into the future.

There are still opportunities to get engaged in the process! Visit the website to see upcoming events and review the information generated from all previous events. Your voice and perspective is valuable—and we encourage you to join the process and have your own aha moment!

Mike Wiehe
Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Joining a Project Group: What is the Commitment?

May 31, 2018

Our March 20-22 strategic planning stakeholder summit generated 15 themes for strategic initiatives. We are now forming project groups to develop a focused plan for each theme. If you join a group, you will work with others to create six parts of a plan for each initiative, as follows:

Element of Plan Mini-Summit Dates
1. Aspirations May 18 and June 1
2. Objectives June 1  and June 22
3. Actions June 22 and July 13
4. Milestones August 1 and August 31
5. Metrics August 1 and August 31
6. Resources and Support August 1 and August 31

The dates indicate the mini-summit sessions that will focus on each element.

Why and how might you serve as a group member?

First, as you develop these elements for a specific initiative, you will contribute to the overall strategic plan. In fact, the Steering Committee is assembling the elements of the university strategic plan from the ideas that are emerging from this work on strategic initiatives.

Second, our process relies on the involvement of people – lots of people. But to clarify, your involvement does not require your attendance at all of the Mini-Summits. Each project group can involve members in creative ways. 

You can get involved in one of three roles:
- Coordinator: Manages the communications and ensures all deliverables are submitted.
- Core member: Offers significant help to accomplish the group’s tasks.
- Supporting member: Makes contributions wherever possible.

If you have any desire or willingness to get involved, there is a place for you. Please contact Mike Wiehe (michael.wiehe@wright.edu) or David Bright (david.bright@wright.edu) with questions.

Explanation of Strategic Planning Process

Video Slides (PPTX)

David Bright
Strategic Planning Steering Committee Co-Chair

What’s happening on June 1?

May 31, 2018

Come see for yourself…

Over the last two weeks, we have formed 15 project groups that are working to develop ideas and goals to help strategically move Wright State forward. Each group is concentrating on one strategic theme that will support and enhance Wright State’s five areas of strategic focus, which include:

  • Providing the very best “Wright State experience”
  • Delivering excellent teaching, learning and programming
  • Enhancing research, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Strengthening and developing strategic relationships and partnerships
  • Collaborating internally and externally on the best delivery of services

You have heard the saying “you need the right people in the room to get the job done." That means we need everyone’s expertise, background, and perspective to build this plan. We need you in the room. Join us this Friday, June 1, at 8:30 a.m. in the 2455 Presidential Drive first-floor gallery space to see what we’re working on and lend your voice where needed.

Every project group is looking for your input and as much, or as little, of your time as you can spare. You are the missing piece of the puzzle than can provide the knowledge, data, resources, perspective, or skill set to move this process forward. Help us fill the gaps and truly develop a comprehensive plan to chart Wright State’s path to the future.

If you’re busy on Friday, there are more opportunities to participate on other days or by other means. Check out our event schedule for upcoming dates or keep an eye on the strategic planning blog for additional ways you can become a part of our community effort.

The Most Important, Overall Strategic Goal?

May 24, 2018

Last Friday we held the first of six mini-summits that will take place over the summer. We had about 90 people in the room, all organized into the groups that will develop specific plans for strategic initiatives.

At the end of our session, we posed a single question to everyone: "What is the most important, overall goal that Wright State should be pursuing?" Each of the 15 groups talked about this question and wrote a proposed statement. (Read all the original statements.)

I have to admit, when I first heard the proposed ideas, I was not overly inspired. But as often happens, when we took the time to look at these statements more closely, we found some great insights.

On Monday, I met with President Schrader and a group of six members of the steering committee. We read each statement one-by-one and asked each other, "What indicator of success is suggested by this big idea proposal? How might we know that we are creating value for stakeholders as a university?"

As the conversation evolved, I captured the following ideas. Please remember that this is a brainstormed list of very, very rough ideas. They cluster around three mission-focused values that have come from our previous work:

Foster Student Success

  • Higher retention and graduation rates
  • Number of first-time college students who graduate
  • Metrics on personal education and career develop plan or goal
  • Increased sense of community
  • Percent of degree seeking students who participate in experiential learning — bigger than curriculum, broadly defined
  • The number of experiential learning partnerships with alum and community organizations
  • Improved course completion rates
  • Decreased low-enrollment courses
  • Eradication of the “Wright State run-around”
  • Improved services as indicated through “secret shopper” testing of internal processes

Discover, Create, and Share New Knowledge

  • Number of experiential learning partnerships with alum and community organizations
  • Number of undergrad and grad students who participate in research projects
  • Sustained and improved economic impact on the region
  • Number of research projects
  • Number of public-private partnerships/collaborations

Transform Our World

  • Leaders in our state who are Wright State graduates
  • Education, cultural, and economic indicators
  • Innovations that are adapted in the marketplace
  • Other indicators that tell us that we are being what Ohio needs us to be

What ideas do you have about how we might measure the value we create for our students and other stakeholders? What big idea might capture the essence of this value?

Feel free to share your thoughts by completing this survey on mission-focused values.

David Bright, Co-Chair
Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Welcome to the Blog

May 17, 2018
Strategic Planning Group Discussion

Welcome to the blog!

As you may know, we are co-chairs (with President Cheryl B. Schrader) of the Wright State Strategic Planning Steering Committee. We are starting this blog for several reasons.

First, we want to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the strategic planning process. We want everyone to understand the logic behind our efforts, why we are doing what we are doing, and how all the pieces of the process fit together.

Second, we want to provide updates on the most recent developments. We share all the information we have about the process and want everyone to help us to shape the university's strategic plan.

Finally, we want to promote engagement and interaction across our campus and throughout our community, with all of us are working together to co-create Wright State's future. We invite you to get involved, offer feedback, ask questions, and actively participate.

Please check back often for perspectives, news, and the most recent information.

Thank you for supporting Wright State's strategic planning process!

David Bright, Co-chair
Mike Wiehe, Co-Chair
Strategic Planning Steering Committee