Strategic Plan

PennWest Strategic Planning Process

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

  • Built on the integration plans that united California, Clarion and Edinboro universities to create PennWest University.
  • Engaged a wide variety of stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members – in opportunities to provide input, review key work and offer feedback.
  • Resulted in both a comprehensive strategic plan and a University Planning Council, starting in Fall 2023, to monitor and assess initiatives identified in the plan.

A Strong Foundation

PennWest’s strategic planning process was 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 was 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 had the opportunity to provide input and feedback to inform the committee’s work.

The committee also communicated with our campus communities, providing updates as its work on the strategic plan progressed.

PennWest’s strategic planning process was informed by five values:

  1. Learning: We are a community of educators who provide a learning environment where students thrive and achieve their educational, professional, and personal goals.
  2. Growth: We are student-ready, guiding our students toward personal, financial, and academic success.
  3. Inclusion: We advocate for all members of our campus communities and provide a supportive environment that builds a sense of belonging and togetherness.
  4. Collaboration: We engage in innovative partnerships, programs, and opportunities to address the needs of our regional communities and the state.
  5. Culture: We share a sense of purpose that unites everyone and provides opportunities to learn, work, and thrive.

Through the lens of these values, planning was 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 2023-2026 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 concluded on schedule, before the start of the 2023-2024 academic year. The 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
  • September: Identify University Planning Council and launch PennWest Strategic Plan


  • Implement plan and actualize strategies and initiatives

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