2023 Strategic Plan to lead BW to brighter future

As internal and external pressures weigh down on Baldwin Wallace, the university has created a strategic plan to propel the institution towards a successful future.

The 2023 Strategic Plan allows for organizations to make planning a part of their toolkit they use to adapt to internal and external pressures, said John DiGennaro, director of institutional planning. The planning process, as well as creating a strategic direction and the overarching goals, helps organizations adapt to changing pressures and thrive in a dynamic environment.

“It’s kind of a balancing effort,” said DiGennaro. “Those internal and external pressures really are what the overarching strategic plan is meant to help mitigate so that people can understand why some of those decisions are being made.”

The plan states that “Baldwin Wallace University has been an integral member of the Northeast Ohio community for 174 years. As BW approaches its 175th year, we must be an active participant in the community through knowledge development and learning achievement, preparation of our students through both academic and leadership experiences, and through being a vital member of our industry and community partners.”

The overarching goal is to become a well-positioned and essential partner in the economic and community development for our region and beyond, said DiGennaro.

“We want people to think about Baldwin Wallace as that essential partner,” DiGennaro said. “I think there is a significant opportunity to impact our region and beyond. Frankly, we do it already, but we want to be thought of as a front of mind organization that really can help contribute to our industry and community partners.”

The strategic priorities, as written in the ‘Thriving Through Collaborative Leadership is called The Baldwin Wallace University Strategic Plan 2019-2023’ document. It was approved by the Board of Trustees last fall and states: “BW affirms our commitment to student achievement and outcomes, connecting learning in all programs with leading regional and national knowledge and career outcomes; BW students participate in profound and connected leadership experiences through personal relationships that carry them throughout their lives to connect their learning with the needs of our global community; BW is an integral leader in developing workforce strength, organizational capacity, leadership, and service.”

The plan’s priorities are a commitment to learning, leadership, and BW’s community partners. Although BW has made strategic plans in the past, this plan was created to shift as times change, said Steve Stahl, Provost.

“This strategic plan is much more flexible in terms of allowing individuals to find where they contribute rather than saying how they must contribute,” said Stahl. “This will lead to a lot more local ownership of the strategic plan and this allows it to be much more organic. It’s going to change over time in response to changing conditions.”

Due to northeast Ohio’s evolving culture, BW was able to create an organic plan to benefit its students. The plan hopes to help students continue to complete work and research projects in the real world to add relevance to their education. Stahl said he hopes students go from trying to find the right answer instead of starting to ask the right question.

“We’re in a great place,” Stahl said. “We’re in a metropolitan area with an abundance of potential projects over a wide range of sectors in an area that is facing some positive economic times in a city that wants to reinvent themselves. It’s something you could only do if you’re in a place like here.”

The plan’s goals and strategies help connect all the work of an organization to a future state. With the decline in population and economy’s liftoff leaving fewer people to attend college, BW is trying to stay ahead of the game, said DiGennaro.