Strategic Plan

WSU Vancouver campus ariel photo
The WSU Vancouver 2021 – 2026 Strategic Plan is still in draft form and strategies will be added before finalized.

WSU Vancouver 2021 – 2026 Strategic Plan

Many things around us have changed and will continue to change. One thing that hasn’t is the reason for WSU Vancouver’s founding—to increase the baccalaureate attainment rate in Southwest Washington.

WSU Vancouver has elected to view the 2021 – 2026 Strategic Plan as a compass. The compass keeps us pointed toward our true north as we continue our journey to fulfill our founding principle.

The world around us requires us to be flexible. It asks us to be resilient and balance optimism with realism. The Strategic Plan provides the opportunity to dig in on what matters and let go of what does not. It’s a navigation tool to help us stay true to our purpose.

How we got here

The 2021 – 2026 WSU Vancouver Strategic Plan is the result of a year-long, campus-wide conversation and extensive planning process.

As a community, WSU Vancouver benefitted from the clearly articulated goals in the 2016 – 2021 Strategic Plan. It was agreed that the five goals from that plan would remain. Cabinet, Academic Leadership Council and employees across campus contributed through retreats, workshops and Campus Conversations.

What’s new in this plan

Like most institutions inside and outside of higher education, WSU Vancouver has been greatly affected by the global pandemic and the widespread racial justice movement. The planning process attempted to address this historic moment. The 2021 – 2026 Strategic Plan lays out ideas to build campus resilience, focuses on support for all community members and centers equity across all endeavors.

Impacts associated with the pandemic have disproportionately fallen on historically excluded communities on and off campus. An equity lens has been applied to the Strategic Plan to ensure that equitable decision making and action are integrated across campus.

The Strategic Plan represents a snapshot of the best ideas for improvement in the near term. Recognizing that future action must be governed by evidence, each objective will be measured and evaluated to understand when a change is required.

The conversations that contributed to the Strategic Plan have affirmed our shared values and energized our community to strive to continue the important work we are all engaged in.


Goals

Goal 1: Research

Advance excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity consistent with the university’s strategic mission.

Objective

Expand the impact of research activities and collaborations to address community needs and global societal challenges while supporting exceptional basic research and scholarship.

Strategies

  • Award partnership-specific mini-grants to initiate collaborative projects.
  • Create a department-level network of research advocates to better facilitate cross-campus collaboration.
  • Increase online and communication infrastructure to build awareness and impact of scholarly work.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Network analysis of faculty collaboration
  • Biennial faculty interviews focusing on research support

Objective

Grow sustainable external partnerships and increase diversification of funding to support research, scholarship and creative activities.

Strategies

  • Build relationships with external agencies that support research, scholarship and creative activities.
  • Expand undergraduate and graduate internships with industries to foster research collaborations.
  • Seek new funding to support fields with limited external support.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Annual number of submitted research proposals
  • Annual number of accepted proposals
  • Total research and development expenditures
  • Percentage of research expenditures by funding source type

Objective

Examine and correct historic inequities in resource allocation and role responsibilities within the research mission.

Strategies

  • Continue building equitable salary, work-duty and hiring practices.
  • Increase funding (including grants, philanthropy and internal sources) to support faculty impacted by historic societal barriers.
  • Support research specifically examining historic inequity.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Annual grant funding by race, gender and disability status
  • Annual number and profile of published works focused on inequality

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Goal 2: Student Success

Advance student learning and success.

Objective

Increase undergraduate persistence and graduation rates.

Strategies

  • Create a comprehensive support program for high DFW courses fully integrating campus academic support centers (Library, Writing Center, Math and Science Skills Center, Access Center).
  • Expand high school to college summer bridge programming.
  • Revamp advising model to enhance the student experience from enrollment through graduation.
  • Decrease student financial burden (through scholarships, waivers and financial literacy) and decrease the impact of financial stress on student success.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Retention and graduation rates by admit type (freshman, early transfer, late transfer)
  • Percentage of new students participating in a first-year experience or bridge program by admit type
  • GPA and retention for first-year experience or bridge program participants compared to matched peers

Objective

Increase graduate student success and career progress and enroll a more diverse graduate student population.

Strategies

  • Expand graduate student career preparedness efforts, including career placement, marketability and networking.
  • Build financial support for graduate students.
  • Support the Graduate Student Association of Vancouver by providing space and funding.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Percentage of graduate students reaching completion by type (research and professional)
  • Demographics of graduate students (research and professional programs)

Objective

Enhance instruction by incorporating culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy.

Strategies

  • Institutionalize faculty summer academy to increase culturally sustaining pedagogy in introductory and gateway courses.
  • Develop teaching fellow faculty programming to support culturally responsive pedagogical improvements in introductory and gateway courses.
  • Encourage faculty to earn the Building a Community of Equity Accessibility and Universal Design Certificate.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Number/percentage of faculty participating in pedagogy programs

Objective

Improve student access to food, housing, transportation, health care, child care and educational technology.

Strategies

  • Develop resources to connect students to government and nonprofit assistance programs.
  • Reopen and restructure on-campus child care using a model that supports student and community need for young children’s education.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Campus results of statewide student basic needs survey as compared to peer institutions

Objective

Improve campus resources to ensure that students graduate career ready.

Strategies

  • Develop and coordinate resources for on- and off-campus student employment.
  • Facilitate co-curricular and curricular career development programs for all academic departments without existing career support.
  • Create a faculty role/responsibility to develop and promote undergraduate research.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Graduating senior interviews
  • Undergraduate placement survey results

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Goal 3: Infrastructure for Resilience and Growth

Build upon past successes to continue growing as a vibrant, enduring hub for higher education in Southwest Washington.

Objective

Recover enrollment losses and resume the long-term mission to increase regional degree attainment.

Strategies

  • Establish a formal process for long-term envisioning of enrollment goals, including evaluating the Portland market.
  • Fund a full-time financial aid outreach position to increase the FAFSA/WASFA-filing rate in Clark County and make a WSU Vancouver education possible for more students.
  • Restructure the orientation program for freshmen and new transfer students as a partnership between Student Affairs and academic units to include measurable learning outcomes.
  • Develop and expand admission programs to support enrollment goals (e.g.: Quickstart and Guaranteed Admission Program).
  • Establish “Vancouver online” courses to deliver remote learning options to Vancouver students.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Number of new students by admit type (freshmen, transfer, graduate)
  • Student headcount and FTE • Retention and graduation rates by admit type
  • Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania County bachelor degree attainment compared to state average (all ages and ages 25 – 34)

Objective

Grow the infrastructure and physical capacity of campus to meet research and student needs.

Strategies

  • Construct the Sciences Building and accompanying system and human resource infrastructure.
  • Increase accessibility through physical improvements to campus.
  • Initiate a campus art effort to incorporate a wide range of cultures and identities into the physical campus.
  • Enhance network capacity to accommodate increasingly internet-driven campus activity.
  • Update and optimize existing building layouts to support current student and employee work modes.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • List of improvements to campus by type
  • Cost of implemented improvements

Objective

Optimize degree program offerings in response to factors including student demand, impact on economic development and changes in academic disciplines.

Strategies

  • Continue implementation of the Academic Plan.
  • Work with WSU colleges to take advantage of emergent opportunities for degree programs.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Annual number of degrees offered by career type (bachelors, masters, PhD, DNP, EdD)
  • Enrollment in new academic programs (initiated after 2014)

Objective

Grow philanthropic investment to sustain the strategic plan.

Strategies

  • Raise $10 million to support the Sciences Building.
  • Fund a full-time alumni coordinator to increase WSU Vancouver and WSU systemwide alumni engagement.
  • Leverage the OneWSU model to connect with nonalumni donors.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Annual philanthropic contributions
  • Annual number of donors by type (alumni, community, corporate)

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Goal 4: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Promote an ethical and socially just society through an intentional commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Objective

Ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all student populations, including parity in recruitment, retention and graduation rates across student demographic groups.

Strategies

  • Create and implement an Equity Planning and Practice Inventory to allow academic departments to address grade and enrollment disparities across demographic groups through policy and practice improvements.
  • Grow the pipeline for local students from underserved populations by building the “Talent Search” grant-funded WSU Vancouver Center for College Access.
  • Expand the pursuit of grant funding to increase college access for historically underrepresented students in the region.
  • Incorporate assessment of equity outcomes into initiatives to improve persistence.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Retention/graduation rates by race, gender and other demographic variables where available
  • Number of applications, rates of acceptance, matriculation and enrollment by race and gender groups as compared to regional population demographics

Objective

Ensure equitable recruitment, retention and promotion of employees across demographic groups, including increasing representation from underrepresented race/ethnicities (African American, Native American, Latinx and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander employees) to better reflect the diversity of the student body.

Strategies

  • Assess equity practices in recruitment and retention of employees.
  • Conduct a campuswide salary review to inform equitable pay across demographic groups.
  • Establish additional employee resource and affinity groups to support faculty and staff from historically underrepresented and excluded groups.
  • Add an equity and inclusion requirement to the annual review process for leadership and management.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Employee demographics by race, gender, disability status and role
  • Employee retention by race, gender, disability status and role
  • Faculty role (e.g. tenure-track, teaching, scholarly, clinical, research) and seniority (asst., assoc., full) by race, gender, disability status

Objective

Cultivate and maintain a campus climate that fosters belonging, safety and opportunity to thrive for all employees and students.

Strategies

  • Explicitly recognize campus as being located on tribal homelands and acknowledge continuing tribal presence through physical signage, tribal flags, Indigenous art and ongoing cultural engagement.
  • Expand equity-minded and culturally responsive enrichment workshops through the Building a Community of Equity program and ensure effectiveness of offerings through the BaCE committee.
  • Assure the Office of Equity and Diversity has resources to infuse equity in practice, policy and process.
  • Support the Accessibility Council to better facilitate improvements in instruction and access across campus.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Results of climate surveys
  • Qualitative climate assessment
  • Participation in the Building a Community of Equity program by occupational role

Objective

Develop and employ an equity lens instrument in decision-making, creating and revising of policies, processes and practices across campus departments, units, councils, committees, strategic plan and all campus endeavors.

Strategies

  • Develop a toolkit to assist all campus units in integrating an equity lens process into decision making.
  • Intentionally apply an equity lens to governing processes and practices across departments, units, councils, committees and the Strategic Plan.
  • Provide professional development and enrichment to apply and sustain an equity lens in daily practice across groups, units and all campus endeavors.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Progress report on instrument use

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Goal 5: Community Engagement

Establish and maintain mutually beneficial community outreach, research, financial and civic engagement partnerships.

Objective

Grow community partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, tribes, local activism and alumni.

Strategies

  • Build community presence to elevate WSU Vancouver’s visibility in the region.
  • Join boards of companies/organizations in region to connect with leaders and alumni.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Narrative detailing new partnerships and recent accomplishments
  • Participation in the Future Leaders Project (number of students, number of partnering organizations)

Objective

Expand noncredit and professional programs.

Strategies

  • Develop and implement marketing strategies to increase enrollment in noncredit programs.
  • Recruit experts to offer courses.
  • Engage organizations/companies in the region to invest in cohort training/upskilling courses.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Number of available non-credit courses
  • Enrollment in non-credit courses
  • Number of non-credit course instructors

Objective

Expand Advisory Board engagement to better understand the needs of the community.

Strategies

  • Gather input through community boards and implement change as part of continuous improvement efforts.
  • Ensure that the makeup of Advisory Council is representative of the communities WSU Vancouver serves.
  • Provide Advisory Council with opportunities to engage with students to demonstrate the impact of their contributions.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • List of campus Advisory Boards
  • Number of alumni serving on boards


Objective

Increase the impact of internships, externships and community-based learning opportunities for campus partners and students.

Strategies

  • Streamline service learning processes for providers and faculty by creating best practices and centralizing services where appropriate.

  • Increase support for Future Leaders Project partners.

Measurement and Evaluation

  • Number of companies/organizations served by internships.
  • Estimated number of students participating in experiential learning/internships as part of their major.

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Glossary of terms

A campus of belonging promotes safety, encouragement, mattering and support to be one’s authentic self. Belonging is realized when students, staff, faculty, alumni and campus partners feel respected, accepted, included and connected to the campus community, including its members and spaces (e.g., classrooms). A sense of belonging is fostered by an intentional community where one may become self-actualized and thrive.

Culturally responsive pedagogy is a concept developed by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings based on the work of Paulo Freire on democratizing education. Its central tenets are to recognize and engage students’ cultural knowledge, cultural wealth and prior lived experience to enhance their learning, to empower students from historically underrepresented and excluded groups and to practice critical self-reflection. Culturally responsive pedagogy also focuses on developing a critical consciousness with the central intention to advance equity, inclusion and social justice at the local, national and global levels.

Diversity recognizes the unique lived experiences, perspectives, social identities (e.g., ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, etc.) and cultural wealth of students, staff, faculty, alumni and campus partners. Diversity values everyone and disrupts social hierarchies of power and privilege.

Equity is a process, product and practice. As a process, enacting equity illuminates ways in which individuals are privileged within a system of institutional and structural oppression. As a product, equity results from a dissolution of oppressive institutional structures within any system, leading to a balance of opportunity and outcomes for all. Equity is practiced when individuals and institutions regularly call attention to systemic oppression and racial inequities, take institutional responsibility to dismantle these inequities and commit to change agency to advance equity across institutional policies.

Equity lens is a tool consisting of a set of questions intended to be used in decision-making processes designed to help the campus focus on equity and inclusion in policy, process, practice and outcomes and to interrupt unintended negative outcomes by recognizing perspectives of, and impacts on Black, Brown, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, Native American, Asian and People of Color, and other historically underrepresented and excluded groups.

Experiential learning is a process in which students learn by doing and reflecting on how to apply scholarly knowledge to practical everyday settings. Experiential learning includes activities such as applied lab experiments, field work, project-based capstone courses, internships, clinical placements, apprenticeships, student-teaching, undergraduate research, service-learning courses and study abroad.

Historically excluded groups include people who have been denied access to full rights and opportunities through law, policy, process or practice embedded in institutions, and/or have been targeted by institutional and systemic oppression, including racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism throughout history and in the present. These historic and systemic forms of oppression have disproportionately affected women, Black, Brown, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, Native American, Asian, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.

An inclusive campus is one in which racially minoritized, historically marginalized and underrepresented individuals and groups participate in processes, practices and decision- and policymaking in a way that dismantles the status quo of systemic oppression, including racism, and redistributes power to eliminate minoritization and marginalization in all aspects of campus life.

Justice is the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures and the absence of discrimination and inequities. Justice proactively establishes and reinforces systemic and systematic policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes.

Region refers to the counties and population of Southwest Washington and the greater Portland metropolitan area.

Underrepresented groups are groups for whom historical and systemic forms of oppression produce disproportionate levels of participation and inclusion within an organization or setting. Groups that are currently underrepresented are sometimes a subset of those that are historically excluded.

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact the Office of the Chancellor, 360-546-9589.

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