Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Strategic Planning -- A student/alumna perspective

Leslie Garren is a guest blogger this week. Leslie is a graduate of WSU with a degree in Strategic Communication from the Elliott School of Communication. She is currently pursuing her MBA. As part of her studies, she is assisting the Strategic Planning Steering Committee with data analysis, documentation of the process, and her insights as a student. Please enjoy reading her thoughts!

Are students excited about strategic planning efforts? While it is true that WSU students are immersed in balancing full-time jobs with full-time studies, I’ve found that students absolutely do care about the future of WSU.

MYTH: WSU students simply commute to WSU for classes because it is convenient. There is no “school spirit.”

I can prove you wrong. As a current graduate student, undergrad alum, university employee and past high school guest student, I’ve seen Wichita State through a couple of different perspectives. Not one experience has disappointed me.

I sit in the classrooms, I walk on the campus, I work with the faculty, and, I can tell you first-hand, WSU has a student body and faculty that are full of Shocker spirit and pride. During projects I work on in my coursework and during discussions I participate in during my lectures, I can clearly see; WSU students are learning because they desire to learn. They desire to strive for excellence. What does this say about WSU? We are the go-getters for the Wichita metroplex. We are the future. Wichita State enables us to make our future as bright as we desire to make it, not just for us as individuals, but for the Wichita community and state of Kansas, as well.

It is time for WSU to outgrow the label that we are in some way “inferior” to others. Students know their aspirations for quality education are bold, they are proud of these efforts. Our strategic planning committee has received advice to dream big and go bold. Are students ready for such changes? Ha, dreaming big and going bold is what got us at WSU in the first place! We are ready.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Data Gathering - Breakfast Meetings

Breakfast meetings! Those of you, who know me, know that I'm not a morning person. Consequently, the idea of me hosting 17 breakfast meetings in a relatively short period of time is probably unexpected. How did this idea take hold? 

Ed (my co-chair) and I started identifying what people needed to be heard from in the strategic planning process. We set up various methods of gathering information from key people—town hall meetings, small round table discussions, website comments, survey, visit to Topeka with Kansas Board of Regents.  

The WSU College Deans are key leverage points at the university. We decided to host individual breakfasts with them (and President Bardo's Executive Team). These meetings turned out to be informative and beneficial to our process. The Steering Committee members receive a one-page summary of each of these breakfast meetings, as one piece of the large data gathering effort in which we are engaging.

How can you be heard? Attend one of our upcoming town hall meetings. As they get closer, I’ll discuss what we will talk about at these meetings. Please put them on your calendar!

Until next time …

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 16 Trip to Topeka to Visit the KBOR

I am pumped! I don't know what vision and big audacious goals will come out of this process for WSU, but after our visit to Topeka, I do know that they should be BOLD

Members of Steering Committee in Topeka
The purpose of our Topeka trip was to meet with the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR). We asked the Regents to be part of our primary data collection process--to share with us their ideas about the future of higher education, and more specifically, WSU. The Regents were engaged and gave us permission, even better, requested that we be bold in our vision and goals. 

It was an exhilarating day. 

The morning began with several Legislators stopping by and giving us their ideas about WSU and our strategic plan. Then Governor Sam Brownback stopped by and gave us his undivided attention as we asked him his thoughts about WSU. We wrapped up our morning eating lunch with several members of the Executive Branch. 

After lunch, we got a brief but very informative tour of the Capitol by my co-chair, Ed O'Malley. Then on to the KBOR meeting. The Regents genuinely care about the future of WSU. They want us to decide what we want to be and then fulfill that mission. 

I read a saying today that sums up my feelings after out Topeka trip: Start with a vision that scares you a little and excites you a lot. 

Let's go!

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 2013 update

You may be wondering what has happened with the WSU Strategic Planning process since the kickoff meeting hosted by President John Bardo on September 5, 2012. I’m going to give a quick update.

President Bardo formed a Strategic Planning Steering Committee and invited Ed O’Malley (President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center) and me to co-chair the process. The Steering Committee membership consists of a mix of WSU faculty, staff, and students, as well as others from the Wichita community. A full list of the members is available on our website:

The committee meets once a month, with homework and subcommittee work occurring between these meetings. The agendas for these two-hour meetings are packed. Some of the agenda items include: familiarizing members with the inner workings of WSU; updating members on data gathering activities such as meetings, surveys, and student engagement opportunities; and developing initial drafts of various parts of the strategic plan. Thus far, we are working on a draft mission statement and a long list of core values for discussion. The meeting notes for all of the Steering Committee meetings are listed on our website:

During the first four months of this planning process, the Steering Committee has been singularly focused on data gathering—e.g., campus and community town hall meetings (see the town hall notes at, a survey sent to the Alumni Association members, and meetings with various groups. We think it is critical to a successful process to hear from all those interested in the future of WSU. Therefore, we plan to continue this data gathering process for a few more weeks.

In late February you can expect to see a draft mission statement and core values. These will be presented at another set of town hall meetings for feedback (see town hall meetings schedule).

Watch this space for updates. I’ll tell you more about our data gathering activities (especially the Steering Committee’s trip to Topeka next week to visit with the Kansas Board of Regents).

Until next time …

Welcome to the WSU Strategic Planning Initiative blog

My name is Cindy Claycomb. I am a Professor of Marketing at Wichita State University in the W. Frank Barton School of Business. Usually I spend my time teaching students and reading and writing about marketing topics that interest me. This year, however, at the request of WSU President Dr. John Bardo, I am co-chairing the strategic planning initiative for WSU.

I created this blog to help those with an interest in WSU see what’s going on during this process, to encourage dialogue about the process, and to allow me to express my thoughts and ideas about the process. Occasionally I will invite guests to blog here so you can see the process from a perspective different than mine. I hope you will join me in this journey.