Jun. 1, 2022
From the President: CWU’s Vision and Mission and Multicultural Center
Dear CWU community,
As we move toward the end of the academic year, I write with gratitude for all you have done to make the year successful. I have had the opportunity to meet with and listen to many of you—students, staff, and faculty. And what I hear continues to affirm that Central Washington University is a special place that transforms the lives of students, their families, and their communities.
One alumni put it very clearly: the depth and quality of relationships at CWU are unique. They provide a foundation for exploring who you are as a student and who you are becoming. And while we have created a nurturing and welcoming community, we have more work ahead of us to expand that culture of belonging to all students, staff, and faculty so that everyone feels like they can show up in the fullness of their identity.
I write today with an update on our Vision and Mission statements and CWU’s Multicultural Center.
Vision and Mission Statements
The collaborative and inclusive process we utilized to create new Vision and Mission statements captured the heart of who we want to become as a university. On Friday, May 20, 2022, the Board of Trustees approved the final Vision and Mission statements:
Vision: Central Washington University will be a model learning community of equity and belonging.
Mission: In order to build a community of equity and belonging, Central Washington University nurtures culturally sustaining practices that expand access and success to all students. We are committed to fostering high impact practices, sustainability, and authentic community partnerships that are grounded in meaningful relationships.
A quick note about our new Vision statement and what we heard from the university community. Some groups wanted to include the phrase “will build” as part of the Vision in order to indicate, clearly, that we have lots of work to do. That phrase has now been added to the Mission statement. The Steering Committee decided not to include “build” in the Vision because we do not want to suggest that the work before us is about building, and building, and building…and never getting there. The Vision is to BE a model of equity and belonging—something we have not yet achieved but strive to become.
And a few notes about the Mission statement. First, the importance of the work we have to do to build this community is now included as the opening to the Mission statement. We cannot emphasize enough that we understand, as a committee, how much hard work we have in front of us. Second, there was some desire to include “curriculum” and “pedagogy” after “culturally sustaining” in order to indicate that shifting our curriculum and pedagogy must be part of this work. The Faculty Senate leaned into the notion that faculty must be on board with revising their curriculum and pedagogy in order to sustain the various cultures we welcome to campus. Given its importance, we can include this in the Strategic Plan.
And, finally, the university was split on the use of “learners” or “students.” Many advocated for “learners” to indicate that we are all a part of the learning that must be done. The Steering Committee retained “students” in the Mission because we need to have a laser focus on expanding access for and maximizing the success of our students; there is a great deal of work to be done here, and we must dedicate ourselves to these priorities. Additionally, the idea that everyone at the university must be learning is included in the Vision statement under the phrase “learning community.” We can also include it in the Strategic Plan.
Please join me in thanking the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan Steering Committee for their dedication in listening to the university community and creating an inclusive and collaborative process. The committee will begin learning about the role and structure of strategic plans over the summer so we can engage the university community this fall.
Last week, the student body at Central Washington University took an important vote to provide funding to build a Multicultural Center (MCC). The vote extended the bond for the Student Union and Recreation Center, providing significant funding for the design and construction of a new space located in the heart of the Ellensburg campus. Additionally, the administration will request funding from the state to expand the space to house our Office of Undergraduate Studies and our area and ethnic studies programs.
The MCC will act as a hub for students, staff, and faculty to build community, celebrate and sustain diverse identities and cultures, and elevate the talents and treasures of historically marginalized individuals—truly allowing us the opportunity to put our new Vision and Mission into practice. Ultimately, the goal of creating a Multicultural Center is to advance the diversity of the campus and, most importantly, to create a sense of belonging for traditionally underrepresented students, staff, and faculty.
This is a historic moment for our university community, and I want to thank our students for leading the way. Working with students, we have already started the process of predesign for the MCC and will now move into the design and build phase.
Once again, thank you for all you have done this year as we continue to navigate the pandemic and find ways to reengage with one another. At the same time that I have a celebratory heart and look forward to commencement, I know that there is much work to be done in the world to make it more just and more fair. The tragedies at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde should be top of mind and top of heart for all of us.
Our Vision to create a community of equity and belonging cannot simply be words on a page; they must transform what we do as a university. And then, most importantly, our work must radiate out into the world to create a better, fairer, and more just place for everyone to live, work, and learn.
A. James Wohlpart