Williams School Strategic Planning

The Williams School's most recent strategic plan has served the students and faculty well, but has run its course. We will spend the next year developing a new strategic plan focusing on our core strengths that will take us into the next decade of superior undergraduate education. This process will focus on our current mission, offering stakeholders various opportunities to participate. This strategic plan will be included in the university-wide planning process supported by Washington and Lee's incoming president, Will Dudley.

Faculty-led work groups will focus on what we are doing well, what can be improved, and what is most compelling to stakeholders. Our goal is to conclude the development of the Williams School strategic plan by May 2017 and move towards implementation.

Focus Group Interview Results

To date, input has been gathered through focus groups, surveys and in-depth interviews of WS faculty, students, and staff, University partners, and alumni. Results from the data collected focus on the following four themes:

  1. The Williams School is one of the few nationally ranked liberal arts schools with an accredited business program, which allows students to gain an interdisciplinary and global perspective on modern business issues while developing strong analytical thinking, critical reasoning and communication skills.

  2. The alumni of Washington and Lee University are deeply engaged in the institution and allow the WS to "punch above its weight" by providing support in the classroom and with faculty research, by mentoring students, and by hiring students for full-time and internship positions.

  3. The faculty and students expressed mutual respect for each other and feel a strong sense of community. This is facilitated by the Honor Code and other shared values, small class sizes, faculty-advising, and the open-door atmosphere in the Williams School. Students consistently rated faculty as the most positive factor in their WS experience.

  4. Opportunities exist to improve the WS by including offerings for non-WS majors, enhancing opportunities for experiential learning and global education, and modernizing the facilities to support pedagogical best practices. Students rated facilities and limited course offerings as the areas in most need of improvement.

Strategic Planning Themes

The formal kickoff to strategic planning began with a two-day retreat in August. During the two-day strategic planning retreat, five broad themes emerged which faculty will be working on during the upcoming year:

"Global Engagement Initiative" 

To develop international and field programs that are the cornerstone of each of our programs and of each of our students' experiences. Among the Williams School specific possibilities on the table are enhanced international experiences (STA, study abroad, independent research, and more).
Contact Team Leader: Afshad Irani 

"Holistic Faculty Success"

To provide resources to attract and retain a workforce that reflects the global business environment. Topics include professional/personal balance, benefits, faculty evaluations, recognition and rewards, spouse/partner opportunities.
Contact Team Leader: Linda Hooks

"Fundamentals of the Williams School" 

To re-evaluate the value proposition of the Williams School by proposing fundamental areas that every WS student should confront: business ethics and social good, oral/written communication, data collection/analysis/presentation, diverse and inclusive workplaces, and experiential learning opportunities.
Contact Team Leader: Katie Shester

"Facilities: Inside-out and Outside-in"

To re-imagine space that would maximize teaching and learning flexibility and interaction with the liberal arts.
Contact Team Leader: Amanda Bower

"Empowering Interdisciplinarity" 

To elevate interdisciplinarity by increasing the stature of these programs, increasing the range of these programs, increasing faculty autonomy to contribute to these programs, and increasing the exposure of our students to these programs.
Contact Team Leader: Sandy Reiter

Check back again for updates throughout the year.