Under the leadership of President Frederick W. Clark Jr., Esq., ’83, Bridgewater State University is committed to an inclusive and comprehensive strategic planning process, building on a foundation of institutional strategic planning at the University. Strategic planning is essential to the University’s ability to advance its historic mission of providing access to a high-quality education for all students, promoting social justice and enhancing the quality of life for the residents of Southeastern Massachusetts through its position as a vital intellectual, economic, and cultural resource in the region. The plan helps the University to establish clear priorities, guide decision making, align its financial and human resources with its goals, and maximize the impact of its resources. This plan is a “living” document, a guidepost for decision making and one that is referenced, revisited, and revised on an ongoing basis.
The institutional strategic plan is framed on a foundation of data-informed decision making, stakeholder inclusion, and careful stewardship of human and financial resources. Building upon the University’s previous efforts, including the BSU Institutional Plan adopted in 2018, it provides an inclusive and outcomes-focused guiding document. Bridgewater’s strategic planning is comprehensive, using a unique nested design, which pivots off of the institutional plan to guide strategic plans at the divisional, college, departmental and program levels. Additionally, the plan incorporates an active planning process with a 5-year review cycle and an annual review of outcomes.
Approach and Commitment
Bridgewater State University’s strategic plan is a comprehensive “living” document with an institutional-level plan that establishes primary goals and objectives and an implementation plan, which describes the paths by which the institution achieves its strategic priorities and goals. It will also inform divisional, college, departmental and program level plans. Finally, the strategic plan includes a review and revision of policies and procedures to formalize paths to decision making.
Every year, BSU provides updates on divisional and interdivisional initiatives aligned with the strategic plan. These reviews occur twice a year, after the fall and spring semesters. In these reviews, divisional and interdivisional committees document and communicate achievements tied to the strategic plan and ensure that goals, objectives and commitments are current and relevant.
Nested Strategic Planning
Inclusion and Data Informed Decision Making
To ensure a robust and inclusive plan, Bridgewater actively invited its stakeholders to participate in the planning process. Additionally, survey instruments and a review of critical quantitative data provided a foundation for decision making.
At more than 45 sessions in 2021-2023, President Clark invited University faculty, librarians, staff and students to share their vision for the institution. Key themes and action items guiding the plan emerged out of this process, building on the 2018 BSU Institutional Strategic Plan.
Campus Climate Surveys
Students, faculty, librarians, and staff have been included in a number of campus climate surveys administered by the Office of Institutional Research. The surveys guided decisions to improve campus diversity, social justice, and safety.
The planning process includes data on workforce development and community partnerships from stakeholders in the region, which was collected through focus groups and electronic surveys. Listening tours and focused meetings with community partners in K-12 education, local government, non-profit organizations, and business organizations were held to gather input on economic and workforce development.
Senior Staff, Town Hall, Board of Trustees and the Strategic Planning Webpage
A number of updates regarding the institutional planning process were shared at meetings of the University’s senior staff, at Town Hall with all University employees, with the Board of Trustees and on the Strategic Planning webpage. Opportunities for participation were included. The members of the Executive Leadership Council, which is comprised of more than 100 University faculty, librarians, staff, and administrators met to review a near final draft of the plan in October 2023.
Data Dashboard Building on the Board of Higher Education Vision Project and Data Streams
The strategic plan paid particular attention to the Vision Project Dashboard, setting goals which would positively impact and advance the overarching goal of student success. Data Streams initiatives will continue to provide critical data for organizational decisions throughout the strategic planning implementation process. The dashboard is aligned to the Department of Higher Education’s Performance Measurement System (PMRS), and provides evidence of BSU’s Student Success Framework.
Planning Partners and Institutional Summit
The planning process also included preview sessions with the MSCA, AFSCME and APA unions as well as the AUC. All members of the BSU community, including students and employees were invited to a planning summit in November 2023, to provide feedback on the plan and its outcome measures.
Key Themes and Areas of Focus
In 2018, twelve key themes were revealed during Bridgewater’s strategic planning process through both direct communication with stakeholders and data analysis. All of these key themes emerged from the inclusive planning process, which included listening tours and surveys of faculty, librarians, staff, and students. The themes are integrated into both institutional and divisional plans. Those key themes led to five strategic goals in the 2018 plan. These goals were the foundation for BSU’s Institutional Strategic Plan 2.0, with modifications based on knowledge built over the last planning period. Substantial changes include a more robust and detailed plan with clear and measurable outcomes for every objective and expansion of Goal 5 and its commitment to equity. Additionally, this plan introduces eleven strategic priorities established through President Clark’s listening tours and through BSU’s Leadership Council.
BSU Strategic Plan Dashboard
For more information about BSU’s Strategic Plan 2.0, visit the Strategic Plan 2.0 Dashboard