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The Future Search Mind Map

A clear sense of identity is central to the health and effectiveness of any community. The Mind Map was created by all the participants at the January 2002 Future Search Conference to make explicit a shared sense of identity: What the group held in common and what we shared as a community. This Mind Map was the catalyst for discovering the major themes and influences directly affecting the University. It provided the foundation upon which this strategic plan was built.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Quote

Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it but sail we must, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.

Who are we?

We are a regional comprehensive public university with a national reputation for delivering high quality undergraduate and graduate programs. We are Science and Allied Health; Liberal Studies; Business Administration; Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Teacher Education. We are a student-centered campus and a community of life-long learners. We are teaching, scholarship, creative endeavor and research, and public and professional service.

What do we value?

We value our commitment to high quality academic experiences for all students and we value a strong liberal arts education. We value one another and the contributions each of us makes to our university, our community and our state. We value diversity in ourselves and in our academic programs. We value our students and we support them both in and out of the classroom. We value recommitment to the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea. We value being an academic community of learning and inquiry both locally and globally.

Where to we want to go?

We will focus our resources on enhancing and sustaining our academic community of learning and inquiry. We will continue to be recognized as a model of superior educational achievement and scholarship. Our goal is to build upon our exceptional educational history and create an even stronger learning experience for all in a broadly inclusive community.

Introduction

UW-La Crosse is recognized for its high quality academic programs and its focus on student learning. It is an institution that has experienced significant growth in the quality of the student body over the past nine years, in its physical facilities and in its support of students both in and out of the classroom.

In order to continue our ascent on excellence far into the future, the university community engaged in a strategic planning process that began with a Future Search Conference. Future Search Conferences are designed to build community, make the planning process open and inclusive of all constituents, and focus on the aspirations of the institution ( for more information on Future Search Conferences, please refer to Appendix B) . The Future Search Conference at UW-L included students, faculty, academic staff, classified staff, administrators, alumni, and community members from La Crosse and other areas. Core values, areas of focus, visions, and goals for each of the focus areas in this plan were identified as a result of the work done by the Future Search Conference participants. Utilizing outcomes from the Future Search Conference, the University Joint Planning and Budget Committee ( JPB) developed and refined this plan.

The JPB produced a draft of this strategic plan for the campus community to comment on. Extensive feedback was collected through open meetings, governance group discussions, and written documents received through the Strategic Planning website, e-mail and letters forwarded to the committee. Consequently, this strategic plan is the result of nearly a year of collaborative inquiry, reflection, discussion, and institution-wide feedback by faculty, staff, students, administration and community representatives. The JPB will continue to serve as the primary committee responsible for coordinating implementation efforts and for monitoring the progress of the plan in the future.

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A Guide to the Plan

This document outlines a process for becoming an even stronger academic community of learning and inquiry. This community focuses on student learning supported by all areas of the university community. It provides a broad framework that reflects the values collaboratively agreed upon by members of the university community. Here you will find a vision of what UW-L will become as we focus on those values and work together to create our future.

This strategic planning document celebrates our past and recognizes our present accomplishments. It challenges us to imagine an ambitious future. This plan will be continuously reviewed as we pursue the goals we have identified here and discover new goals that also need to be explored in order to make our visions become reality. With the combined talents of all members of our community, along with the necessary resources, we have the ability to fully realize our goals.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Mission

In addition to the University of Wisconsin System and Core Missions, UW-L has the following select mission: The primary purpose of UW-L is to provide education leading to baccalaureate and selected graduate degrees supplemented by appropriate research and public service activities as further detailed in the following set of goals:

  1. The University shall emphasize excellence in educational programs and teaching.
  2. The University shall provide a broad base of liberal education as a foundation for the intellectual, cultural, and professional development of the students.
  3. The University shall offer undergraduate programs and degrees in the arts, letters, and sciences; education; health and human services; health, physical education, and recreation; and business administration.
  4. The University shall offer graduate programs and degrees related to areas of emphasis and strength within the institution.
  5. The University expects scholarly activity, including research, scholarship and creative endeavor, that support its programs at the baccalaureate degree level, its selected graduate programs, and its special mission.
  6. The University shall support studies related to the environment, culture, heritage, institutions, and economy of La Crosse and the surrounding Upper Mississippi Valley region.
  7. The University shall serve as an academic and cultural center, providing service and professional expertise, and meeting the broader educational needs of the region.

( from the 2001-2003 undergraduate catalogue)

Celebrating our Past...

When our last strategic plan was created in the early 90s, Wisconsin was experiencing growth in student diversity and in the number of college-age students in the general population. UW-L was anticipating a nearly 50 percent turnover rate in faculty by the end of the 90s, which would result in an influx of new faculty from a variety of academic and personal backgrounds. The U. S. economy was embarking on a decade of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Ecological conservation and environmental stewardship were quickly becoming issues of greater importance in the educational and business communities.

In spite of this growth, state institutions saw a continued decline in state funding, resulting in increases in student costs and an increased dependence on extramural funding. Universities across the nation were also facing the challenge of replacing and upgrading aging facilities and equipment. Furthermore, the 90s arguably represented the most explosive decade of technological expansion and accessibility to date. The previous strategic plan, Forward Together, led UW-L into the 21st Century and set the course for that decade s future.

Recognizing Our Present...

Since Forward Together, UW-La Crosse has continued to make great strides in addressing many of the issues and challenges identified in that planning process. The continued development of our high quality academic programs, combined with successful recruitment and retention of exceptionally talented faculty and staff, has resulted in UW-L becoming the institution of choice among many of the most talented students in the state and beyond. UW-L has consistently ranked among the top comprehensive institutions in its class in the nation, a clear reflection of our success as an academic leader. This plan, Building Our Academic Community of Learning and Inquiry, will help to guide us into the future as we build upon the strengths of our past and create new opportunities for continued educational excellence.

Imagining Our Future...

As we continue into the decade, it is important that we focus on a UW-L that:

  1. Delivers a high quality, well-rounded education in an intellectually stimulating environment.
  2. Builds upon a global educational environment that fosters the exploration of issues from multiple perspectives and nurtures a community of invested, life-long learners.
  3. Recognizes people as its greatest asset.
  4. Embraces diversity and creativity in people, , ideas and opportunities.
  5. Supports success for all students in all aspects of their development.
  6. Creates a multidisciplinary, , culturally relevant curriculum that is accessible and responsive to a diverse community of learners.
  7. Maintains a high quality, , accessible education.
  8. Exceeds national standards for physical facilities and technology access.
  9. Provides a broad array of student support services that most efficiently and effectively meet student needs and interests.
  10. Supports a climate of recognition and appreciation for faculty, staff, and student accomplishments.
  11. Recognizes that the quality of personal lives can enhance performance and contributions at the University.
  12. Develops and maintains a community--friendly campus and a campus-friendly community.
  13. Develops a planning process to effectively allocate and utilize existing resources as well as to bring new resources to the university, reacting to an ever-changing environment.

"Building Our Academic Community of Learning and Inquiry" is the next step in the process of planning for future challenges, celebrating accomplishments, and promoting academic excellence into the next decade.

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Values, Key Areas of Focus, Vision and Goals

Visions and dreams need action to become reality. This plan is based on a core set of values that led to the identification of key areas of focus.

Core Set of Values

Commitment to high quality academic experiences for all students. Recognition of the contributions made by each of us to enhance the quality of the education that students experience. Diversity in ourselves and in our academic programs. . Commitment to students and student learning, both in and out of the classroom. Recommitment to the Wisconsin Idea. Creation of a stronger academic community of learning and inquiry both locally and globally.

Key Areas of Focus

We have identified seven areas to focus on in the building of our academic community of learning and inquiry. To reach our full potential, we must concentrate our energy, time and resources in these key areas.

  • Academics
  • Student Development
  • Diversity
  • Community
  • Globalization
  • Quality of Life
  • Resources

Visions and Goals

A vision, along with broad goals for each of the key areas listed above, was developed as part of the planning process. The goals serve as a starting point for discussion and investigation on how to support the vision that we have in each of the key focus areas. Other goals are sure to emerge as exploration of the goals stated here proceeds. As we work together to strengthen our academic community of learning and inquiry, we must be mindful of how each of the focus areas continually intertwine.

Academics

Vision:

Academic programs at UW-L deliver high-quality, well-rounded education in intellectually stimulating environments that foster and produce: critical thinkers, lifelong learners, skilled and collaborative practitioners, and global citizens who use knowledge and technology with wisdom and ethics. The academic programs are multidisciplinary, culturally relevant, and flexible in their design in order to be accessible and responsive to a diverse community of learners.

Goals:

  • Deliver a broad--based rigorous General Education program.
  • Create a culture where there are high expectations for students and faculty in the areas of academics, scholarship and creative activity, and service.
  • Promote undergraduate and graduate academic programs that deliver a complete, well-rounded education.
  • Create a culture of teaching, , scholarship and creative activity, and service conducive to excellence and quality.

Student Development

Vision:

As a student-centered campus, UW-L will enhance student development by providing services and programs that address the needs of all students. By supporting the personal, physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, vocational/ professional, social, cultural, and global development of students, UW-L will nurture a community of active citizens and involved life-long learners.

Goals:

  • Expand and enhance advising and mentoring programs.
  • Enrich learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom.
  • Promote inclusive student involvement, leadership, service, and activism across the university and community.
  • Foster programs and services that continue to optimize student health and quality of life issues.

Diversity

Vision:

UW-L is committed to ensuring an intellectually challenging and welcoming learning environment for all members of the campus community. Students, administrators, faculty, staff and community members learn and work in a physically and psychologically safe environment where they are valued for their similarities and their differences. Differences have been recognized as valued resources for the academic, cultural, and personal development that has occurred in our country and our world; therefore, they are viewed as essential to an intellectually stimulating environment. An atmosphere that fosters the exploration of issues from multiple perspectives will be commonplace for academic exploration and growth. Because diversity is an integral part of UW-L, students graduate with a commitment to being culturally knowledgeable world citizens. This diversity vision is designed to supplement and not to duplicate or replace Plan 2008.

Goals:

  • Build a campus culture that fosters recruitment and retention of a diverse administration, faculty, staff and students.
  • Infuse diversity throughout the curriculum.
  • Develop a structure for faculty and staff that includes and values diversity.
  • Centralize and coordinate diversity resources and programs to optimize impact and efficiency.
  • Foster the mutual expansion of diversity through reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community.

Community

Vision:

We envision a community-friendly campus and a campus-friendly community that are interconnected; these communities collaborate to share resources and expertise; achieve mutual goals by building relationships with stakeholders; and embrace diversity and creativity in people, ideas, and opportunities.

Goals:

  • Develop, , nurture and sustain an inclusive community where all voices are heard and valued.
  • Explore work/ / life issues that strengthen the broader campus community. (such as partner benefits, child care, elderly care, health and wellness education.)
  • Provide regular community building and recognition events on campus.
  • Develop and maintain positive university and community relations.

Globalization

Vision:

UW-L desires to increase international participation for all students, faculty and staff in order to help them develop as global citizens. We will continue and expand our commitment to excellence in international programs.

Goals:

  • Enrich international experiences.
  • Develop on--going campus programs to promote cultural competence.
  • Promote greater globalization of curriculum.
  • Develop opportunities for global interaction.

Quality of Life

Vision:

We envision the university as a great place to live, learn, work, and play. UW-L is committed to providing an environment that is healthy, secure, and intellectually and culturally stimulating. The freedom to explore and express new ideas without repercussions is particularly crucial to our quality of life. UW-L is committed to nurturing an atmosphere of tolerance, fairness, and trust. The obligations and responsibilities of work and personal life are recognized as changeable over time and circumstances. Accommodating demands of work and personal life are important to overall life satisfaction. Strong efforts will be made to arrive at workable balances. Healthy lifestyles are promoted and supported by our programs and facilities. Programs to nourish the mind, body, and soul are valued and advanced. Accessible physical facilities and grounds will be clean, well maintained, comfortable, and indicate a sense of pride.

Goals:

  • Promote and support arts and humanities events and programs.
  • Enhance programs for advising and counseling.
  • Promote programs dealing with substance abuse and overall health and wellness.
  • Create an environment that fosters balance between professional and personal life and supports healthy lifestyles.
  • Integrate more art and people friendly areas into the landscape and physical surroundings.
  • Enhance orientation and support programs for new staff, , faculty, and students.

Resources

Vision:

UW-L strives to build upon its resources. University resources (people, time, facilities, and monies) will be directed to the highest priorities in pursuit of the greatest quality and value and in accordance with the overall strategic plan. We will continue to explore new and innovative methods to better utilize existing resources and we will aggressively seek new funding sources.

Goals:

  • Develop methods to ensure that allocations are linked to the strategic plan and Enrollment Management-21 and are regularly assessed.
  • Explore alternative methods, mixes and combinations to use existing resources.
  • Garner / obtain resources for increased funding.

Enhancing and Sustaining Our Community of Learning and Inquiry

To be successful in enhancing and sustaining our vision, we will need to develop a method of accountability. The Joint Planning & Budget Committee will work in conjunction with other University governance groups to ensure that the exploration and implementation of the visions and goals set forth here actually become reality. The Joint Planing & Budget Committee should work with the Chancellor to ensure inclusive campus representation. The Provost/ Vice Chancellor will work in close collaboration with the JPB to ensure continuity in the evolution of this vision.

As we consider each new opportunity, we must ask ourselves how that opportunity helps us enhance academics, student learning and development at UW-L. How does it support our understanding and embrace of diversity? How will it build a stronger community? How does it broaden our global understanding and how does it improve quality of life for our university community? Above all, how will this opportunity help us to create the greater Academic Community of Learning and Inquiry to which we aspire?

The future of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse lies in our hands. We know who we are. We know what we value. We know where we want to go. Together, we will create a university that lives its values and meets its goals in an inclusive community of learning and inquiry.

Just watch us!

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Suggested Planning Strategies Emerging Through the Planning Process

Below are the goals developed for each of the areas of focus: Academics, Student Development, Diversity, Community, Globalization, Quality of Life and Resources. Included with each goal are the strategies that emerged from the Future Search Conference and through the subsequent planning sessions. While there is not universal agreement on these strategies, there was general agreement that they should be shared with the campus groups responsible for achieving the goals. Those groups should consider, accept, modify or reject them.

Academics

Deliver a broad-based, rigorous General Education program.

  • Promote general education as a four-year endeavor for all students.
  • Ensure quality teaching in all courses.
  • Ensure that all General Education courses provide significant, rigorous learning experiences for students.
  • Explore the development of a cross-disciplinary General Education capstone course.
  • Expand the First Year Experience.

Create a culture where there are high expectations for students and faculty in the areas of academics, scholarship and creative activity, and service.

  • Academically challenge students at a level that exceeds their current performance level.
  • Create an atmosphere saturated with opportunities for the faculty mentoring of students in scholarly and creative endeavors.

Promote undergraduate and graduate academic programs that deliver a complete, well-rounded education.

  • Integrate innovations that promote a range of cognitive processes such as critical thinking, problem solving, and inquiry based learning.
  • Increase educational opportunities that emphasize teamwork, the communication of complex issues and the development of lifelong learning skills.
  • Examine the array of graduate programs and strengthen select key areas.
  • Increase opportunities for testing out of introductory level courses.

Create a culture of teaching, scholarship and creative activity, and service conducive to excellence and quality.

  • Explore reducing the average teaching load to 9 hours [ or three courses ] across campus.
  • Explore the institution of a regularly scheduled Campus Scholarship Presentation Forum.
  • Ensure that class sizes are conducive to fostering excellence in teaching and learning.

Student Development

Expand and enhance student advising and mentoring programs.

  • Explore a centralized developmental advising center.
  • Expand peer advising and mentoring.
  • Encourage faculty/ staff/ student involvement in advising and mentoring.

Enrich learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom.

  • Expand service learning opportunities.
  • Develop living/ learning center.
  • Expand senior capstone opportunities.
  • Promote access for students with disabilities.

Promote inclusive student involvement, leadership, service and activism across the university and community.

  • Investigate the creation of Student Dean Positions.
  • Increase university access to student input.

Foster programs and services that continue to optimize student health and quality of life issues.

  • Promote a physical facilities plan for one-stop shopping for student services. .
  • Enhance collaboration/ communication of student services across campus.

Diversity

Build a campus culture that fosters recruitment and retention of a diverse administration, faculty, staff and students.

  • Identify best practices for enhancing diversity and communicate to appropriate campus entities.
  • Continue to improve the physical environment for its inclusiveness as a universally designed space that welcomes all.
  • Ensure universal design for accessibility as a norm across the University in the physical plant, programs, and curricular materials.
  • Explore the creation of cultural proficiency programs and encourage faculty, staff, student and administrative participation.
  • Evaluate service learning as an opportunity to enhance the diversity experience for students at UW-L.

Increase diversity throughout the curriculum.

Develop a reward structure for faculty and staff that includes and values diversity.

  • Value diversity efforts in teaching, scholarship and service, on campus and in the community, in the consideration of retention, tenure, merit and promotion.
  • Examine equity issues, such as domestic partner benefits, and pay equity.

Centralize and coordinate diversity resources and programs to optimize impact and efficiency.

  • Build a central, accessible calendar in order to better coordinate events and efforts related to diversity.
  • Consolidate financial resources supporting diversity to better coordinate the use of these funds.
  • Centralize web resources on diversity and inform the campus as to where they are.
  • Coordinate brochures so that there appears to be a common theme for different diversity services, programs and student organizations.
  • Identify ways to physically consolidate existing programs into a single space/ area through reorganization, renovation and remodeling.
  • Centralize reporting of diversity organizations to one office.

Foster the mutual expansion of diversity through reciprocal relationships between the campus and the community.

  • Continue to examine outreach efforts including Academic Success Institute and working with high schools.

Community

Develop, nurture and sustain an inclusive community where all voices are heard and valued.

  • Include faculty, academic staff, classified staff and students on all joint committees as appropriate.
  • Include faculty, academic staff, classified staff and students on Search and Screen committees as appropriate.
  • Explore the creation of an Open Forum with the Chancellor that allows all voices to be heard.
  • Explore the creation of a University Senate that represents all stakeholders.
  • Explore the creation of more leadership opportunities through Administrative Internships, Student Dean Positions, and Student Advisory Committees within colleges/ units.
  • Develop a campus gathering place where all can collaborate to share resources and expertise.
  • Continue to use fair employment practices.

Explore work/ life issues that strengthen the broader campus community.

  • Establish a permanent Work/ Life committee.
  • Expand programs such as child care and health and wellness education.
  • Foster the development of work/ life balance.
  • Explore partner benefits, elder care and other programs necessary for a successful learning community.

Provide regular community building and recognition events on campus.

  • Explore expansion of Academic Staff and Classified Staff awards and recognition.
  • Expand development of College and University awards to recognize teaching, research, and service.
  • Establish a weekly common hour on campus.
  • Mentor new members of our community.
  • Re-evaluate the types of activities that are used in retention & promotion decisions.

Develop and maintain positive university and community relations.

  • Collaborate with the greater La Crosse area community to develop partnerships that share resources and expertise.
  • Explore development of a university involvement center as a clearinghouse for community service.
  • Improve university public relations.

Globalization

Enrich international experiences.

  • Increase the percentage of students studying abroad and increase international internships.
  • Increase the number of international students on campus.
  • Increase opportunities for international teaching and research and creative activity.
  • Increase international scholars and staff on campus.

Develop on-going campus programs to promote cultural competence and promote international awareness.

  • Create opportunities for faculty, staff and students to share their direct international experience.

Promote greater globalization of curriculum.

  • Develop a process to ensure high quality academic standards for faculty-led summer and short-term programs.
  • Ensure that all courses have an international component.

Develop opportunities for greater global interaction.

  • Develop an integrated approach to embracing an international perspective.
  • Integrate international students into campus advising and support structures.
  • Develop partnership opportunities with a network of international institutions and universities.
  • Investigate the creation of an international center.

Quality of Life

Promote and support arts and humanities events and programs.

Support and enhance programs for advising and counseling.

Promote educational programs dealing with substance abuse and overall health and wellness.

  • Increase the visibility of alcohol and drug abuse issues and initiatives.

Create an environment that fosters balance between professional and personal life.

  • Develop a work-life balance plan and support processes to accommodate the balance of work and personal life obligations and responsibilities.
  • Create a Work/ Life Advisory Committee to advise campus leaders and the Office of Human Resources on work/ life issues.
  • Support the goals of the Program Assistant Training Group and work with unions representing classified staff to facilitate work/ life balances.

Integrate more art and people friendly areas into the landscape and physical surroundings.

Promote and maintain active facilities and programs directed at healthy lifestyles.

Enhance orientation and support programs for new staff, faculty, and students.

Resources

Develop methods to ensure that allocations are linked to the strategic plan and EM-21 and are regularly assessed.

Explore alternative methods, mixes and combinations to better utilize existing resources.

Garner/ obtain resources for increased funding.

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Appendixes

Appendix A: UW-La Crosse Joint Planning & Budget Committee
Strategic Planning Committee

Appendix B: Future Search Conference Detailed Explanation

Appendix C: UW-L Future Search Conference Participation List

Appendix D: A Brief History of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Appendix E: Current University Profile

 

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