MACOMB – On Tuesday the Western Illinois Faculty Senate voted to endorse the Higher Values in Higher Education 2017-2027 strategic plan for the university.
Vice President for Quad Cities and Planning Dr. Joe Rives participated in the discussion through video conferencing.
Before the vote was cast, he urged members of the Faculty Senate to endorse the 10-year strategic plan when he said: “As a reviewer, I am just going to say we’ve been in a difficult position with the Higher Learning Commission. With the two-year budget impasse, they looked at all Illinois public universities skeptically. Thankfully we’ve been through that.”
He continued with a brief refresher of notable recent events at the university. “We had a vote of no confidence, we had a strike (authorization) vote, and we look perceptually like an institution in chaos…and to not have a strategic plan, I don’t know how many more times I can for lack of better words defend the institution to the commission.”
“So, I hope in your thoughts,” Rives said, “that we could, if we had to, in the fall, if we absolutely had to stop the strategic plan as it’s written today and go back to the drawing boards. That might be one possibility. But to operate on a five-year-old strategic plan as you’re trying to self-study yourself is not strong.”
With endorsement of the 10-year strategic plan and following adjournment of the Faculty Senate meeting, Chairperson Dr. Steven Rock spoke with the Voice about the endorsement.
He explained the strategic plan is a “vision of where the university will be going over the next 10 years, and we are one of the constituency groups on campus that was asked to examine the document, make comments on it, impose revisions and that was done. And on the basis of those, we agreed to endorse the document.”
Typically there is a review process of the strategic plan which takes place every five years, but, as the Faculty Chairperson said, “There are annual considerations of perhaps tweaks or changes that would need to be made. So, it’s a living document, and it’s not cast in concrete. Its sort of a visualization of where we’re going to go. It’s an aspirational document.”
Rock went onto to say that the document can be reviewed at an even earlier day by this September if situations at the university happen to change. “I mean, for example, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the legislature – how that might potentially affect us. So, it’s something that we need to take a look at, change (the document) as it’s needed, and I think Dr. Rives is certainly prepared to do that.”
The Higher Values in Higher Education 2017-2027 strategic plan next goes to the Student Government Association (SGA) where Dr. Rives will request an endorsement by student legislators on May 1.

Reach Christopher Ginn by email at cginn@mcdonoughvoice.com.