Home  >  
About  >  
President  >  

Strategic Plan

PennWest Strategic Planning Process

Pennsylvania Western University has embarked on a yearlong planning process to shape its future and create a five-year strategic plan. This process will:

  • Build on the integration plans that united California, Clarion and Edinboro universities to create PennWest University.
  • Engage a wide variety of stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members – in opportunities to provide input, review key work and offer feedback.
  • Result in both a comprehensive strategic plan and a University Planning Council to monitor and assess initiatives identified in the plan.

A Strong Foundation

PennWest’s strategic planning process is modeled on the in-depth integration planning that took place from Fall 2020 through Summer 2022. Integration planning, which involved more than 600 students, faculty, staff, trustees and community members, laid the groundwork for our university.

Some key elements:

  • Strategic analysis to map PennWest’s strengths, challenges and potential.
  • Identification of long-term goals and specific strategies for reaching them.
  • Initial components of PennWest’s mission, vision and values.

A Collaborative Process

The planning process will be led by a Strategic Planning Committee chaired by Dr. Susanne Fenske and composed of members from across the university.

Throughout the process, students, faculty, staff, trustees and community members will have the opportunity to provide input and feedback to inform the committee’s work.

The committee also will communicate with our campus communities, providing updates as its work on the strategic plan progresses.

PennWest’s strategic planning process will be informed by five guiding principles:

  1. We offer education your way.
  2. We are student ready.
  3. We advocate for all members of our community.
  4. We are Western Pennsylvania.
  5. We empower and invest in our people and culture.

Through the lens of these guiding principles, planning will be organized around seven focus areas:

  1. Academic innovation and excellence
  2. Affordability,
  3. Career readiness
  4. Diversity, equity and inclusion
  5. Enrollment growth
  6. Fiscal sustainability and efficiency
  7. Student success

Ongoing Assessment

PennWest’s inaugural strategic plan is expected to cover the 2023-2028 timeframe. During that period, a cross-campus University Planning Council will:

  • Provide ongoing assessment of initiatives identified in the plan.
  • Monitor the university’s progress toward reaching its goals.


PennWest’s yearlong strategic planning process is expected to conclude before the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. A tentative timeline:


  • August: Identify core Strategic Planning Committee
  • September: Identify strategic planning subcommittees
  • October-December: Synthesize existing work; prepare for stakeholder input


  • January-March: Collect stakeholder input
  • March-May: Synthesize feedback and develop final plan
  • June-July: Create assessment plans; identify University Planning Council
  • August: Launch PennWest Strategic Plan