A New Strategic Plan for the Next Five Years

Strategic plans provide a blueprint for where an organization wants to go.  At UW-Madison, we’ve typically updated our strategic plan every five years.  In the past year we’ve recently completed a new strategic framework for 2020-2025, and I’d encourage you to take a look.  (If you want a one-page summary of the elements in this strategic plan, you can download it here.)

We want the University of Wisconsin-Madison to be a model public university in the 21st century, fulfilling our responsibilities for excellence in teaching and research, acting as a responsible community that serves students, staff and faculty well, while also reaching out to the state and nation to enhance quality of life and fulfill the Wisconsin Idea.

Our strategic plan provides guidance by outlining the key issues we need to be working on in the next five years in order to be a model public university.  Each school, college, department, and other unit can build their own strategic plans off of the template provided by this university-wide plan.  For instance, while we outline key ways by which the university can maintain and expand on its excellence in education, a school or a department can outline the specific steps they are taking to maintain and improve educational excellence in their own unit.

There are five primary priority areas in this strategic plan:

Under each priority area, we provide a few bullet points that indicate the strategic areas that we will be emphasizing in order to pursue these priorities over the next few years.  For instance, under a vibrant campus community, we want to focus on health and wellness, diversity, and learning that encompasses experiences both in and out of the classroom.

In each area, we identify several initiatives that we are currently pursuing.  Please keep in mind, there are many great initiatives and programs happening across campus and that we have chosen only a few to illustrate how this is being implemented.  These featured examples are just that – examples – and the lists are far from exhaustive.   Each school, college and other unit will have their own lists.

Creating a good, actionable strategic plan is a big challenge. I’ve seen them done in a variety of ways and all too often the process can take time, or focus, away from doing the hard work required to improve the organization. This plan is specific enough to give clear direction on the issues we plan to work on in the years ahead and how we want to get there.  But it’s also broad enough to allow almost all units to use the framework to develop specific plans for their unit that integrate with this larger plan.

I hope you’ll take the time to review our website. I want to thank everyone who’s worked on this round of strategic planning. If you have feedback on the 2020-25 strategic framework, please send your thoughts to chancellor@wisc.edu.

The strategic plan is just the blueprint. The work of turning that blueprint into a reality is what we must engage in every day.