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Strategic Planning Process


The Paths for Excellence Strategic Plan process began in July 2018. The university had finished with its 2012-2017 strategic plan, which was the third Strategic Plan since 1998. The SWOSU Assessment Committee had met throughout the implementation of the 2012-2017 plan and had presented its findings to the administration.

In July 2018, Associate Provost Joel Kendall created a Strategic Planning Executive Team to steer the creation of a new strategic plan. The committee consisted of Vice President of Student Services Dr. Ruth Boyd, Faculty Senate President Dr. Amanda Smith, and the three academic deans of the university – Dean of Arts & Sciences Peter Grant, Dean of the College of Professional and Graduate Studies Dr. Chad Kinder, and Dean of Pharmacy Dr. David Ralph. Several components of the new plan are tied to the 2012-2017 plan. The Administrative and Executive Councils were informed in July that the process had initiative. The process was shared with the Executive Council at the July meeting.

The planning process that produced the Pathway to Excellence was completed within the framework of SWOSU’s shared governance system. The Strategic Planning Executive Team and Executive Council collaborated to ensure that the effort was collaborative both within and outside the university. The process included the solicitation and incorporation of feedback through surveys, interviews, feedback opportunities, and emails. A strategic planning website and regular reports to different stakeholders ensured that the process had transparency. A link was placed on the university President’s web page to the Strategic Planning page. This page provided previous strategic plans, updates on the planning timeline, and multiple methods of feedback opportunities, including links to surveys and feedback forms. Dr. Kendall provided the plans, timeline, and opportunities for involvement to the entire faculty body during the Faculty Workshop in August 2018. Members of the Executive Team also met with the university Assessment Committee, which was evaluating the previous Strategic Plan and providing suggestions based on data related to each plan component.


Possible personnel for the strategic planning process were identified in July 2018. These personnel were grouped according to their expertise in relation to 2012-2017 goals. Additionally, measurements associated with 2012-2017 goals were identified. In August 2018, SWOSU staff put together lists of people to surveyed. The list consisted of:

  1. All current students
  2. All faculty and staff
  3. More than 300 alumni and community members

The alumni and community member list was created from college and school advisory boards, alumni boards, external committees for programs, community leader lists, and general input from SWOSU staff.


At the beginning of August, the Executive Team and SWOSU’s Assessment and Testing office created an online survey called the Initial Stakeholder Survey. The survey was designed to allow the respondent to review the components of the current strategic plan and provide suggestions for changes. It asked respondents to quantitatively agree or disagree with strategic plan statements, and then qualitatively provide suggestions for changes. It was sent out in late August and was open for four weeks. The response rate of faculty and staff was substantial and the student response was low. However, the alumni and community member response was very minimal. The Executive Team tasked Joel Kendall with setting up meetings with alumni and community members to gather a sample response of external stakeholders. Once the data was compiled by the Assessment and Testing, it was analyzed by the Executive Team. The team broke the qualitative feedback into comments/proposed changes to wording and general statements.

The Executive Team and the Assessment and Testing office sent a second survey to stakeholders in early October. This survey asked respondents to associate 54 value words (loyalty, reliability, etc.) with what best describes SWOSU. The survey asked respondents to select the words that they associate with their experience at SWOSU. The Executive Team used this feedback to guide their renovations to the Values Statement. That survey was sent out in mid-October and was open for two weeks.

The Executive Team used the results of the first two surveys and other feedback to construct a rough drafts of the university Values, Vision, Mission and four Strategic Goals. In late October, the Executive Team and the Assessment and Testing office constructed a third survey. This survey asked respondents to gauge their level of agreement with the new plan components. The survey also gave respondents opportunities to suggest changes. This survey was sent out at the first of November and kept open for two weeks.

The third survey had the most participation of any survey, including alumni and community members. The Executive Team met over the next two weeks to use the feedback to make final revisions. In the end, the team believed that the revisions clearly addressed the feedback from surveys and suggestions of the Assessment Committee.

Values, Vision, Mission & Strategic Goals

Once the Values, Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals were approved by both the Strategic Planning Executive Team and SWOSU Executive Council, the team worked on Action Points that operationalize the Strategic Goals. The team contacted dozens of key staff on campus to provide ideas for strategic points. Dr. Kendall took that feedback and came up with nearly 100 action points. The team met to determine which action points were specific, measurable, and feasible. The team then came up with three to five action points for each Strategic Goal. They then identified key personnel that will be responsible for tracking the progress of meeting each Action Point.

In April 2019, the Strategic Plan was provided for approval to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.


Southwestern’s Strategic Plan will be communicated through two methods:

  • A summary Strategic Plan
    1. This document consists of the approved Values, Vision, Mission, and four Strategic Goals. This plan fits on one page.
  • An expanded Strategic Plan
    1. This document provides:
      1. Narratives for each of the Values, Vision, and Mission
      2. Acton points for each of the four Strategic Goals
        1. The action points are measurable and will be revised as needed throughout the life of this plan.