Old Main in the winter — Photo by Josh Lee

By Felicity Bosk

Superior Vision 2020, UW-Superior’s strategic plan, is as the name would suggest, what the administration wants UWS to achieve and be by the year 2020. The plan is constantly under review and being modified. State level budget cuts, which came in 2014, were a “tremendous environmental factor” on the strategic plan, said Chancellor Renée Wachter.

“They happened at the same time frame and I would say one certainly informed the other. What was happening at the state level with state budgets and the allocation to the University certainly had an influence,” said Wachter.

“The budget cuts had more of an impact on this strategic initiative number four,” said Interim Provost Jacalyn Weissenburger. She explained that we needed to manage resources more efficiently. “Features were challenged which may have led to some decisions with the program prioritization and things like that to make sure we can continue our primary strategic initiatives.” Strategic initiative number four is resource management and accountability.

The provost also said “of the strategic initiatives, number one is the student experience.”

Regarding whether any more academic programs will be cut, Chancellor Wachter says that is not their intention.

“Our intent right now is we are not in the mode of cutting programs, we are in the mode of growth, in the mode of student success, and retention, working on delivery of some programs that were created in the innovation proposals and the innovation process.”

Programs must submit a self-assessment wherein they look at the state of the program and the number of students in the program. Strategic initiative four says academic and non-academic programs should be reviewed using a “streamlined set of institutional student learning outcomes that integrates general education learning outcomes.”

“We don’t know what that future will look like. We are really focused on innovation and growth right now.”

When asked if we are better off than we were in 2013, Wachter said “oh by far, I think by following the plan and being very strategic and being very focused in the kinds of activities we are taking on we are definitely better off than we were several years ago.”

The main focus of the Superior Visions 2020 is on the student experience.

“[We want to] make sure students have very experiential learning experience, getting practical application, field experiences, things like academic service learning and that’s achieved through a number of different ways like undergraduate research,” said Wachter.

The current strategic plan was created in 2013, presented to the campus in spring of 2014, and approved by the UW System board of regents that following fall. The last strategic plan had been designed in 2008.