Insight: Autumn 2008

Autumn 2008

A Plan for the 21st Century

UW Bothell Strategic Initiatives to Meet State and Regional Needs

By Elizabeth Fischtziur

UW Bothell

After 18 years the University of Washington Bothell's mission statement still rings as true today as the day it was created:

UW Bothell holds the student-faculty relationship to be paramount. We provide access to excellence in higher education through innovative and creative curricula, interdisciplinary teaching and research, and a dynamic community of multicultural learning.

As such, the mission to provide access often means being flexible in the institution's approach and responsive to community needs. With state demand for educational access at an all-time high, UW Bothell recently determined the need to reexamine its priorities and strategic plans to ensure that they were still meeting their mission.

From Fall 2007 to late Spring 2008, the campus participated in an active academic planning process complete with workshops, retreats and surveys. "The process was driven by the ideas and vision of the entire UW Bothell community," says Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Jeffords. "Our priorities emerged through the dedication and partnership of faculty, staff, alumni, advisory board members, students and other constituents." The resulting "21st Century Campus Initiative: University of Washington Bothell Priorities Plan for 2008-2020" was finalized in May 2008, with broad support. It condensed the variety of needs and goals identified during the planning process into an outline for how UW Bothell will grow in response to the state's needs for increasing access to higher education.

Most notably, the Initiative established three overall institutional goals:

  • Build a distinctive 21st Century public institution reflecting our mission and campus priorities.
  • Grow to a combined enrollment of 5,000 under graduate and graduate students by 2020 to serve the needs of our region.
  • Achieve distinctiveness and growth in a fiscally responsible manner.

As a way of meeting these goals, the Initiative further identified seven priorities to serve regional and student needs. The interconnected priorities grew out of the campus' existing culture, strengths and endeavors. Unranked, they include:

  • Growth: Serve the citizens of the State of Washington by providing increased access to a premier university education.
  • Resourcefulness: Build a culture of institutional sustainability through sound, creative use of financial and human resources.
  • Diversity: Enhance campus commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Student-centered: Enhance student services to support academic success and enrich student life.
  • Community: Deepen and broaden community engagement and research.
  • Innovation: Support signature strengths in interdisciplinary scholarship and innovative teaching.
  • Sustainability: Develop environmental and human sustainability as a signature initiative.

"These seven priorities will serve as a guide in all of our institutional planning, to focus our efforts and resources on achieving our exciting vision for the future of UW Bothell," says Jeffords. To further explore the priorities, task force committees have been established to identify and create courses of action for translating these visionary priorities into measurable plans. Several task force committees are progressing in this regard with others to come online in upcoming years as the Initiative continues to redefine the campus' size and scope.

With this ambitious new endeavor, UW Bothell is not only being responsive to projected needs, but is doing so in a united way that upholds its traditions of excellence and distinction, promotes collegiality, and strengthens its commitment to student success. "Student success is the real center of our plan," says Jeffords. "Our priorities ultimately represent a vision for how to best prepare students to take leadership roles throughout the state and beyond for the 21st century."

To learn more about the 21st Century Initiative and to follow the progress, visit