Williams Baptist University has unveiled its strategic vision for the future in an initiative named “Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives.” The vision, recently approved by WBU’s faculty and its board of trustees, will guide the university’s planning efforts over the next three to five years. The university also released its newly stated Core Values.
“’Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives’ reflects extensive evaluation of the strengths of this great university and the needs it will address moving forward. The result is a bold vision that will help establish WBU as a preeminent Christian university in the state of Arkansas beyond,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of Williams.
The strategic plan is the result of the collaborative work of administration, faculty, and other members of the university community. The resulting vision is set forth in six broad goals:
- Enhance Employee Quality of Life
- Develop Innovative Academic Programs
- Enrich Christian University Identity and Culture
- Strengthen Enrollment Management and Marketing
- Improve Campus Infrastructure
- Increase Student Support through Endowed Scholarships and Innovative Programs
“The initiatives outlined in this vision will move WBU forward in a significant way,” Norman commented. “This plan outlines goals for enhanced support of faculty, staff, and students, expanded academic offerings, strengthened marketing and student recruitment, improved facilities and, above all, a continued emphasis on our identity as a Christian university.”
Each of the goals includes a detailed set of initiatives, as well as a vision for what the goals will accomplish for Williams by the year 2023. The WBU president said the strategic vision will now be used to establish priorities for the university each year in its budgeting and planning processes.
“We developed an exhaustive list of needs and objectives that we want to address over the next three to five years, and then we prioritized those objectives and categorized them accordingly. ‘Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives’ is a strategic vision that provides a clear roadmap for WBU as it plans for the future,” Norman said.
The strategic vision places a high priority on enhancing quality of life for WBU employees, which includes enhancing salaries and making other improvements for faculty and staff. “WBU will continue to strive to provide the highest possible level of employee benefits, including health care, retirement, and university housing. WBU will also work to improve fitness and recreation opportunities for faculty, staff, and their families,” the document states.
In developing innovative academic programs, the plan aims to expand the university’s influence and mission through both graduate and undergraduate programming. The vision says, “Although not limited to the following areas, WBU will proactively identify and strategically implement educational initiatives and degree programs in the fields of health care, counseling, business, education, and ministry. WBU will be known both for excellence in the quality of academic programming and for innovation in the use of technology for all educational initiatives.”
The vision also places a priority on enriching WBU’s Christian university identity and culture, stating, “WBU will enrich its identity and campus culture, producing an environment befitting an outstanding Christ-centered university. Christian commitment will be pervasive and transformative in all aspects of university life.” Among the areas to be addressed are spiritual life programs, student life activities, strengthened alumni-relations, enriched school traditions, and improved strategic branding initiatives.
To continue to grow its student body, the plan calls for WBU to strengthen its enrollment management and marketing functions, asserting, “By 2023, WBU will have increased image and heightened brand awareness locally and nationally. Special attention will be devoted to increasing marketing initiatives within the state of Arkansas.” The plan specifically targets student recruitment, donor support, alumni involvement and brand awareness for growth.
Improving the university’s infrastructure is a priority, as well. “WBU will develop and implement a plan to meet the needs of growing academic and athletic programs, space for the fine arts programs and performances, student resident facilities, and other projects as identified. Resources to fund these initiatives will be identified and developed through strategic-planning processes,” the vision notes.
Finally, the strategic vision aims to help Williams students find the resources to attend the university, noting, “WBU will aggressively expand existing scholarship programs as well as increase scholarship resources to recruit and retain targeted populations. The university will launch innovative programs and initiatives to assist students in funding their WBU education.”
Full details of “Renewing Minds, Transforming Lives” can be found on the WBU website at https://williamsbu.edu/renewing-minds/.
Along with its strategic vision, WBU released its Core Values, which summarize foundational principles and priorities of the institution. The Core Values were developed this fall by a task force of faculty, staff and administration. They are identified as:
- Christ-Centered Focus
- Academic Excellence
- Spiritual Formation
- Nurturing Community
- Servant Leadership
Each of the Core Values includes a detailed explanation of its impact on WBU.
“These Core Values are not new to WBU, but rather reflect what this institution has endeavored to do throughout its 77-year history. Countless lives have been changed at WBU because of these Core Values, and this document simply codifies those values in writing. These beliefs embody the biblical commitments that have guided the university in the past, and we believe these convictions will continue to direct us as we work to advance our mission of distinctive, Christian higher education,” said Norman.
The Core Values were also approved by the board of trustees at their meeting Dec. 7. They can be read in full at https://williamsbu.edu/core-values/.
WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge, Ark.