Vision of Distinction
Winthrop University’s Dynamic and Visionary Planning Process
Winthrop University’s long-standing tradition of continually enhancing the quality and value of all it does is rooted in a strong commitment to a dynamic planning process that is both market-wise and vision-driven. Indeed, Winthrop’s planning process has, itself, brought national distinction to the institution in higher education circles, as well as earning accolades among state public policy leaders.
Shortly after becoming Winthrop’s ninth president in 1989, Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio engaged the campus in an introspective process to develop a new Winthrop Vision that would go beyond a standard statement of organizational mission -- a statement that would invigorate Winthrop’s inherent potential to create a culture of pervasive excellence and continuous quality improvement. That vision ultimately came to be articulated in these simple words: Winthrop University will be – and will be recognized as – one of the best universities of its kind.
That vision then was detailed by identifying a set of six intentionally timeless Winthrop Strategic Values/Goals that continue to guide the campus today, through articulating the nature and character of the Winthrop Community, our Student Body, our Academic Life, our Facilities and Environs, our Support Services and our Partnerships and Collaborations as they would need to be shaped over time to fulfill Winthrop’s vision.
From each of those Strategic Values, there is from time to time developed a more specific, rolling set of Strategic Directions – articulation of intermediate steps that will take 3-5 years to accomplish in fulfillment of some aspect of that particular Strategic Value. In turn, from each Strategic Direction there is crafted a set of Annual Initiatives – elements of work that generally can be accomplished within a 12-month timeframe. As each year’s Annual Initiatives are completed, Strategic Directions are updated and new Annual Initiatives proposed for consideration.
To broaden and deepen awareness of the University’s initiatives and the rationale for them, Winthrop annually publishes and disseminates widely to on- and off-campus stakeholders its Strategic Values and updated Annual Initiatives in a brochure known as the Vision of Distinction, then provides the public with a progress report at the end of the year.
In addition to being a commitment to public accountability, the Vision of Distinction also helps set management priorities, guides allocation of resources, keeps Winthrop personnel from various organizational divisions focused on shared goals, and is used annually to help assess institutional effectiveness on a variety of fronts.
In this way, Winthrop’s Strategic Planning Process, as shown in the diagram below, retains a dynamic quality that enables it to respond more nimbly to shifting market needs, conditions and expectations than traditional "master plan" processes, while also meeting expectations of a public university for transparency and accountability.
At the same time, the Winthrop University community can evolve as the progress of the times may require, yet retain a strong sense of its own nature and character. Those are the very traits that in recent years have brought Winthrop increasing national recognition -- and, yes, distinction – as one of the best universities of its kind.
View the current Vision of Distinction brochure.
View the 2011-12 Vision of Distinction updates.
View the 2012-13 Vision of Distinction updates.
The Winthrop University Planning Process Flow Chart:
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