University President Thomas LeBlanc kicked off the planning process for the University’s next five-year strategic plan at a town hall Thursday.
LeBlanc announced the four pillars of the new strategic plan – distinguished and distinctive graduate education, high-quality undergraduate education, world-class faculty and high-impact research – at the event, which was attended by about 250 staff, faculty and students. LeBlanc said these tenets will serve as the strategic plan’s “framework” and complement his five strategic initiatives.
“These areas are the components of every preeminent university, and these are where we must focus our efforts moving forward,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc said work for each pillar will be spearheaded by committees composed of faculty, students and staff. The committees – which are chaired by faculty members – will gather input from the GW community and, by February, propose recommendations to “achieve preeminence,” which the Board of Trustees will approve with the final plan by May.
“Ultimately, the committee work will directly feed into the board strategic planning task force,” he said.
LeBlanc said Student Association President SJ Matthews has agreed to serve on the University-wide strategic planning committee.
Officials also debuted a new website Thursday in conjunction with the announcement, where LeBlanc said the GW community can provide feedback as part of the “rigorous community discussion” over the strategic planning process.
“I urge you to share your feedback on the site now and share it often,” he said. “Share it every time you have an idea. Tell us what we have to do, tell us what you think is the absolute worst thing we could do and tell us why.”
LeBlanc said all of the major decisions officials make must embody “responsible stewardship” of the University’s resources.
“We will not take our endowment and go to a casino and bet on red 10 consecutive turns in the hope of garnering the resources that will allow us to achieve our aspirations tomorrow,” he said. “That would not be a responsible approach, it’s not the approach we will take.”
LeBlanc said the University’s status quo is “not a good option,” adding that the school has the potential to change for the better as it approaches its bicentennial anniversary in 2021.
“We face a moment of choice, and we must choose to lead,” LeBlanc said. “It’s a historic time for our University – we have an incredible opportunity to shape our University as it enters its third century. We may never have another opportunity quite like this to have this kind of impact on the historic institution in this way. So, I urge you, let’s come together and chart a path for preeminence.”
Shannon Mallard contributed reporting.