Topics defined for working groups in next stage of Strategic Framework

In her November address and blog, President Wente shared that Phase 2 of the Strategic Framework would require establishing a series of working groups to explore how the thematic goals will be achieved. Since then, Provost Michele Gillespie and the Core Planning Team have engaged in an iterative process to develop and propose a set of key areas for focused work. The process, in addition to further review by President Wente and other members of the Strategic Framework team, has yielded the following working group topics:

1. Enrich the student experience.

This group will explore how we encapsulate the depth and complexity of our distinctive learning communities — undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing — into a comprehensive, developmental model that “calls all to develop their full potential to contribute in a diverse and complex world.” The model should focus on key components of the student experience, including residential and non-residential; well-being and mental health; diversity, equity, inclusion; belonging and thriving; and broad-based leadership modalities. This group should consider the many avenues in which learning takes place in and beyond the classroom, and the opportunities to more intentionally integrate all student experiences across the diversity of available learning environments, and across a lifetime.

2. Frame the future of excellence in teaching and academic engagement.

This group will envision the future of learning at Wake Forest, with an emphasis on exploring how we further develop a signature intellectual community for students that promotes inquiry, integrity, and courage. Key areas of consideration will include expanding access to high-impact practices and especially to experiential learning and student research, scholarship and creative work; increasing opportunities for shared engagement and learning across the college, schools, campuses, and study away programs; fostering meaningful discourse across differences; developing strategies to address equity in access to learning environments; sustaining an environment that prioritizes the critical role of student mentorship by faculty and staff; and exploring the role of new technologies and online education.

3. Enhance impact through distinction in research, scholarship and creative work.

Building on existing and emerging areas of defined university-wide collaborative excellence, this group will consider strategies for catalyzing a culture of intellectual inquiry and innovation across academic and institutional boundaries. The strategy should support designated current areas of distinction, increase the impact of selected emerging areas of distinction, and create the opportunity for future areas of distinction to evolve. This group will consider existing barriers to working across boundaries and propose strategies to enable cross-disciplinary and cross-unit engagement in support of our unique teacher-scholar model. Strategies for increasing the impact of our research, scholarship, and creative work in STEM, social science, the arts and humanities, public scholarship, and our museums and collections will be explored.

4. Build on Wake Forest’s unique role in supporting the well-being of the communities we call home.

This group will consider the many ways in which universities contribute to their communities, with a particular emphasis on exploring the capabilities we bring as a research university to supporting community well-being. One particular area of emphasis will be building on synergistic areas of research distinction that Wake Forest collectively – including the medical school and health sciences – can bring to community partnerships. This group will also consider best practices in community-engaged research, mechanisms for generating external funding support for this work, and ways to better facilitate collaborations among our Wake Forest and higher education colleagues for the good of our broader communities.

5. Define principles and pathways for engaging in sustainable partnerships locally and globally.

Strategic partnerships play an essential role in our ability to live out our mission and enable us to both enhance our capacity for and amplify the impact of innovation. This group will consider the principles that guide our partnerships and the pathways for identifying, developing, and sustaining them over time. They will also examine the strengths of existing partnerships and review partnerships for alignment with our new strategic framework. This group will explore how our motto, Pro Humanitate, should motivate the manner and methods by which Wake Foresters engage with the larger world.


Each group will be led by two co-chairs and composed of faculty and staff across the University. By design, the working groups are not aligned under an individual thematic goal. The areas to be explored by each working group may overlap with multiple thematic goals and should produce broad discussions and opportunities for collaboration. The current draft description for each working group is viewed as a launching point with potential future refinements as the work progresses. The co-chairs and group memberships will be announced in January.

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