The Vision Project at RWU is a University-wide effort to define a roadmap to the future for Roger Williams University. Through this process we will challenge ourselves to dig deeper, think bigger and look much further ahead than is done in traditional strategic plans. Our resulting vision will be bold, vivid, decisive and disciplined: a depiction of the institution we can become through the application of our best ideas and efforts across the next generation. Ultimately, our sights are set on how we can best achieve not merely survival or even success, but rather significance.
Roger Williams University has, to date, successfully met the many challenges facing higher education in the 21st century. Through our Affordable Excellence initiative, tuition has not increased since 2012, and is guaranteed not to increase for any currently enrolled student. RWU students are encouraged to develop two independent academic strengths and to engage in at least one project-based learning activity in order to gain relevant experience in a real-world setting prior to graduating. At a time when many of our peer institutions are facing falling student numbers and budgetary deficits, Roger Williams University has significantly exceeded its enrollment targets two years in a row.
But we cannot rest on our current success. RWU must develop a more comprehensive set of interrelated strategies that will continue to place us in a strong position not only to survive but also to prosper. We must effect change in a collaborative, yet systematic manner to avoid creating a grab bag of initiatives that may be mutually inconsistent.
A first step is to review our current core values, to determine if they really capture the essence of what is at the heart of everything we do and believe; to reconsider our mission statement in light of the profound changes that have occurred in our external environment in recent years; and to develop a vision statement that gives us a sense of direction and purpose as we consider how best to respond to current and future threats and opportunities.
In order to accomplish these tasks successfully, we will rely heavily on our commitment to shared governance. We will engage in a deep and thorough conversation that includes not only all of our campus constituencies, but also allows us to hear voices from outside the campus.
The Vision Project must, in the end, be led by our Board of Trustees, in whose hands—under our Bylaws—rests the ultimate responsibility of determining the policies and priorities by which we establish and carry out our institutional objectives. But the collective wisdom and creative thought of our entire University community is needed to ensure that the goals we establish respect our past and are aligned with our present, while challenging us to think boldly about our future.