Strategic Goals and Objectives
GOAL 5: UNIVERSITY CULTURE AND PRIDE
The institution will create and sustain an intellectual, collegial, and diverse community that treasures its history, provides a supportive and safe environment, encourages the free exchange of ideas, and instills pride in the University.
Transformative Student Experience
Intellectual discourse should be extended beyond the classroom to where students meet.
Winston-Salem State University will engage students in learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom, that expand their intellectual horizons, heighten their aspirations and transform their lives.
There is a great sense of culture and pride at Winston-Salem State University. Many alumni talk passionately about how their experiences at this institution transformed their lives. People speak with great honor about faculty and staff members who opened doors of opportunity or pushed them towards excellence. Classmates often reminisce about prominent students from their era who challenged ideas and moved the institution to new heights. These types of intellectual exchanges continue to occur on our campus, as confirmed by recent data from the National Survey on Student Engagement, but many believe that the long tradition of pride and action driven by academic excellence is fading among our students. This concern is not unique to WSSU. Institutions across this country are engaged in activities designed to stimulate the intellectual life of their campuses.
Stimulating greater intellectual discourse on our campus will require that we extend the classroom to the student center and the residence halls. We must invest more resources in student activities that create opportunities for the exchange of ideas in the places where students meet and that bring our students together to discuss the important questions facing our society. These investments must also move some of the work of the faculty from the classrooms and laboratories to the breezeway and dormitories.
To accomplish this goal, we must:
- Invest in new and renovated facilities designed to build a greater sense of community among students, faculty and staff
- Create opportunities to bridge the activities of student organizations and Student Affairs with the academic lives of students
- Enhance the student residential experience and update residence halls to support a living/learning environment
- Improve the amount and quality of evening and weekend programming to promote greater intellectual and social life on the campus
- Increase the engagement of non-residential students
- Improve services for disabled students
- Provide opportunities for the development of leadership skills
- Provide opportunities for service that impact the quality of life for those served and contribute to student learning
- Create the environment for greater intellectual diversity and discourse both in and out of the classroom
- Provide opportunities for students to engage the world both on and off the campus
- Expand opportunities for faculty/staff and student interaction and engagement outside the classroom
Inclusive Governance, Leadership and Engagement
In this environment, all University stakeholders have an opportunity to express their views on key issues affecting the University.
Winston-Salem State University will empower leadership at all levels, promote representative and inclusive governance, and encourage active participation of all stakeholders in the work of the University.
The long-term health of the academic program at any institution rests upon fully engaging all interested stakeholders. The process of entertaining diverse perspectives often culminates in better and more creative solutions. Institutions of higher education have long recognized that collective input yields better decisions and thus adopted the process of shared governance as the vehicle for opening up the channels for decision making. On campuses where shared governance works well, there are opportunities for mutual participation by faculty, students, staff and alumni on matters of importance to the institution.
Although many groups have been involved in decision making at WSSU, the process of shared governance is relatively new to us. There are long traditions of faculty governance, student government, Board of Trustee involvement and alumni input, but the integration of these efforts towards one goal has been sporadic at best. In recent years, the faculty has taken a more active role in staking its claim to shared governance. The faculty wrote a Constitution and standing committees of the faculty have become active in making decisions about issues concerning them, as well as issues concerning the academic programs. The staff is also showing increasing involvement in the University through its Staff Senate. The task before us is to insure that these and other bodies are working more cohesively. It is an inherent goal of this Plan that faculty, students and staff have input on a body of issues that face the entire University and that alumni input and involvement be sought on a regular basis as well.
Towards this goal, we will:
- Review governance and committee structures to enhance stakeholder engagement and to ensure efforts are aligned with strategic priorities
- Continuously seek to improve transparency and communication in the decision making process
- Design and implement a comprehensive program of management and leadership development, to include department chairs
- Create more opportunities for alumni groups to engage the work of the institution
Athletics and Student Life
Construction of the new Bowman Gray Fieldhouse was the result of a successful collaboration between the University and the City of Winston-Salem to upgrade athletic facilities.
The University will support athletic and other co-curricular activities that engage students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders in the life of the University and generate pride of association and support for the University.
Athletics is an important co-curricular activity that contributes to student development and generates pride of association, alumni engagement and community support. Investments in Athletics should be consistent with its role in support of the academic mission of the University. The analysis associated with the strategic planning process made it clear that the transition to Division I Athletics reversed our priorities, as resources from academic units went to coaches’ salaries and more scholarship aid went to student-athletes than to merit scholars. This analysis also revealed that the program was disproportionately reliant on student fee revenue and that deficits would continue to accumulate. Given that the projected deficits in Athletics would continue to drain limited resources away from academic priorities and undermine efforts to enhance the institution’s academic reputation, the University decided to terminate the transition to a NCAA Division I institution and instead to remain in Division II. Having made this decision, WSSU is committed to developing a competitive Division II program that contributes to a vibrant university culture and generates pride of association.
The University will also work to enhance other co-curricular activities and expand cultural events to better connect the campus and the community.
To achieve this goal, WSSU will:
- Provide greater balance in the investment between revenue and non-revenue sports
- Seek to improve the academic achievement, retention and graduation rates of student-athletes
- Seek to increase alumni giving and other philanthropic support for Athletics and Student Life
- Improve recreational and cultural opportunities for students, faculty, staff and alumni
The university’s alumni continue to give back as these alumni did during their 50th class reunion.
WSSU will develop initiatives and activities to ensure that alumni are well-informed about the affairs of the University and have ample opportunities to be engaged and to support the University.
Successful and supporting alumni represent the best measure of institutional effectiveness and are the best equipped to help the institution tell its story. All colleges and universities, but especially HBCUs, must find effective ways to continue to engage alumni in the affairs of the University. Alumni represent powerful role models and can serve as the link between current students and the world of work or graduate school. While WSSU has a strong and proud alumni network, there are continuing opportunities to increase the level of alumni engagement and support for the new vision for the University.
To increase alumni engagement and giving, WSSU will:
- Improve and increase the capacity to engage alumni
- Create more opportunities for alumni groups to engage in the work of the institution
- Improve communication with alumni to ensure that they remain informed of University initiatives and plans
- Collect information from alumni about their educational experiences to improve educational practices