Town hall meetings and the continuation of the five-year strategic plan

Photo by Alexa Christie | The UWT community comes together to brainstorm new strategies in regards to uphold the six priorities.

On April 13 the town hall meeting in the William W. Philip Hall gathered UWT members to analyze the SWOT model of the university and contribute fresh ideas for its continuation and improvement.

On Wednesday April 13, at the strategic planning meeting took place in the William W. Philip Hall, UWT stakeholders, students and members of the community came together in person to participate in an active session to audit the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis pertaining to UWT.

Over five years ago, UWT created the five-year strategic plan. It is centered around six strategic priorities: students, communities, scholarship, equity, culture and growth. In 2021 the COVID-19 pandemic, along with remote learning and social justice movements, posed unforeseen challenges to the strategic plan. To continue this plan in 2022 and beyond, new opportunities will be created to maximize the power of the strategic plan. 

Chancellor Sheila Edwards Lange and Joe Lawless, Chief Strategy Officer, will be participating in action planning sessions to gather community and student input on insights to better the community at large. 

“This is a detailed process that we started, we’ve made some significant strides in moving the strategic planning process forward,” said Jeff Turner, Praxis HR in relation to the SWOT analysis.

During this town hall meeting, the SWOT analysis focused on identifying external and internal constituencies and stakeholders.

A 12-step process was created to prepare and assess the plan along with keeping the plan after it has been implemented. It is a critical component in upkeeping UWT’s required organizational mandates, in the 12-step process, parts 5A and 5B were analyzed in the internal and external environment.

In the assessment of Strengths, the question analyzed was “What are we doing well?”

In response, community members mentioned UWT is a low-cost conveniently-located state school, with student diversity and a state-supported system with unique undergraduate degrees and the university’s connection to community partners. 

For Weaknesses/Limitations the following questions arose: What do you think we could do better? What skills, competencies, services, or resources are we lacking? 

The community came to the consensus and stated better engagement and coordination with student services be provided for orientation and transition to facilitate the process of incoming students to the university. Along with strong and steadfast leadership and holding folks accountable. Lastly, to operate according to today’s realities. 

While discussing threats the following questions came up: What might cause us challenges or problems in the future? And what obstacles might we face in the next five to ten years? 

The feedback the community gave was that not holding the correct people accountable could interfere with the mission and meeting our goals. For the question of future challenges, the false idea of academic bastions —not needing to change/adjust, as the world adjusts around us. The possible obstacles we could face in the next five to ten years come in terms of relevancy, and the object of serving the needs of students and the community.

When assessing opportunities, they  answered the following questions: What influences, partnerships, and resources could be tapped to help us move forward? What demands are our stakeholders/constituencies likely to make? 

The community came to the agreement of asking for collaboration and connection with functional units at other urban-serving institutions in regards to the first question. The demands our stakeholders are likely to make are as follows, how to align investment and return, cost and return on investment, and wages in the South Sound are not up to King County. 

Now through Aug. 2022, more strategic planning meetings will take place at a stakeholder, faculty and student-level to continue to collect information on new strategies to correctly serve the community and UWT. 

Additional information for future meetings can be found here: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/chancellor/strategic-planning   

Along with the 12 step process: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/sites/default/files/2022-03/UW-Strategic-Planning-Process-Model20220302.pdf 

With future Town Hall and campus updates being found here: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/chancellor/town-halls-campus-updates

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