In 2020, Weber State University engaged in a strategic planning process. Over the course of a year, faculty, staff, students and other key stakeholders helped inform and craft a new strategic plan for the university. In March 2021, the WSU Board of Trustees approved the following plan, which will guide the institution through 2026.
Weber State University provides transformative educational experiences for students of all identities and backgrounds through meaningful personal connections with faculty and staff in and out of the classroom. The university promotes student achievement, equity and inclusion, and vibrant community relationships through multiple credentials and degree pathways, experiential learning, research, civic engagement, and stewardship. Pending Utah Board of Higher Education approval in May 2021.
Weber State University will be a leader in transforming lives by meeting all students where they are, challenging and guiding them to achieve their goals academically and in life.
Weber State University values:
Embracing all identities through the promotion of belonging, creativity, uniqueness, and self-expression;
Fostering achievement and transparency in learning and discovery through collaboration; and
Nurturing success through engaging, supportive, and personalized opportunities in a rapidly changing world.
Access: The access core theme reflects WSU’s commitment to providing an affordable, quality education to communities with significant socioeconomic and cultural differences.
Learning: The learning core theme is central to WSU’s mission to provide transformative educational experiences and its commitment to support student success.
Community: The community core theme reflects WSU’s role as an educational, cultural and economic leader for the region.
Strategic Plan Enrollment Growth Assumption
To facilitate the goals of the plan, university total headcount enrollment will grow to 32,000 students by fall 2025, which will include growth in the number of matriculated degree-seeking students to 18,700.
By fall 2025, WSU will become an Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution by growing our percent of students who identify as Hispanic or Latino descent to 15%.
An Equity Framework
Equity is the foundational principle for fulfilling Weber State University’s mission as an open enrollment institution that welcomes all learners and nurtures their educational aspirations. Equity is the foundation of access to higher education, creates conditions for meaningful learning and academic excellence for everyone, and helps us fulfill our special responsibility to our local community. Equity is a statewide priority. An equity framework is, therefore, integrated into all of the goals, outcomes, and strategies in the WSU Strategic Plan.
Disparities in access and educational attainment pervade higher education. In order to eliminate these disparities, we must adopt a framework that defines equity as “an actionable concept of quality and practice.” The framework must pervade the entire institution rather than be viewed as an add-on without institution-wide commitment and accountability (Witham et al. 2015, p. 3).
Equity-minded practices require:
- Willingness to look at student outcomes disaggregated by race and ethnicity as well as socioeconomic status;
- Recognition that individual students are not responsible for the unequal outcomes of groups that have historically experienced discrimination and marginalization in the United States;
- Respect for the aspirations and struggles of students who are not well-served by the current educational system;
- Belief in the fairness of allocating additional college resources to students who have greater needs due to the systemic shortcomings of our educational system in providing for them;
- Recognition that the elimination of structural racism in institutions of higher education requires intentional critical deconstruction of structures, policies, practices, norms and values assumed to be race neutral. (Witham et al. 2015, p. 2).
These practices are in alignment with the Utah System of Higher Education’s Statement on Racial & Social Injustice. Furthermore, it follows the August 2020 Resolution to Advance Equitable Systemic Change Within the Utah System of Higher Education and utilizes a similar structure for assessment, impact and improvement for all learners.