An update from President Wente on the Strategic Framework

Dear colleagues,

As laid out in my From Wente’s Desk blog post last week, the next steps are being taken to develop our new Strategic Framework aimed at fueling our momentum into a third century as an academic institution focused on excellence. Today I am pleased to announce the launch of our Strategic Framework website, which will serve as a key platform for sharing information and documenting our progress going forward.  As our Strategic Framework process evolves, so will the website, so please continue to visit the site as we move through this year. 

I am also excited to announce the full composition of the Core Planning Team, a key entity in ensuring inclusive, collective and transparent engagement. The Core Planning Team’s overall charge is to bring forward a full draft of a strategic framework to me in May 2023.  As a first step, the team will engage faculty, staff, and students in listening sessions during September and October in order to understand our community’s perspectives on what is distinctive about Wake Forest and where our focus should be to truly differentiate us from other great universities into the future. The listening sessions will inform a set of themes to be announced in November upon which the framework will be based. Together, the Core Planning Team and I will then identify and charge Thematic Working Groups, who will take deep dives into each theme to conduct an analysis of where we are currently and where we should focus forward as a Great University. Embedded in this work, I have charged Vice President Villalba to regularly convene with the Core Planning Team and with representatives from each of the Thematic Working Groups to ensure that best practices in promoting inclusive excellence are woven throughout the resulting cohesive, actionable framework. 

Provost Gillespie will chair the Core Planning Team, supported by three vice-chairs:

  • Amanda Griffith, Associate Professor and Chair of economics
  • John Knox, Henry C. Lauerman Professor of International law
  • Corey Walker, Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities and Director of African American studies. 

The members of the Core Planning Team, in alphabetical order are: 

  • Phil Anderson, Associate Teaching Professor, School of Business
  • Grey Ballard, Dunn-Riley Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of computer science
  • Shea Kidd Brown, Vice President for Campus Life
  • Regina Cordy, assistant professor of biology
  • Mary Foskett, Wake Forest Kahle Professor, John Thomas Albritton Fellow, and Chair of the Department for the Study of Religions
  • Michael Gross, Professor of Engineering and David and Leila Farr Faculty Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Philip Howard, the Joseph M. Bryan fellow in banking and finance and Assistant Professor
  • Ana Iltis, Carlton Professor of University Studies, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society
  • Nina Lucas, Professor and Chair of Dance and Theatre
  • Gregory Parks, Professor of Law
  • John Sumanth, James Farr Fellow and Associate Professor of Management
  • José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Jonathan Walton, Presidential Chair of Religion and Society, Dean of the School of Divinity and Dean of Wait Chapel 

The members of the Core Planning Team are charged with representing the broader University community and will ensure that all faculty and staff have their voices and perspectives heard so as to inform our Strategic Framework. Next week, via the website and InsideWFU updates, I anticipate announcing the memberships of the University Resource Group and the Advisory Network.

Over the course of the next two months, there will be multiple opportunities for faculty, staff, students and other key stakeholders to share their insights and expertise. Importantly, the Thematic Working Groups formed in November will be large, cross-disciplinary, groups of faculty and key staff; providing additional leadership roles for more individuals. And, again during the spring semester, there will be opportunities for members of our University community to give input on our direction for the future. I encourage you to take advantage of all of these opportunities. 

Our framework will only be as strong as the input we receive and your willingness to engage in all ways. We have so many strengths to build upon – and as Dean Jonathan Lee Walton noted in his welcome to the new academic year,  I know we will embrace this opportunity to meet the needs of an ever-changing community. This is why I am so optimistic about our future, our visioning for 2034 and approaching our third century, and our creative work together for humanity. 


Susan R. Wente