October 14, 2015
Dear Campus Community:
My first six months on campus have included many conversations with faculty, staff, students and community members—conversations which have naturally turned quickly to anticipation about what is next for UW Tacoma.
Building on those conversations, I have launched a comprehensive campus strategic planning process designed to accomplish two related assignments. The first is to set a vision and direction that offer inspiration and clarity for UW Tacoma. The second is to define the initial steps to start us down the pathway to accomplish that vision.
Key to success of the plan is actively involving all stakeholders in an open process. Led by co-chairs Dr. Bonnie Becker and Richard Wilkinson, that work has begun. Their 30-person Strategic Plan Steering Committee is working hard to assure stakeholders are consulted along the way and that the plan is of and for the entire campus and community.
While this plan is taking shape, I have identified several areas of critical importance for early action which I believe cannot wait for the planning process to be completed. Therefore in parallel to the planning effort, I am asking the campus to continue to move forward on these areas of critical importance to that plan and for which we are already well prepared to proceed:
Shared plan for enrollment growth and student success: I have asked Vice Chancellor Bill Kunz to lead discussions engaging our faculty and academic leadership and to work closely with Cedric Howard and Student and Enrollment Services on the related issues of enrollment growth, retention and student persistence. The goal will be to formulate a set of recommendations, building on the work of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) consultants around retention, our academic programs’ recent focus on the lower-division experience, the augmentation of our Teaching and Learning Center, and the continued demand by students who embrace UW Tacoma as their university of choice. The outcome of these recommendations will inform our strategic plan and budget development and priorities. I have asked that these recommendations be made to me by the end of winter quarter.
Academic leadership: Campus visits of candidates for the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs are underway. We are launching searches for our open academic director/dean positions. We must develop a comprehensive plan for academic programs to move toward becoming schools. Recruitment will benefit from the planning work already accomplished and to come: we have an opportunity to hire leaders who appreciate our forward-thinking spirit and who reflect our values. The planning effort underway will provide them with a framework to build upon. We will also launch a search for an experienced individual to lead educational outreach and begin to work across campus to build capacity and support to meet growing demands from our community for extended learning opportunities.
Race and equity: Many of us are already deeply involved in ensuring that inclusion and equity are fundamental values through all phases of campus life for faculty, staff and students. On, we launched a new Race and Equity Steering Committee, chaired by Diversity Resource Center Director Ricardo Ortega. I have charged Sharon Parker and Ricardo with leading our campus in ongoing dialog intended to enhance how equity, inclusion and diversity are embedded in the fabric of UW Tacoma.
I am confident we will develop a set of critical, measureable goals and objectives for the early actions above, and for other actions and initiatives identified through our planning process. I am reassured of our success when I reflect on the talented Steering Committee representing all of us. There will be multiple ways for you to influence our plan in the coming months by sharing your insights, priorities and by providing feedback. The Steering Committee will be announcing those opportunities as they are developed. I invite you to stay informed about the progress on our plan by visiting the strategic planning website.
I am excited to be on this journey together.
Mark A. Pagano