Wichita State University is a community gem – a great university serving the urban needs of Kansas through teaching, research and public service. Our community has a great opportunity to help shape the future of Wichita State.
WSU president John Bardo asked Ed O’Malley, president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center, and me to co-chair a steering committee that will develop a new strategic direction for the university. The steering committee is a mixture of WSU faculty, staff and students, and members from the Wichita community.
The city of Wichita will benefit from this initiative because an enterprising university fosters economic development through research and technology transfer partnerships in Wichita and the state. Furthermore, a vibrant university attracts young professionals who contribute new and exciting ideas to our community.
The process began with a kickoff retreat hosted by Bardo in September. With more than 400 participants, the engagement was outstanding.
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From the community engagement thus far, we learned several things. First, there is a hunger in the community to take WSU to the next level. This next level includes establishing our niche more firmly and becoming a university of choice for students and employees. People understand that this step will require initiative, resourcefulness and a bit of risk.
Second, the university is recognized for several pockets of excellence – areas that are well-known in the community and even beyond Wichita. There is a desire to learn from these examples and create universal excellence across the university.
To further community engagement in this strategic planning initiative, we are hosting a series of town hall meetings:
• 3:30 to 5 p.m. Feb. 20, WSU Campus Town Hall (Hughes Metropolitan Complex, Sudermann Room).
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 28, Wichita Community Town Hall (Hughes Metropolitan Complex, Room 108).
• 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 23, Wichita Community Town Hall (Downtown YMCA).
• 3:30 to 5 p.m. April 25, WSU Campus Town Hall (Hughes Metropolitan Complex, Room 185).
These town halls are your opportunity to provide input on what the mission and core values of WSU should be, as well as express ideas for a vision and big, audacious goals for WSU.
We encourage anyone with a stake in the future of WSU, a vital cog in the success of the city of Wichita, to be a part of this process and give your input. To stay informed about the strategic planning initiative, please visit wichita.edu/wsustrategy.