Strategic Planning Committee holds forum to discuss progress in working groups

Emily DeLetter

The WKU Strategic Planning Committee held an open forum Monday where one of the committees said its objective is to decrease incidents of bias by 75 percent over the next five years.

The diversity, equity and inclusion committee’s goal to decrease “incidences of conscious and unconscious bias in all aspects of university life toward faculty, staff and students” by 75 percent over the next five years can be reached by mandating diversity training for all faculty and staff, committee co-chair Molly Kirby said.

Kirby’s co-chair Lynne Holland said individuals who work on a college campus should learn to think about how they view others.

“There’s a notion of this epistemology of ignorance,” Holland said. “When we choose to work on a college campus, there’s a set of assumptions we should assume for ourselves—that we will cultivate a desire to think about who we are as individuals and how we have been socialized to think about ourselves and others in a particular way.”

The diversity, equity and inclusion committee’s presentation was one of several at the open forum that allowed the working groups to give updates on proposed changes within the university over the next 10 years. The groups were created by President Timothy Caboni to create a roadmap for WKU over the next 10 years, according to the strategic plan webpage.

The forum was held in the newly-finished Ogden College Hall.

Groups from academic innovation and excellence; student success and experience; research, scholarship and creative endeavors; and budgeting, efficiency and infrastructure were also present at the forum. Each group presented a slideshow detailing its specific vision, goals and objectives.

Academic innovation and excellence committee co-chair and English professor Rob Hale said his committee’s vision was to make WKU the academic first choice for students, engage them and excite them to learn.

“It’s pretty ambitious, but we were asked to be ambitious,” Hale said.

Although the budgeting, efficiency and infrastructure group does not deal directly with WKU’s budget, it “affects every aspect of the institution,” committee member and Dean of Libraries Susann deVries said.

She said they aim to look at the budget as a “fiscal stewardship” and infrastructure as physical spaces, structures and informational technology.

The main goals for the research, scholarship and creative endeavors committee were to advance students’ personal and professional development, raise WKU’s scholarly profile and improve quality of life.

Co-chair Kelly Madole said their biggest challenge was taking time into consideration concerning faculty, who were spending “too much time on other things.”

The last committee to report was the student success and experience committee, presented by co-chair Jerry Daday. He said the group had a positive experience trying to identify student success and what the student experience represents. The committee focused on a need to make student success the center of WKU and to create and promote a united student identity.

“We believe that every student admitted to WKU will succeed,” Daday said. “If we admit them, we make a commitment to their success at this institution.”

Representatives from the external engagements and alumni relations were not present at the forum.

A second forum will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13 in the auditorium of Jody Richards Hall at 4 p.m.

News reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyDeLetter.