Strategic What?

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<em>In this seven-part series, </em>Imprint <em>sits down with the leaders of each theme of UW&rsquo;s strategic plan to learn what the university is working on and why students should pay attention.</em>


One of the eight themes of UW&rsquo;s strategic plan is promoting a sound values system, a theme that is arguably the foundation for all others.


Ultimately, other themes like experiential education are not effective if they do not operate with integrity. The leaders of this theme are Mahejabeen Ebrahim, recently appointed director of equity, Beth Jewkes, associate provost of resources, and Amanda McKenzie, manager of the office of academic integrity.


&ldquo;Our approach has been to identify where to fill the gaps as well as to develop a comprehensive approach to establish the sound values for the university,&rdquo; Ebrahim said in regards to the overlap between this and other themes.


Ebrahim&rsquo;s position itself was created to fulfill an objective of the values theme.


According to the leaders, there are three primary goals in creating a sound values system; one being to enhance the wellbeing of students, staff, and faculty. The second is promoting integrity as a core value for all members of the campus community. The last is to provide an equitable and inclusive environment for all students, staff, and faculty.&nbsp;


The leaders also stated that a sound values system operates closely with two other strategic plan themes: a vibrant student experience, and a robust employer-employee relationship.


&ldquo;Our 2014 priorities were meant to complement their activities,&rdquo; Jewkes said.


&ldquo;One of the initiatives that will affect students a lot &hellip; is the establishment and codification of those sound values. What are they, clarify, codify, and then embed those in our policies and our procedures and our practices,&rdquo; Ebrahim said. She said it is important to communicate what UW&rsquo;s values are and what they mean to students, staff, and faculty.


They are also looking at producing demographic data in order to better understand the needs of the campus community.


&ldquo;We&rsquo;re working on recruitment procedures for faculty,&rdquo; Ebrahim said of another aspect of the values theme. &ldquo;Attracting [and] retaining a diverse workforce, a diverse faculty cohort, will better help us meet student needs,&rdquo; she said.


The university has recognized that UW is becoming increasingly diverse; therefore, developing policies based on equitable values is foundational to the strategic plan.


The team leading the sound values theme have had several focus groups with many campus stakeholders, including students, in order to determine the current gaps in UW&rsquo;s value system.


&ldquo;What we&rsquo;re hearing in our consultations is reminding us and affirming and confirming [sic] that we&rsquo;re on the right track,&rdquo; Ebrahim said.&nbsp;
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