Western Dakota Tech Learn. Do. Now.

Visit Us Request Info Chat Online

Strategic Plan

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.

Strategic Planning Process

Step 1: Visioning Sessions

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.

Step 2: Draft the Plan

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.

Step 3: Implement and Review

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.

2016-2021 Strategic Plan
"We Serve..."

1. Priority: Students 

1.1. Enrollment, Retention, and Completion, Placement, Transfer

  • 1.1.1. Target: Teamwork and quality drive growth to full-time equivalent enrollment of 1,500 as measured by tuition collected
  • 1.1.2. Target: Recruitment, retention, instructional efforts, and teamwork lead to first-year to second-year retention rate of 60% for fall cohorts as measured by IPEDS WDT Cohort Retention Report (Updated June 2018)
  • 1.1.3. Target: Recruitment, retention, instructional efforts, and teamwork increase the 150% graduation rate to 55% as measured by IPEDS
  • 1.1.4. Target: Partnerships and program quality increase career placement in field of study to 90%
  • 1.1.5. Target: Partnerships and enhanced career placement efforts increase in-state graduate placement to 92% (Updated June 2018)
  • 1.1.6. Target: Collaboration and outreach efforts increase the number of Dual Enrollment students to 500
  • 1.1.7. Target: A minimum of one transfer agreement between every Western Dakota Tech program and another college creates opportunities for lifelong learning and career advancement

1.2. Housing and Transportation

  • 1.2.1. Target: Student housing provides safe, college-focused living arrangements for 100 students
  • 1.2.2. Target: Physical access to the campus affords safe, efficient, and easy travel as measured by student surveys (Replaced by 1.2.4 June 2017)
  • 1.2.3. Target: College efforts and partnerships eliminate transportation barriers for students as measured by student surveys (Replaced by 1.2.4 June 2017)
  • 1.2.4. Target: Eliminate transportation barriers for students (Adopted June 2017)

1.3. High School to College Pathways

  • 1.3.1. Target: Seamless pathway from every West River high school to Western Dakota Tech streamlines transition to college and increases the regional college-going rate by 10% (Replaced by 1.3.2 June 2018)
  • 1.3.2. Target: Establish seamless pathways with Rapid City Area Schools (Adopted June 2018)

1.4. Affordability and Funding

  • 1.4.1. Target: Student sponsorship agreements with industry partners create pathways from every WDT program to industry
  • 1.4.2. Target: Emergency fund of $100,000 supports students in need (Transferred to WDT Foundation Strategic Plan June 2018)
  • 1.4.3. Target: $25,000 recruiting scholarship fund provides incentives to future students (Transferred to WDT Foundation Strategic Plan June 2018)
  • 1.4.4. Target: Default rate of less than 15% each year helps student borrowers successfully complete college and enter the workforce with confidence in their WDT training and career preparation

1.5. Programs and Learning

  • 1.5.1. Target: Stackable credentials/certificates in 100% of AAS programs provide multiple celebration and exit points
  • 1.5.2. Target: Minimum of one functioning alternate delivery option in 100% of programs gives students flexibility
  • 1.5.3. Target: Western Dakota Tech starts a minimum of two new programs each year to meet student and community needs
  • 1.5.4. Target: Effective assessment of program and student learning outcomes in 100% of programs improves instruction and student learning

1.6. Support Services

  • 1.6.1. Target: Student support efforts earn a gap of less than .25 in all support areas and .5 in all academic program areas as measured by the Student Satisfaction Inventory (Updated June 2018)
  • 1.6.2. Target: Effective assessment planning and program review of operational activities in 100% of non- academic offices and departments improves student success (Updated June 2018)

1.7. Communication

  • 1.7.1.  Target: Communication plan in every unit effectively delivers college and unit messages as measured by student surveys

2. Priority: Faculty & Staff

2.1. Recruitment and Retention
  • 2.1.1. Target: Human resources system ensures competitive wages and benefits as measured by technical college annual income survey
  • 2.1.2. Target: Updated job descriptions and pay equitable to the work performed guide human resources philosophy and reduce employee turnover by 10% (Updated June 2018)
  • 2.1.3. Target: Career ladders provide advancement opportunities, leading to a 10% increase in the number of positions filled by internal promotions (Replaced by 2.1.8 June 2017)
  • 2.1.4. Target: Cross-training allows flexibility and prevents burnout and increases student satisfaction in support services as measured by the student satisfaction inventory
  • 2.1.5. Target: Base salaries increase at least 3% every year
  • 2.1.6. Target: Recognition program for top employee performers increases employee retention by 10% (Replaced by 2.1.9 June 2017)
  • 2.1.7. Target: Incentives encourage professional development and lead to all employees participating in at least 10 hours of professional development each year
  • 2.1.8. Increase the number of internal positions filled by 10% (Adopted June 2017; removed June 2018)
  • 2.1.9. Increase employee retention by 10% (Adopted June 2017; removed June 2018)

2.2. Support Services

  • 2.2.1. Target: Western Dakota Tech named a Great College to Work For
  • 2.2.2. Target: College reputation creates sense of pride among employees, resulting in a 50% increase in the number of applications for each position
  • 2.2.3. Target: Faculty and staff benefit from the supplies, training, professional development, and other resources needed for success, leading to a 10% reduction in employee turnover (Replaced by 2.1.9 June 2017)
  • 2.2.4. Target: Culture of shared governance and collaboration creates engagement and teamwork, demonstrated by 100% of employees reporting they have a voice in the direction of the college
  • 2.2.5. Target: Systematic employee appreciation program recognizes excellence as measured by the Great Colleges to Work For survey (Replaced by 2.1.9 June 2017)
  • 2.2.6. Target: Technology and facilities drive efficiency and efficacy, as shown by 100% of employee reporting their technology and facility needs are met
  • 2.2.7. Target: A data-driven culture supports employee decision-making as assessed by 100% of employees reporting they have the information they need
  • 2.2.8. Target: Shared governance, communication, and other efforts result in 50% increase in employee morale and happiness as measured by annual survey

2.3. Communication

  • 2.3.1. Target: Performance review system supports faculty and staff growth, continuous improvement, and excellence, thus reducing employee turnover by 10% (Replaced by 2.1.9 June 2017)
  • 2.3.2. Target: Communication plan delivers college messages effectively, as measured by the Great Colleges to Work For survey
  • 2.3.3. Target: New efforts foster communication improvements in all areas as measured by the Great Colleges to Work For survey

3. Priority: Community

3.1. Support Services

  • 3.1.1. Target: College recognized as the 1 provider of skilled employees in West River as assessed by employer surveys
  • 3.1.2. Target: College efforts increase economic development viability impact of the region by 10% (Updated June 2018)
  • 3.1.3. Target: Starting salary for graduates increases to an average of $20 per hour

3.2. Student, Staff, and Faculty Involvement

  • 3.2.1. Target: Policies, procedures, and actions create systematic and intentional community service and involvement in community activities by faculty, staff, and students
  • 3.2.2. Target: Alumni Association connects graduates and the college (Transferred to WDT Foundation Strategic Plan June 2018)

3.3. Community Involvement with Western Dakota Tech

  • 3.3.1. Target: Community experts present to 100% of Western Dakota Tech students academic programs through classes, events, and other learning opportunities (Updated June 2018)
  • 3.3.2. Target: Partnerships lead to business and industry participation in all recruiting events

3.4. Communication

  • 3.4.1. Target: Advisory committee feedback is valued as assessed by surveys of committee members
  • 3.4.2. Target: Robust communication plan supports college mission

Strategic Plan PDF: 2016-2021 Western Dakota Tech Strategic Plan.

Strategic Plan Outcomes



Western Dakota Tech Mission

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 Vision

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. Western Dakota Tech will embrace all students and provide the education they need to be successful. Western Dakota Tech  will build a campus culture that inspires faculty and staff to reach their potential and ensures the future of the institution. Western Dakota Tech  will build partnerships and undertake projects that strengthen the institution and the communities it serves. Finally, Western Dakota Tech  will be a model for post-secondary education in our region and nation.

Join the Conversation

Connect with Western Dakota Tech

Website Powered By PageFramer, Development By Robert Sharp & Associates