Fostering and Sustaining Community

Goal Statement:

We will foster and advance an equitable and welcoming environment that promotes belonging, well-being, and a shared commitment to the common good creating a sustainable community of educators.

OUTCOME 1:Advance a living, learning, and working environment dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging among all members within and beyond the University community by supporting initiatives that align with university values and contribute to the common good (Boyer Report).

Initiative 1: Explore the creation of a comprehensive, campus-wide data collection and assessment system that measures community engagement and outcomes for students, faculty, staff, and community partners who participate in community engaged learning.

Year 1: In conjunction with the University Advancement and External Affairs (UAEA) develop a “WCU Community Engagement Inventory” to coordinate and organize data collection to assess community engagement across all members of the university. Examine data collection instruments (Campus Climate, NSSE, FSSE). Identify gaps where community engagement is not being assessed. Develop a plan toward a comprehensive method for institutional use that streamlines data collection and data analysis. Work with the Foundation and Alumni Engagement Office to assess engagement.

Initiative 2: Expand community engagement beyond the campus experience to support and promote a culture of community engagement and leadership.

Year 1: Identify and assess existing policies, procedures, and experiential opportunities beyond the campus. Identify areas to enhance and grow community engaged learning opportunities and community engagement off-campus.

OUTCOME 2: Create a comprehensive experience that is designed to enhance well-being, growth, and a sense of belonging for all at the university that aligns with university resources (Boyer Report, U.S. Surgeon General).

Initiative 1: Assess, identify, and recommend organizational services and programs that support the mental, physical, and professional well-being and belonging of university employees.

Year 1: In conjunction with Wellness Promotion and Human Resources, develop an inventory of current university services and programs that promote employee well-being and belonging.

Initiative 2: Assess the well-being and belonging of university students.

Year 1: In conjunction with Wellness Promotion, and the JED Initiative, research, identify, and utilize the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) or other identified instrument to measure a sense of well-being and belonging of university students, faculty, and staff on an annual basis. Disseminate survey instrument. The Jed Foundation (JED) is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, giving them the skills and support they need to thrive today…and tomorrow. JED Campus is a signature program of JED designed to guide schools through a collaborative process of comprehensive systems, program and policy development with customized support to build upon existing student mental health, substance use and suicide prevention efforts."

OUTCOME 3: Create inclusive and sustainable university environments that meet the needs of current and future members of the community.

Initiative 1: Promote physical space equity on campus.

Year 1: Perform an audit of physical spaces throughout campus to measure the equity of allocation and access to the demographics and needs of the community members served by those spaces.

Initiative 2: Transform WCU into a dynamic living laboratory and creative space by enhancing the outdoor community experience.

Year 1: Inventory and assess existing outdoor spaces and places that serve as living laboratories and creative spaces to measure if and how they enhance the outdoor community experience.

Initiative 3: Explore the feasibility of establishing living-learning communities to enhance the residential student experience.

Year 1: Create a working group to bring campus partners together to review data from previous attempts or feasibility studies of LLCs and to investigate current best practices in creating living-learning communities.

Initiative 4: Improve and activate public gathering spaces to create welcoming environments.

Year 1: Identify and assess public gathering spaces across campus. Complete capital improvements using existing funds to clean and modernize the identified gathering spaces and the furniture within. Research suggests that these identified third-place spaces (lounges, recreation, and collaboration spaces) have the potential to foster connection and build community.

OUTCOME 4: Continue to enhance culture of sustainability on campus by integrating sustainability education and promoting responsible use of environmental, social and economic resources in innovative and effective ways.

Initiative 1: Improve financial and technological productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness through innovative systems, processes, and behaviors.

Year 1: As part of a multi-phase project, modernize our student systems including implementing the Banner Student Information System (RamPortal) to replace myWCU to create more flexibility, a modernization of business systems, increase efficiencies, and prioritize student success.

Year 1: Explore the possibility for sourcing renewable electricity through a Power Purchase Agreement collaborating with PASSHE that honors WCU’s commitments to fiscal responsibilities and environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Initiative 2: Develop and apply Zero Waste guidelines that encourage the redesign of university operations, practices, and policies to use financial, material, technological, and human resources efficiently and sustainably.

Year 1: Share results of zero waste audit and visioning exercises completed in Pathways strategic plan and promote the concept of zero waste as an economically and environmentally responsible way to manage university resources.

Initiative 3: Promote and enhance the WCU Sustainability Council’s Green Office Program by providing educational resources to employees, integrating sustainability training into orientation programs, and assessing outcomes.

Year 1: Develop a promotional campaign for the existing Green Office Program and collect data to establish baseline levels of materials and energy resources consumption at WCU in preparation for Year 2 assessment of outcomes.

Workgroup Members: Adriane Reilly, JT Singh, Kerry Walton (tri-chairs); Meagan Corrado, Julie Dietrich, Brad Flamm, Lindsey Mosvick, Michael Sachs, Scott Sherman, Judy Suska, Jayme Trogus, Devan Zgleszewski