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Town hall meets for Westminster at 150 updates

Westminster College President Beth Dobkin welcomes attendees to the presentation regarding updates to Westminster at 150 Sept. 24. Westminster at 150 is the institution’s current strategic plan initiative to be fully implemented by 2025. Photo courtesy of Ella Viesturs.

Westminster College administrators, faculty, staff and some students gathered in the Vieve Gore Concert Hall Sept. 24 to engage in a presentation regarding updates to Westminster at 150, the institution’s developing strategic plan. 

The strategic plan is expected to be fully implemented by Westminster’s 150th anniversary in 2025.

President Beth Dobkin introduced the plan — which began development in Spring 2019 — emphasizing its purpose to serve as Westminster’s “secret sauce.”

“What are we going to do that sets us apart? [What are we going to do] that really addresses some of the greatest challenges we have?” Dobkin said.

The plan comprises four priorities that aim “to increase enrollment and revenue generation by elevating our distinctiveness, competitiveness and student success,” according to Westminster’s website.

The four strategic priorities are:

  • A signature student experience
  • Integrated wellness
  • Power of place
  • Diversification of academic programs
Chemistry professor Robyn Hyde answers audience questions regarding the diversification of academic programs strategic priority Sept. 24. Hyde, among other faculty and staff, is a member of the strategic positioning implementation group in charge of expanding learning programs and opportunities at Westminster College. Photo courtesy of Ella Viesturs.

Each priority is teamed by strategic positioning implementation groups made up of faculty and staff. The groups have been and will continue to develop and refine their specific element of the strategic plan.

For example, the cohort behind student experience is working to develop a plan to give students “opportunities to become career-ready, apply their academic coursework in diverse and meaningful contexts, and be prepared to step into leadership roles ethically, effectively, and responsibly,” according to the priority mission statement.

Julie Stewart, an associate professor for the Honors College, is a part of the signature student experience priority team. Stewart said she emphasizes the importance of fostering intrinsic motivation within Westminster students.

“We want to encourage every student to engage in interdisciplinary thinking,” Stewart said. “We want students to be able to solve complex problems. […] We want them to ask deep questions, generate fresh insights and propose innovative solutions to the problems of our time.”

Faculty and staff members exit Jewett Center for Performing Arts following the two hour town hall meeting about Westminster 150 Sept. 24. The expansion of the Jewett Center is among a handful of structural updates that are in the works for Westminster College. Photo courtesy of Ella Viesturs.

Each strategic positioning implementation group was represented at the Sept. 24 presentation.

Christie Fox, director of retention and student success, is a member of the diversification of academic programs strategic positioning implementation group, and said the cohort enhances programs already initiated at Westminster.

“What we’re doing here is utilizing what we’ve already been doing really well,” Fox said. 

Westminster at 150 is still in its early stages and will continue to develop over the next four years, according to Dobkin. The initiative will “elevate [Westminster’s] distinctiveness, competitiveness, and student success based on [the institution’s] signature student experience […],” according to the strategic plan.

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