CHHS Strategic Plan, 2016-2020

As I begin my 18th month as Dean, I am so pleased to unveil our new strategic plan and it is now retrievable, Western Kentucky University (WKU) College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) Strategic Plan. From my first day as Dean, I have strived to obtain strategic balance in the functions of teaching, research and service, balancing stability and flexibility. I believe you will find this strategic plan nimble, yet profound with a great breadth of material that will guide CHHS through 2020, and that will inspire all to excel in pedagogy, scholarship and community service.

We revisited and revised our mission and vision statements, as important changes in the environment have occurred. The strategic plan also includes a summary of our planning process, our core values, vision/mission, strategic intent as well as our strategic objectives, as described here:

  1. Implement effective faculty development programs to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.
  2. Enhance existing international educational opportunities and develop new ones.
  3. Increase the opportunity to produce quality research, peer-reviewed publications, extramural grant/contract activity, and technology-based innovation.
  4. Enhance interprofessional education and service learning for students.
  5. Initiate and cultivate CHHS interdisciplinary collaboration at all levels within the University.
  6. Create an environment within CHHS that fosters diversity and inclusivity among students, staff and faculty.
  7. Provide opportunities for staff, faculty, and students to participate in community outreach programs.
  8. Implement workshop events for staff trainings and professional development.
  9. Implement the distribution of a staff handbook for quick reference to university systems.

In a previous blog, CHHS Strategic Plan: Phase 1 I articulated that it was important that CHHS had an active and relevant strategic plan, all of which is imperative for purposes of communication, marketing, and fundraising. We needed to identify high-priority areas that can help us accelerate more significant positive impact upon allied health and human service professions. Support for decisions is predicated on the ownership of decision making. The process of the strategic plan began 12 months ago and I strived for “bottom up” participation as a way to ensure support for this final version of the plan.

The first phase of the strategic planning process consisted of a one-day retreat held August 2015, that included the CHHS Administrative Council (Department Heads, Institute Directors, Associate Deans, Assistant to the Dean, Senior Development officer and myself) and our facilitator. Our facilitator was Dr. Dan Pesut, Professor of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. We learned several novel and innovative leadership techniques including strengths based and values based leadership and universal patterns of high performance, the principles of liberating structures (rules governing how we choose to relate to others), and ecocycle planning that invites a leader to focus on creative destruction and renewal in addition to typical themes regarding growth and efficiency. Then in January, the second phase of the strategic planning process was a one-day retreat. All CHHS faculty and staff, along with CHHS stakeholders and students attended the retreat. At this retreat, we used Open Space Technology (OST) that considers both freedom & accountability where participants create their own agenda. We sparked action on strategic matters that meant the most to the participants. OST is an effective, economical, fast and easily-repeatable strategy for organizing meetings between 5 and 1,000 participants. We had nearly 300 individuals participate in this event and started with the following premises:

    • Where do we have successes we can celebrate?
    • Where do we have assets we can capitalize on?
    • Strived for this bottom up planning as a way to ensure support for the final products.

We considered topics such as interprofessional education, applied research, teaching effectiveness, service learning, media and marketing, just to name a few. So many notes and ideas were put forward from so many participants. The OST platform enabled an egalitarian way of fostering input and sharing of information. After this productive day in January, I met with my, CHHS Dean’s Internal Advisory Council and then formed a new CHHS Coordinating Council that included equal representation from each department/school. Both of these groups compiled these detailed notes and, in turn, synthesized the key salient themes. A draft was developed by the CHHS Coordinating Council and provided to the CHHS Dean’s Internal Advisory Council, which reviewed the final draft. The final draft was then given to the CHHS Administrative Council to review. Significant feedback emerged from this draft and a sub-committee from each of these committees assisted me in preparing the final version of the strategic plan.

In sum, this plan was the result of many dedicated individuals committed to CHHS. We will review the plan every year and will not have a failure for follow-up. I am excited for what the next four years will entail at CHHS.

Excited for the journey,