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    Strategic Plan 2020-2025

    The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan builds upon the previous five-year plan and establishes quantitative measures for success. In reviewing the 2015-2020 plan, significant progress was made in retention and graduation rates, stronger academic programming and faculty investment, and engagement of students both inside and outside the classroom. The new plan builds upon that foundation by incorporating lessons learned during the rapid pivot to all-remote learning in the spring of 2020, and reaffirms our commitment to equity, so that all areas of our community can embrace it as their own responsibility.

    PDF icon Worcester State University 2020-2025 Strategic Plan

    2020-2025 Strategic Plan Process

    With the formation of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, President Maloney has charged the committee to oversee the strategic planning process this year, while sharing the president’s commitment to ensuring it will be an inclusive and transparent plan that promotes broad participation across campus throughout the year. Input from members of the Worcester State community, on and off campus, will help ensure the strategic plan will reflect a shared vision, common goals, and actionable strategies to guide Worcester State in the years to come.

  • Message from President Maloney

    September 25, 2019

    Dear Colleagues,

    As I indicated at our Academic Year kickoff meeting, we have a busy year ahead of us. We are completing our current strategic plan and will begin developing our next one, even as we begin to implement the RASE Plan. As we look to the future, we are fortunate to be able to build on important work already completed or underway, impressive progress toward the goals of the current strategic plan, and the stabilization of the University’s finances. For this and many other reasons, I am confident the next round of strategic planning will set an inspirational course for Worcester State University’s future and position us to capitalize on opportunities to further distinguish ourselves from other universities in the northeastern region of the U.S.

    Provost Lois Wims and I are in the process of forming a 16- to 19-member Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC). Its members will be representative of the University community and will oversee an inclusive process. The SPSC will be charged with preparing and recommending a plan that will help us achieve a widely shared vision for the University in 2025. I’m asking any bargaining unit member who is interested in serving on the SPSC to contact your union representative as soon as possible, who will forward names to me by October 1, as follows: APA, Maribeth Wrobel; AFSCME, Russell Kinell or Joanne Harder; MSCA, Donald Bullens.

    The planning process will be coordinated by Assistant Vice President for Assessment and Planning Sarah Strout, Ph.D., and guided by the SPSC. They will receive expert support and guidance throughout the process from Linda Campanella of SOS Consulting Group, LLC. Prior to starting her consulting practice in 2001, Linda served as chief administrative officer and senior vice-president for operations and planning at Trinity College. In addition to being experienced and knowledgeable about both higher education and strategic planning, Linda also knows our University well, having facilitated our last round of planning as well as several other key projects over recent years. In addition to her work with WSU, she recently facilitated strategic planning processes at several sister institutions in Massachusetts.

    June 2020 is the target for completion of a draft strategic plan for our Board of Trustees to consider, and Fall 2020 is the target to bring it before the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. In keeping with the strong tradition of shared governance at WSU, the work of constructing the plan will offer many opportunities for community input on iWSUes, goals, and strategies. as well as opportunities for feedback on drafts as the process unfolds.

    We will be developing the strategic plan in the context of the Department of Higher Education’s priorities for public higher education in the Commonwealth. At our September 3rd Academic Year Kickoff Meeting, Commissioner Santiago outlined some of the key challenges facing higher education and indicated the central importance the DHE attaches to its Equity Agenda -- which all 29 public campuses will pursue in the coming years, and an initiative that I am pleased to support as a member of its statewide advisory board.

    Please take advantage of every opportunity to become engaged in our strategic planning process. We want to consider as many views and voices as possible. This input will help us begin to get a sense of the key iWSUes and themes, as well as hopes and dreams, that will shape a shared vision for the future.

    Information about future opportunities to engage and updates will be posted periodically on the WSU Strategic Planning web site. I look forward both to the lively discussion and debate that will occur during the building of the plan and to the subsequent work of achieving its goals. Thank you in advance for participating in this important work.

    Barry M. Maloney, President

    Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC)

    The Committee's Task

    The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) is charged with guiding and overseeing a process that broadly and effectively engages the Worcester State community in developing the University’s next strategic plan.

    Strategic Planning Steering Committee Membership


    Julie D. Frechette, Professor, Department of Communication
    Edgar A. Moros, Director, Intensive English Language Institute

    Committee Members

    Thomas E. Conroy, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Studies
    Margaret E. Kerr, Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Stephen A. Morreale, Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
    Rodney Oudan, Professor, Department of Business Administration & Economics
    Emily Soltano, Professor, Department of Psychology
    Tanya Trudell, Instructor, Department of Occupational Therapy
    Susan Mitroka Batsford, Associate Professor, Chemistry
    Adam Zahler, Professor, Department of Visual & Performing Arts
    Mary Dillon, Clerk IV, Department of Occupational Therapy
    Thomas Kelley, Director, Retention
    John W. Meany, Associate Director, Athletics
    Katey C. Palumbo, Director, International Programs
    Linda S. Larrivee, Dean, School of Science, Technology, and Health
    Russ Pottle, Dean, School of Humanities & Social Sciences
    Stacey A. Luster, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, Payroll & Affirmative Action
    Maribel Mateo, SGA President
    Michael J. Mills, Alumni Association representative
    David Tuttle, Board of Trustees representative

    Sarah Strout (ex-officio), Provost’s Office
    Linda Campanella, Planning Consultant (SOS Consulting Group LLC)

    Meeting Minutes

    As meeting minutes are made available, they will be posted to myWSU for review by internal audiences.


    To reach the Strategic Planning Steering Committee at any time you may send email to spsc@worcester.edu.

    Planning Process Timeline


    Understanding “What”

    • Assessment
    • Reflection
    • Visioning
    • Goal setting


    Identifying “How”

    • Strategic development
    • Action planning
    • Plan formulation


    Establishing “How Much” and “What First”

    • Cost analysis and resource planning
    • Priority setting
    • Plan finalization
    • Fundraising goal setting
    Guiding Principles


    The planning process should engage all members of the Worcester State community, affording all the opportunity to provide input and feel vested in the outcome.

    Transparency (communication)

    Sharing information and timely updates in addition to providing opportunities to engage directly in the process.

    Taking a broad (versus local, parochial) view

    Determining goals and setting priorities based on what’s deemed best for the University as a whole rather than what’s best for oneself, an individual program, an individual department, or an individual division.

    Consensus decision making

    Not every decision will be 100% supported by 100% of participants at the table.


    Respect for shared governance, for differing viewpoints, for process, and for confidentiality.

    Opportunities for Input and Involvement

    Below is a tentative schedule of opportunities for members of the Worcester State community to engage in the planning process. Others likely will be added as the process evolves. Please check the Announcements and Updates link for the most up-to-date/current information about specific opportunities to provide input and otherwise be involved.

    Academic Kick-Off Day with opportunity to submit thoughts about strategic issues or challenges WSU “must” address in this round of strategic planningSeptember 3
    Invitation from President Maloney to all faculty and staff to share input via anonymous online surveySeptember 25
    Community forums on current strategic plan and current environmentlate October TBA
    Survey key groups re: critical issues, opportunities, and goalsOctober/November
    Outreach to external stakeholders (elected officials, other key city/community leaders and partners)November
    Student forum on student success and satisfactionNovember
    President’s Open MeetingsNovember
    SPSC mini-retreat re: situation analysis, emerging vision and goalsearly December
    Briefing/consultations with key leadership groups: Deans and department chairs/grad coordinators, Executive Cabinetbefore winter break
    Consultations with constituent groups (e.g., faculty, AUC) to get feedback on “Framework for Planning” document (vision statement, goals to underpin strategic plan)late January/early February
    All-campus planning meeting – facilitated brainstorming around key institutional goals and critical issues (to generate ideas/fodder for planning task forces); all constituencies invitedmid February
    Consultations/discussions with key campus groups, convened by task forces focused on strategic plan goalsmid- through late February
    Multi-constituent task forces at work creating goal-focused mini strategic plan drafts (proposed strategies, actions)February/March
    Brown-bag lunch consultations/discussions with key campus groups, probably convened by goal task forcesmid/late March
    First draft of comprehensive strategic plan document (mission, values, vision, goals, strategies and actions in support of each goal)by mid April
    Draft plan disseminated to the campus community and trusteeslate April
    Possible all-campus meeting to seek feedback on strategies and input on prioritiesearly May
    SPSC develops its final recommendations regarding strategies and actions in support of goals as well as implementation priorities for Year One (FY21). Steering Committee meeting with the President and Executive Cabinet to present recommendations. Steering Committee presents/discusses recommendations at all-faculty meetingby mid May
    Final draft integrated plan prepared with accompanying financial analysis that indicates FY21 budgetary impact and provides preliminary multi-year outlook (operating and capital budgets)late May
    Draft plan mailed to the Board with cover memo from Pres. Maloneylate May
    Board meetingJune 2
    Strategic Planning Articles and Resources
    Link Icon Massachusetts Dept. of Higher Education Guidelines for Strategic Planning, 2019-20
    Link Icon Massachusetts Dept. of Higher Education Data Center and Performance Measurement Reporting System
    Link Icon The Future of Work and What It Means for Higher Ed
    Link Icon The Robots Are Coming
    Link Icon The Eroding Trust between Higher Education and the Public
    Link Icon Credentials vs. Degrees: How Much Clout?
    Link Icon Delivering Competency-Based Learning Online
    Link Icon Reaching a Postsecondary Attainment Goal—A Multistate Overview
    Link Icon The Promise of Free College (and Its Potential Pitfalls)
    Additional Information for Worcester State Faculty, Staff, and Students

    Strategic planning-related data, reports, drafts, etc. will be posted to myWSU, accessible with Worcecster State network credentials

    Access internal Strategic Planning Resources


    President's Office
    Shaughnessy Administration Building
    Suite A-255