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To the William Paterson University Community


Now that the Middle States visiting team has concluded their work and as we await the written report, it is time to begin our Strategic Planning process to develop and build a plan that will guide the University over the next ten years. While we identified the need for an overarching strategy in our Middle States Self-Study and  in my letter to the campus community of November 30, 2010, it is clear from the comments of the Middle States team leader given on March 23rd that the University must move quickly to make progress on a plan.

While no overarching strategic plan exists today, over the years much excellent effort went into planning:

  • In 2003, William Paterson adopted a Facilities Plan which has guided the physical expansion of the campus as well as renovation of some buildings. The Facilities Plan now needs to be updated as part of the University’s overall strategic planning efforts. VP Steve Bolyai, the Facilities Advisory Committee and the Cabinet already began preliminary discussions about what needs to be reviewed.
  • The Student Success Plan of 2005 was created by a University-wide committee that involved a broad cross section of our community. It provides key goals for student success, both academically and developmentally.
  • In 2008, the Board and many members of the campus community engaged in a scenario planning exercise which sought to determine strategies that could serve different environments. The effort proved useful in outlining risks to the University and allowed the Board to create a series of “dashboard indicators” to assess the progress of the University. The indicators include enrollment and retention numbers, student/faculty ratios, diversity measures, debt service to operation expense ratios, alumni giving rates, endowment size among others.
  • In 2008, the Academic Plan 2007-2012 was developed by the Academic Plan Committee and reviewed by the Faculty Senate under the leadership of Ed Weil, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. It guides the University’s efforts to enhance and develop selected academic programs and initiatives. With much accomplished, the Academic Plan will need to be updated soon.
  • In 2009, as part of the planning for the presidential search, the Board and numerous members of the University community developed criteria for the selection of a new president which actually went further and outlined longer term goals for the institution. The discussion led to a formulation of six major goals described below and now in need of refinement and specifics.
  • In 2010, the University completed a branding and marketing strategy in collaboration with Lipman Hearne to conceptualize our “brand” and develop strategies primarily focused on increasing undergraduate enrollment. The Marketing Advisory Committee and AVP Stuart Goldstein will shortly be meeting with other members of the campus to develop additional long term objectives.
  • In 2010-2011, the Information Technology Advisory Committee updated and revised the Information Technology Plan which is in the process of being finalized and discussed around the University under the guidance of Provost Ed Weil.
  • Over the past few years, individual colleges and programs developed multi-year plans, among which are the Cotsakos College of Business, the College of Science and Health, the College of Arts and Communication, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Cheng Library, the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, and the Alumni Office among others.  In addition, many academic programs and departments as well as areas of student development have long term plans.
  • Finally, the University conducted an extensive self-study for the Middle States accreditation that just concluded. It involved many members of our community under the able leadership of Jane Zeff, Director of Institutional Research and Steve Hahn, Associate Provost, and included a number of recommendations. Within the next few weeks, we will receive the written report of the visiting team with its recommendations for the University.

These various plans guided the University forward but it is now timely for William Paterson to develop an overarching plan while taking into consideration the existing plans of various parts of the University and the six goals presented by the Board.


  1. William Paterson University will become a model of excellence of a public university devoted to access for, and achievement of, its students.
  2. William Paterson University will develop its academic programs, manage enrollments and promote activities which will enhance the academic and scholarly environment of the University and increase its ability to attract and retain students.
  3. William Paterson will steadily increase its enrollment while improving recruitment and retention. Enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students will increase in programs of excellence and new programs will be developed.
  4. William Paterson will be directly engaged in the life of New Jersey and beyond, will serve as an intellectual and cultural center for the region and will provide global opportunities for faculty and students.
  5. William Paterson University will increase its visibility and academic reputation to attract excellent and diverse faculty and students.
  6. William Paterson University will secure sufficient resources and develop a budget and resource allocation process that will align strategic planning with budgeting. It will diversify its funding sources to include greater levels of philanthropy and support from its alumni, friends, foundations and corporations.


The strategic planning process will begin now and is to be inclusive, deliberative and communicated to as wide an audience as possible. The process will be coordinated by a 16 person Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPC) comprising leaders representing key constituencies and areas of the University, but in fact, representing the entire University. 

The SPC will consist of the following individuals:

Len Bogdon -- Director of Information Systems

Steve Bolyai – VP Administration and Finance

Anne Ciliberti – Director of the Cheng Library

Kristin Cohen – VP Enrollment Management starting April 11th.

Olga Correa - Undergraduate Student

Sandra DeYoung – Dean, College of Science and Health

Mark Ellis – Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Assoc. Prof. Sociology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Rochelle Kaplan – Professor of Educational Leadership, College of Education

Joann Lee – Professor and Chair, Department of Communications, College of Arts and Communication

John Martone -- VP Student Development

Raza Mir – Professor of Management and Marketing, Cotsakos College of Business

Will Pesce – Trustee, Vice-Chair of William Paterson University Board of Trustees

Aaron Van Duyne - Vice-Chair, William Paterson University Foundation Board

Ronald Verdicchio - Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education, College of Education

Kathleen Waldron- President, Chair of SPC

Edward Weil – Provost and SVP Academic Affairs

Graduate student to be identified

There will be groups of campus people, including trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni, who will be asked to focus on critical issues in various forums as well as town hall meetings and other venues for discussion of selected topics. During the planning process over the next six to nine months, the University community will have multiple opportunities to engage in dialogue, discussion and review of ideas, materials and later drafts of the plans. We will hold open forums and special sessions on critical topics.

A proposed timeline follows:

  1. Consultants will hold interview sessions with key members of the community in April.
  2. A series of Presidential Strategic Discussions on major issues will be scheduled on specific topics throughout the spring term. The first one on Visibility is scheduled for April 5th to a selected group including the Marketing Advisory Committee.
  3. Other Presidential Strategic Discussions on Building Resources, on Facilities, on Enrollment Management and on the Academic Focus will be scheduled in April, May and June.
  4. A Board retreat on strategic planning will take place in late May.
  5. A review of the process with the board of the William Paterson Foundation and Alumni Association will take place in May-June.
  6. A strategic planning site within WP Connect will be created in April and will be accessible to the William Paterson community for dissemination of materials as well as to receive comments and suggestions. Previous planning documents will be available on the front page of WPConnect under “Strategic Planning” and an email account named “Strategic-Plan” has been opened to receive feedback and comments.
  7. May to July 2011 – generate key strategic ideas emanating from existing strategic plans and from Presidential Strategic Discussions.
  8. Summer 2011- Consultants will prepare a discussion document that provides a framework for the plan.
  9. The SPC continues to meet – summer 2011.
  10. First and second drafts of the Strategic Plan – July to late October 2011 –to be shared on line and at open meetings fall 2011.
  11. Faculty Senate meeting devoted to discussion of First Draft – September 2011.
  12. William Paterson Board discussion of the First Draft – fall 2011.
  13. William Paterson Foundation and Alumni Association discussion of the First Draft –fall 2011
  14. Second draft to be created  and presented to the University community for review and comment. Under the aegis of the SPC, the evolving drafts of the plan will be shared with the University community to make certain that they are appropriately thoughtful, cogent and provide future direction.
  15. President presents final Strategic Plan to the Board of Trustees for its formal adoption towards the end of 2011 or early 2012.

In order to facilitate our planning process, we have engaged Anthony Knerr and Associates, a noted strategic planning consultant firm with extensive experience in planning at public institutions of higher education. Knerr and Associates was hired because of its excellent reputation and because one of its principal consultants has extensive experience in enrollment management, an area of need at our institution. Tony Knerr and John Braunstein will be visiting our campus shortly after already reviewing many of the planning documents cited herein. Many of you will be invited to meet with them to discuss key issues. Click here to view more information about Anthony Knerr and Associates.

I look forward to this initiative and thank you in advance for the work you will do to help William Paterson University grow and thrive in the decade ahead.



Kathleen Waldron

William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road, Wayne, New Jersey 07470     973-720-2222     president@wpunj.edu