Strategic Goals for Illinois Wesleyan University: 4/15/05
Identity. Articulate a shared understanding of Illinois Wesleyan’s identity as a residential
liberal arts college with professional schools and programs.
Rationale: Illinois Wesleyan has a distinctive combination of programs and resources,
and it is important that we effectively articulate a consensus on how our programs
interconnect to serve a common purpose and to fulfill our vision. To develop this
consensus, we must first answer several questions, including: What is the ideal relationship
between the liberal arts and the professional schools and programs? How should differing
expectations for May Term be negotiated? What is the role of information technology
at a residential college? How should expectations of faculty for teaching and research
or artistic creation be clarified? How should Illinois Wesleyan balance its regional
commitments and national aspirations? Who are our peer institutions?
Possible strategies include: organizing a series of campus-wide dialogues on the University's
identity; studying internal and external audiences’ perceptions of Illinois Wesleyan’s
strengths and weaknesses; strengthening the University’s already active assessment
program; creating a comprehensive plan to communicate the University’s outstanding
programs and distinctive features to all of its audiences.
Human Resources. Strengthen support for faculty and staff in their respective roles and create a
community in which all are valued and encouraged to reach their potential.
Rationale: Illinois Wesleyan’s Mission Statement describes the University as “a tightly
knit, supportive University community.” We recognize the critical importance of maintaining
a positive working environment that allows such a community to develop and inspires
faculty and staff to pursue the common goal of supporting the University’s core purposes.
Through its own self-studies, the University has identified a series of recurring
workplace themes--high stress levels, increased workloads, understaffing, a need for
more orientation and professional development programs, tuition benefit inequities,
and inconsistent communication structures--that should be addressed. We must seek
ways to provide optimum support for all members of the faculty and staff in their
Possible strategies include: identifying and addressing sources of stress that effect
staff and faculty; improving internal communication structures; supplementing or allocating
human and financial resources to make workloads commensurate with staffing; enhancing
benefits, orientation structures, and professional development opportunities as appropriate.
Teaching and Learning. Augment teaching and learning resources to match our increased student body size,
emerging curricular directions, and growing student expectations.
Rationale: One of the core values of Illinois Wesleyan is a commitment to improving
teaching and learning. Our curricular ambitions and our students' expectations have
increased in the past decade, and we recognize that additional continuing faculty
and support staff are necessary to deliver our current curriculum. Both the Mission
and Vision Statements identify areas for growth, such as globalization, social justice,
and environmental sustainability, which have not been fully integrated into the curriculum.
In order to effectively negotiate the demands of competing academic priorities, including
such critical priorities as writing instruction, we also need a more centralized curricular
Possible strategies include: developing effective processes for strategic curricular
planning; defining appropriate staffing levels to implement those plans; strengthening
support structures for teaching and learning.
Student Development. Enhance the campus environment so as to foster students' intellectual, social, ethical,
and personal development.
Rationale: Recognizing the essential role that residential life and co-curricular
experiences play in students’ intellectual and personal development, Illinois Wesleyan
invests time, energy and resources to offer comprehensive programs that help prepare
students for life during and after college. The world for which we are preparing our
students has become more complex, however, and both the capabilities and the expectations
of our students have grown. These changes require renewed efforts to take full advantage
of the University’s residential character so as to afford each student challenging
yet supportive opportunities for intellectual, social, ethical, and personal growth.
Possible strategies include: evaluating and strengthening all student support services;
improving advising; offering a richer set of residential options, including transitional
housing; promoting co-curricular programs that deepen the intellectual climate on
Financial Resources. Maximize Illinois Wesleyan’s financial base and focus the use of financial resources
on supporting strategic goals.
Rationale: During the past decade, Illinois Wesleyan made remarkable strides in developing
our physical plant, increasing our student population, and undertaking ambitious new
curricular and co-curricular initiatives; this progress has in turn increased the
University’s financial requirements. At the same time, the financial landscape has
changed significantly: government financial aid assistance has shrunk, endowment income
has fluctuated, debt service for new buildings has increased, tuition increases have
outstripped inflation, and student demographics have changed. In this new environment,
the University must maintain affordability for students and ensure the stability and
effective use of its financial resources to fulfill its mission and meet its strategic
Possible strategies include: increasing both the size of its endowment and gifts and
grants for current use; continuing to identify ways to contain costs; seeking input
from stakeholders on budgeting and resource plans; communicating financial information
in as transparent a manner as possible.
Diversity. Increase and Sustain Diversity among Students, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and
Trustees: With a special focus on attaining “critical masses” from underrepresented
racial and ethnic groups, create a welcoming, inclusive, multicultural campus where
all community members appreciate and respect the diversity of the nation and the world.
The educational benefits of a diverse campus are significant; such an environment
enriches the content of the curriculum, enlivens interactions in the classroom, and
prepares Illinois Wesleyan graduates to enter a world in which understanding and appreciation
of diversity are increasingly demanded. The “Multicultural Study Group Report” (July
2003) notes, too, that: “Although we live in an individualistic society, that society
has egalitarian goals that demand [that] all have the opportunity for an outstanding
education.” (p. 5). This point was further articulated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
in a 2003 United States Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in college admissions:
“Effective participation by members of all racial and ethnic groups in the civic life
of our Nation is essential if the dream of one Nation, indivisible, is to be realized…[T]o
cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary
that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals
of every race and ethnicity.” The message is clear: not only do we have an ethical
and social responsibility to make an IWU education accessible to students with a wide
range of experiences, viewpoints, cultures, and backgrounds, but unless we become
a more diverse campus, Illinois Wesleyan’s legitimacy as an institution of higher
education will be challenged, and we will suffer institutionally for failing to tap
into an increasingly diverse talent pool.
The Illinois Wesleyan community recognizes that the time to act is NOW: a wealth of
research on diversity nationally and globally complements reports on diversity at
Illinois Wesleyan, all of which should serve as guides for planning. The University
community also recognizes that achieving this ambitious goal will require the same
determination and commitment of resources that were required to build a world-class