WSU President Brad Mortensen led a campus town hall meeting via Zoom on Sept. 15 as part of Weber State’s ongoing strategic planning process to shape the university’s priorities and goals for the next five years.

Strategic town hall meetings help create an open process for faculty and students to participate in. (Joshua Kamp/The Signpost).
Strategic town hall meetings help create an open process for faculty and students to participate in. (Joshua Kamp/The Signpost).

The process, started in February 2020, is “an open and collaborative process that focuses on creative, realistic and measurable ways to plan for WSU’s future,” the WSU website says.

The meeting on Sept. 15 identified several pressure points to be addressed during this process, including student affordability, how to adapt the university to a changing academic landscape and how to best serve Weber’s fast-growing number of students of color.

Mortensen also addressed the current state of the university amidst the pandemic.

“Compared to a lot of other schools, I think that we’re in good shape,” Mortensen said, addressing attendees. “Financially, we are strong, and we have steady enrollment as we have mitigated all this, and that is all due to a lot of hard work by all of you.”

The Zoom meeting was eventually divided into breakout groups to better facilitate discussion between the large number of attendees regarding possible new mission and vision statements. The town hall then rejoined, and group leaders summarized the discussion to a panel consisting of President Mortensen, director of strategic initiatives Steven Richardson and Dr. John Welty.

Welty, of the AASCU-Penson center for professional development, an organization of former university presidents and chancellors, joined in the process to guide Weber State forward early in 2020.

Welty previously served as president of California State University of Fresno and has engaged in other strategic planning processes for public universities in Utah.

“Our process needs to be positive and optimistic,” Welty said. “Obviously, we are in a very difficult time right now, but as President Mortensen has pointed out, I think Weber State is in a strong position to take advantage of [strategic planning] work that has been done in the past.”

Welty met with stakeholders of Weber State in April via Zoom as part of a constituent feedback and research phase. Next steps will include task force planning, drafting and reviewing before a finalization of the university’s new strategies in January and February 2021.

“It’s my goal to help position us, to use the success we have right now, so that ten or 15 or 20 years from now Weber State continues to be strong and thrive,” Mortensen said.

The next strategic Zoom meeting will be held in October. Students with an interest in the future of Weber State have a voice in the planning process and are encouraged to attend.

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