In an effort to promote continuous improvement and strategic thinking and action, Western Dakota Tech launched a collaborative strategic planning process in the fall of 2015. The process began with visioning sessions attended by faculty, staff, administration, students, community members, employers, Board members, industry representatives, and other constituents. During the visioning sessions, the more than 75 participants brainstormed and presented ideas about what Western Dakota Tech could and should look like in the future. The results were captured through a “cover story” activity that asked participants to imagine the stories a magazine would publish about Western Dakota Tech in the year 2021. Teams in each session used large posters to gather their ideas before each team presented its findings.
The visioning sessions allowed the college’s constituent groups to have a voice in the Western Dakota Tech’s future.
The results of the visioning sessions were grouped together to show common themes. The college Cabinet created a Strategic Planning Task Force that met regularly to discuss the themes and what they meant. It was clear through the discussions the themes all showed a version of how the college serves its constituents. As a result, the task force proposes calling the plan, “We serve …,” and Cabinet agreed. The task force then developed three priorities from the themes and developed strategic targets under each priority. The priorities are Students, Faculty and Staff, and Community. Each priority’s targets were developed with a sound understanding of the college’s current capacity. For example, a first-to-second year retention target of 60 percent was set after reviewing the rate’s trends during the past several years and with the understanding the college was adding four Student Success Coaches in 2016.
The draft targets were shared and discussed with Cabinet, all faculty and staff, students, and the Board. The Strategic Planning Task Force used the feedback to make changes by adding, deleting, and clarifying targets. After additional sharing, the plan was finalized and presented to the governing board for final approval, which was received March 29, 2016 board meeting.
The strategic plan was shared with all faculty and staff so individual unit plans could be aligned with the college-level targets. Units also will incorporate results from annual unit reviews, assessment of student learning, and evaluation of operations to develop their individual unit plans and develop annual budget requests.
Each year, Western Dakota Tech will prepare a strategic planning report that will show evidence of performance in its academic and operational and student support units and progress toward unit and college-level targets. In addition, the annual report will show the college learns from its operational experience and applies that learning to improve its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability at both the college and unit levels. The report also will show how Western Dakota Tech uses data to improve quality and the service programs, operational and student support units, and the college provide to students, faculty and staff, and the community. The review of data also will allow for targets to be adjusted, removed, or added based on the college’s capacity, fluctuations in revenue, and emerging factors such as technology, demographic shifts, globalization, and other factors.
Please view the 2016-2021 Western Dakota Tech Strategic Plan.
Western Dakota Tech is a public institution of higher learning that embraces quality programs, expert faculty and staff, and a commitment to academic excellence to teach the knowledge, skills, and behaviors students need to be successful.
Western Dakota Tech will be a leader in career and technical education that creates student, institutional, and community success through its practices, policies, and activities. WDT will embrace all students and provide the education they need to be successful. WDT will build a campus culture that inspires faculty and staff to reach their potential and ensures the future of the institution. WDT will build partnerships and undertake projects that strengthen the institution and the communities it serves. Finally, WDT will be a model for post-secondary education in our region and nation.