Background Info

We have been in a mode of strategic planning since 2006, from the inception of the presidential search process.   Since President Cornwell’s appointment annual strategic priorities memos have served as the College’s strategic plan. In spring 2008, the Trustees, Cabinet, and faculty and staff leadership engaged in a process to identify a “Strategic Issues Agenda” for the College through a process facilitated by an organizational consultant.  In late summer 2008, our strategic planning efforts were redirected to contingency planning with the onset of the sharp economic downturn.  In spring 2009, we re-engaged in our strategic planning process, involving students, faculty, staff, alumni leadership, and trustees in identifying our strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats.

This section of our blog chronicles, through various documents, our planning work leading to our 2009-10 work.

Annual Strategic Priorities Memos

Academic Year 2015-16
Academic Year 2014-15
Academic Year 2013-14
Academic Year 2012-13
Academic Year 2011-12
Academic Year 2010-11
Academic Year 2009-10
Academic Year 2008-09
Academic Year 2007-08

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

In Spring 2009 faculty, students, alumni, administrators, and staff engaged in a series of working sessions to identify, from each of their perspectives, the College of Wooster’s strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats.
SWOT Summary – May 2009
Marketing & Admissions SWOT – April 2009
Institutional SPOT Summary – February 2010

Contingency Planning

Early in Fall 2008, we began a process of contingency planning, which involved modeling scenarios of varying severity and developing a set of strategies, including both cost containment and revenue enhancement, for dealing with them. The five elected faculty committees, the Support Staff Committee, Student Life deans and directors, resident assistants, administrative staff in Enrollment and Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Finance and Business’ directors group, Campus Council, and the Student Government Association were all participants in those conversations.

The process was guided by and, as we address current economic realities, continues to be guided by five principles, laid out by President Cornwell in his Dec. 8, 2008, memo to the campus community:

  • “Our primary focus should be on stewarding the integrity of our core mission and educational values;
  • Measures taken to balance the budget should allow for continued investment in strategic initiatives designed to advance our core mission and to improve our market position;
  • We should make every attempt to accomplish staff reductions by attrition and reassignment rather than the elimination of positions currently held; we recognize that this approach might prove insufficient should the impact of the downturn prove worse than we are currently preparing for;
  • Care should be taken not to implement an intervention that may cost more in terms of revenue lost through student attrition in the long run than it saves in terms of budget reduction in the short run;
  • Other things equal, we should choose interventions that can be reversed over interventions that would be permanent.”

The College established a blog to chronicle our activities relating to the economic downturn as well as highlight activities at other colleges and universities.  Detailed briefings on our contingency planning and key indicators updates are available on our Wiki (Wooster login required).

Strategic Issues Agenda

In spring 2008, the Trustees, Cabinet, and faculty and staff leadership engaged in a process to identify a “Strategic Issues Agenda” for the College through a process facilitated by Max Stark, an organizational consultant.