WSU Strategic Directions Framework

At the outset of the 2015 academic year, six draft themes were reviewed by the President’s cabinet and were introduced to the campus community for feedback during Welcome Week. Members of the Long Range Planning (LRP) committee incorporated campus feedback and revised the framework to include five themes. At the beginning of spring semester, the entire campus was invited to provide feedback on the refined themes at a gallery walk and through an online survey. The LRP committee again incorporated feedback and developed the final framework of the WSU Strategic Directions. The framework is being distributed to all constituent groups for their final review beginning April 1, 2015.

The WSU Strategic Directions Themes:

  • Student Learning (programs and people)
  • Student Success (people, programs, price)
  • Stewards of Place and Resources (place, programs, price, pride)
  • Inclusive Excellence (people, price, programs)
  • Relationships (people, place, pride, programs)

Download the complete Strategic Directions Framework document (PDF) 


WSU offers the most innovative and highest-quality programs that serve our students and our communities.


Create and sustain a coordinated and rigorous set of learning experiences inside and outside the classroom in order to prepare students for their post-graduate life

A. Develop and implement Academic Plan 2015-2020 

  1. Enhance teaching and learning by increasing opportunities for engaging and authentic experiences (This may include labs, online learning, community outreach, study abroad, interdisciplinary work, professional and career development opportunities, intergenerational learning opportunities, connection with the larger community, community partnerships, etc.) 
  2. Foster a supportive environment for faculty and staff to promote excellence in teaching and learning 
  3. Design and deliver academic programs that overcome barriers of time, place, and tradition 
  4. Foster an environment that promotes and supports student research and creative scholarship 
  5. Develop an extended campus that delivers appropriate academic programs that address regional economic needs through strategic partnerships and resource development 
  6. Engage and explore academic and co-curricular programs to support regional and community needs 

B. Coordinate university-wide assessment plans and processes

  1. Develop a university-wide assessment plan that includes student learning outcomes, methodology, measurement, measures, and improvement processes to “close the loop” 
  2. Assess the quality of delivery modes: synchronous, asynchronous, apprentice models, online, other 
  3. Share best practices in teaching and learning 

C. Maintain public accountability

  1. Strengthen and maintain accreditation and standing for our academic and co-curricular programs (e.g., AACSB, NCAA, CSWE, ABET, CAEP, NASM, etc.) 
  2. Complete requirements for HLC 2016 follow-up report and choose an HLC Quality Initiative project
  3. Maintain relevant memberships in national and international organizations


WSU is recognized as a student-centered university, where faculty, staff, and administrators are dedicated to promoting a culture of student success, which includes eliminating barriers, and maximizing students’ academic, emotional, and social growth and development as they reach their educational goals.


Enhance the student experience while evolving to meet the needs of future students by providing comprehensive support programs and services so that students can successfully meet their goals

A. Develop and implement a Strategic Enrollment Plan for 2014 – 2019 that addresses recruitment, retention, and graduation of students

  1. Monitor enrollment trends and demographics to address the needs of future students
  2. Build on the current first-year experience at WSU by creating a more comprehensive early warning system and investing in a sophomore year experience
  3. Maximize integration of admissions, financial aid, residence life, orientation, and registration systems to create a seamless “point-of-entry” experience for incoming first-year, transfer and graduate students, regardless of location or delivery mode
  4. Increase available scholarship opportunities for both incoming and continuing students
  5. Design and deliver student support services that overcome barriers of time, place, and tradition
  6. Seek collaboration among all the WSU stakeholders for student recruitment and community building

B. Promote a culture of student success

  1. Provide increased support programs and services for diverse populations of students, such as post-traditional students, underrepresented minority students, extended-campus students, international students, low-income students, first-generation students, and students dealing with physical/mental/chemical-health issues
  2. Engage WSU faculty more in retention efforts by creating opportunities for increased student-faculty interaction and providing more and improved advisor training for faculty advisors
  3. Establish and communicate clear pathways to graduation for students and other more robust advising and planning tools
  4. Promote and support a culture of high-quality advising that includes academic and career planning

C. Promote lifetime personal well-being of all students through active and engaged participation in the WSU “Seven Dimensions of Wellness” (intellectual, physical, occupational, social, environmental, emotional, and spiritual)

  1. Continue and expand partnerships and collaboration within the campus community
  2. Explore the role of wellness in the development of curriculum and programs
  3. Expand and encourage student participation in extracurricular activities that enhance student engagement


WSU community members are wise stewards of our resources who make decisions that allow future Warriors to carry on this tradition.


Enhance a culture of learning and stewardship of resources at Winona State University, and prepare students to become responsible citizens and community members

A. Develop and implement a 2015 facilities master plan

  1. Implement bonding projects, including Education Village
  2. Consider the needs of departments, units and diverse students when planning for future uses of vacated spaces and new additions to the campus
  3. Update all classrooms with a focus on adequacy of size and technology needs of the contemporary learning environment
  4. Incorporate the residence hall master plan
  5. Develop a facilities master plan for Winona State Rochester
  6. Communicate with and include the university community during the planning process

B. Practice and teach sustainability

  1. Establish a structure to ensure that WSU continually works to understand and meet the broader scope of its sustainability responsibilities (This may include developing investment strategies, purchase agreements, and facility guidelines that result in the use of cleaner energy sources and energy conservation; creating a Department of Sustainability Studies; and establishing a Sustainability Coordinator position.)
  2. Identify and fund a sustainability flagship project that would become symbolic of the vision (e.g., wind turbine, adoption of an alternative fuel source, establishment of an environmental education center)
  3. Pursue closer collaboration with local and regional groups to promote sustainable practices

C. Make use of the distinctive attributes of our initiatives and local environments to create rich and unique learning experiences

  1. Explore ways to capitalize on learning opportunities at WSU-Rochester and other signature learning centers (such as Education Village and STEM Village), community-engaged learning programs, and extended campuses (such as Austin and La Crescent)
  2. Expand the innovative programs that enhance the concept of the “outdoor university” (such as the Cal Fremling Interpretive Center and Classroom, Winona State Arboretum, Outdoor Education and Recreation Center and other natural learning environments)


WSU is a welcoming and inclusive university preparing culturally competent students, faculty, and staff to live, work, and become valuable contributors in a global society. WSU strives to be a culturally competent and pluralistic institution.


Increase diversity in the university community and embrace a culture of inclusive excellence

A. Refine and implement the 2014 university diversity plan

  1. Increase equity in access, opportunity, and success for underrepresented students (particularly racial/ethnic minorities, first generation, low-income, veterans, post-traditional, GLBTQ, and students with disabilities) by strengthening strategic partnerships and community relationships
  2. Increase and improve programmatic efforts in academic and non-academic areas to develop cultural competency and global awareness among students and employees
  3. Strengthen the efforts to recruit and retain diverse employees in all areas

B. Assess and address the strengths and gaps in the current practices for diversity and inclusivity in the WSU community

C. Create organizational structures and processes that ensure the enhancement of a culturally competent, welcoming, and pluralistic university

  1. Develop greater awareness and understanding of the priorities and needs of all learners by sharing institutional knowledge about learner characteristics and by gaining insights from practices and research available inside and outside of the university


WSU is recognized as an engaged university where community and university members work in respectful collaboration to address campus and community identified needs, to deepen students’ civic and academic learning, to enhance community well-being, and to enrich the scholarship of WSU.


Strengthen internal and external relationships by promoting an environment that enriches WSU, Winona and Rochester community constituents

A. Develop and enhance programming to strengthen a culture of civility and collegiality on our campuses and in our local communities

  1. Promote citizenship and responsibility
  2. Sustain commitment to shared governance
  3. Promote openness and transparency

B. Develop and enhance planning around the recruitment, retention and professional development of employees

  1. Assess and improve search processes and remove barriers to the recruitment of quality employees
  2. Improve access to professional development opportunities among all employees
  3. Promote lifetime personal well-being of all employees through active and engaged participation in the WSU “Seven Dimensions of Wellness” (intellectual, physical, occupational, social, environmental, emotional, and spiritual)

C. Provide life-long value to our community of learners (including faculty, staff, students, alumni/ae, retirees, and friends of WSU)

  1. Strengthen alumni/ae and donor connections to and pride in WSU
  2. Explore career counseling for life, increase outreach programs for p-12 students and families, and increase camp offerings and participation

D. Enhance community engagement that supports teaching and learning

  1. Foster strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships that leverage strengths and build capacity through consultation and collaboration with our Winona, Rochester and Southeast Minnesota communities
  2. Expand and enhance academic and co-curricular programs to support regional industry and community needs
  3. Establish ways to formally track, monitor, and recognize student community engagement. (e.g., transcript notation, research project awards, certificate programs)
  4. Establish ways to facilitate, track, monitor, and recognize community engagement in employee activities, including assessment and measurement of the impact of institutional and community engagement
  5. Strengthen the relationship between academic programs/departments and University Advancement
  6. Strengthen community connections with underrepresented populations

Strategic Directions Planning Assumptions

  1. Winona State University has two primary locations, one is that is a more traditional, residential, destination campus located in Winona, and another serving a more urban and post-traditional adult-learner population located in Rochester, Minnesota.
  2. The University is likely to experience budgetary constraints during the effective years in which any strategic plan is implemented.
  3. Planning for WSU's future directions must be based upon data and implemented through data-driven decision-making.
  4. All of the themes identified span University functional areas (e.g., ITS) and Divisions (e.g., Finance, Academic Affairs, Athletics, Student Life and Development).
  5. The Winona campus is committed to providing a multi-platform mobile computing strategy to students and faculty through its e-Warrior: Digital Life and Learning Program which provides the stage to deliver technology access anytime and anywhere.
  6. The 5 Ps (Place, Programs, Pride, Price and People) are foundational values of the hopes and dreams of the institution and involve all aspects of the University.
  7. Feedback from the campus communities at every step in our processes is an essential component that informs and shapes our new directions.