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News State / Region WCU announces membership of strategic planning group

...and the 2020 Commission

Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher has appointed a 36-member committee that will lead a strategic process designed to help guide the university’s direction and development over the next decade.

The group, called the 2020 Commission, includes representatives from the university community – faculty, staff and students – and from the broader external community – alumni, donors, friends, and business and community leaders. The committee is chaired by Melissa C. Wargo, WCU assistant vice chancellor for institutional planning and effectiveness.

“Because they are drawn from all of the university’s major stakeholder groups, the members of the 2020 Commission each bring a unique set of perspectives, expertise and knowledge to the table,” Wargo said. “These individuals will play a vital role in ensuring that Western Carolina’s new strategic plan is based upon a shared vision of the university’s future.”

Belcher, in his Opening Assembly address on Aug. 17 to launch the 2011-12 academic year, announced development of a new strategic plan as a top priority in a series of initiatives designed to give the WCU community a sense of ownership in the university’s destiny. Although WCU has a strategic plan, it is approaching the end of its shelf life and changing conditions, including cuts in state funding, make it necessary to revisit the plan, he said.

The strategic planning process will enable the university to sharpen its institutional focus by identifying what programs and activities it will pursue, as well as those programs and activities it will not pursue, Belcher said, calling it “an opportunity to choose strategically.”

The 2020 Commission will hold its inaugural meeting Wednesday, Sept. 7. The nearly yearlong process will include numerous opportunities for participation, including separate roundtable discussions for faculty, staff and students, ongoing online solicitation of input, and open hearings on and off campus. The target is to have a plan ready for presentation to the Board of Trustees at its June 2012 meeting.

In addition to Wargo, commission members are:

Kathy Abbott-Beam, formerly an educator with the Haywood County Public School System, and currently a member of the Western Carolina University Foundation board of directors.

Lance Alexis, director of disability services at WCU.

Lawrence Arbaugh, associate athletics director at WCU.

Sarah Burkhardt, a graduate student from Illinois, in the master’s degree program in college student personnel and president of the WCU Graduate Student Association.

Carol Burton, assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate studies at WCU.

T.J. Eaves, a senior from Hamlet majoring in business administration and law, and president of the WCU Student Government Association.

Robert Edwards, vice chancellor for administration and finance at WCU.

Mimi Fenton, professor of English at WCU, representing the College of Arts and Sciences.

Craig Fowler, chief information officer at WCU.

Bruce Frazier, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music at WCU, representing the College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Connie Haire of Sylva, formerly Macon campus vice president of Southwestern Community College and a member of the boards of directors of the North Carolina Arboretum and of AdvantageWest.

Leah Hampton, associate director of the Writing and Learning Commons at WCU.

Larry Kernea of Murphy, general manager of Murphy Electric Power Board and chairman of the Tri-County Community College Board of Trustees.

Gerald Kiser of Columbia, S.C., a former member of the WCU Board of Trustees.

Ron Leatherwood of Waynesville, former member of the University of North Carolina system’s Board of Governors.

Steve Lillard, assistant chief of police at WCU.

Dianne Lynch, chief of staff at WCU.

David McCord, professor and head of the Department of Psychology, representing the College of Education and Allied Professions.

Kenny Messer of Greenville, S.C., an executive with Milliken Corp., former president of the WCU Alumni Association and past-president of the Catamount Club board of directors.

Clifton Metcalf, vice chancellor for advancement and external affairs at WCU.

Jim Miller, associate vice chancellor for development at WCU.

Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs at WCU. Michael Murray of Dillsboro, superintendent of Jackson County Public Schools.

Charles Myers of Sylva, member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and associate director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

Judy Neubrander, interim director of the School of Nursing at WCU, representing the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Mike Poore of Waynesville, president and CEO of MedWest Health System.

Dana Sally, dean of WCU’s Hunter Library.

Wesley Stone, associate professor of engineering and technology at WCU, representing the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.

Bill Studenc, senior director of news services at WCU. David Tyler, assistant professor of sport management at WCU, representing the College of Business.

Joe Walker, associate vice chancellor of facilities management at WCU.

Kathy Wong, director of human resources at WCU.

Donna Welch, executive assistant for the Division of Student Affairs at WCU.

Alessia Zanin-Yost, associate professor at WCU’s Hunter Library.

For more information about the strategic planning process, visit the website http://the2020commission.wcu.edu/.


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