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Westphal Strategic Plan

Planning the Future of Westphal

In January of 2021, Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts & Design initiated a strategic planning process, an inclusive effort that will determine the future of our College through the year 2030.

In alignment with the Drexel 2030 Strategic Plan, Westphal’s strategic plan will ensure that our College leverages its strengths, addresses critical challenges affecting the future of our fields, and becomes an anti-racist institution.

While our planning process is still underway and will conclude at the end of 2021, there is much to share.

Westphal’s Strategic Planning Process

Our planning process is inclusive and deliberative, reaching all our stakeholders inside and outside of our College. Our six-stage process has gathered comprehensive feedback and data from all Westphal stakeholders, including students, alumni, industry leaders, community members, faculty, staff, and all key units within the university. Through information gathered in town hall events, focus groups, surveys, interviews, and historic data, we can begin to set our overarching goals and priorities.

Our process and progress:

Timeline of progress on strategic plan. Current position: Setting Our Priorities & Path Forward.

Westphal’s Strategic Planning Task Force

To guide our planning process, we convened a dedicated and insightful task force representing all departments and units within Westphal, ensuring all voices would be heard. We have engaged the consulting firm of Davis Gay + Associates, a women and Black-owned firm committed to engaging in robust conversations though an inquiry-based methodology.

Strategic Planning Task Force Members

Task Force Member Department
Justin Fithian Academic Advising
Katie Gross, Co-Chair Recruitment & Retention
Valerie Ifill Performing Arts
Karin Kelly, Caucus Liaison Cinema & Television
Nik Kozel Institutional Advancement
Shannon Lacek Arts & Entertainment Enterprise
William McNulty Cinema & Television
Amanda Melczer, Staff Advisory Council Liaison Performing Arts
Jacquelyn Mendoza Academic Advising
Justin Mignone Information Technology
Terry Murphy, WOW Liasion Academic Scheduling & Services
Glen Muschio Digital Media
Jervis Thompson, DEIC Liaison Digital Media
Josh Weiss Art & Art History
Mark Willie Design
Andrew Zitcer, Co-Chair Architecture, Urbanism & Design
Neville Vakharia, Associate Dean for Research & Planning (ex-officio)

A New Mission, Vision, and Values for Westphal

Central to our planning process is the development of a new mission, vision, and values for Westphal. These form the foundation of our new strategic plan. After a comprehensive and iterative process, we are pleased to share Westphal’s new mission, vision, and values.

Mission

Westphal's mission is to unlock the creativity of critical thinkers, makers, and doers who connect ideas and solve real-world problems, transforming careers and lives.

Vision

Westphal's vision is to shape the future of interdisciplinary creative practices, equitable partnerships, and inclusive engagement to enrich our campus, our communities, and our world.

Values

Creativity

We believe artistry, design, and critical thinking are fundamental to our work and to our society. We prize intellectual curiosity, self-expression, and story-telling skills. We prize academic rigor and experiential learning.

Community

We create diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist communities where our internal and external stakeholders can show up as their full selves and thrive. We value respect and integrity in all of our interactions encouraging every individual to use their voice toward creative problem solving and positive change.

Collaboration

We celebrate individual ideas and collective strength across disciplines and sectors. We believe in equitable access to resources, tools, and spaces. We actively and intentionally engage in partnerships with our neighbors locally and our industry colleagues globally.

Communication

We value responsible and transparent management and communications, technological advancement, and lifelong learning.

Courage

We make space for experimentation, risk taking, learning from failure, and working at the edges of media, arts, and design.

Emerging Themes to Inform our Strategic Plan

After extensive review of feedback from our stakeholders, themes are emerging that will shape the goals of our strategic plan. Through our planning process to date, we have identified six areas from which our plan’s goals will emerge, with anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion woven throughout each of them. These areas are: Student Experience, Faculty & Staff Experience, Curricular Infrastructure & Innovation, Facilities & Operations, Identity & Communications, and Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity.

Themes for Westphal Strategic Plan. At the center: Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Student Experience; Curricular Infrastructure & Innovation; Facilities & Operations; Identity & Communications; Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity; Faculty & Staff Experience

Integrating Anti-Racism/DEI into the Strategic Plan

Following the lead of Drexel University’s Anti-Racism Task Force, Westphal’s Strategic Planning Task Force unanimously decided that issues surrounding anti-racism are critical to address within the larger plan for Westphal’s future and its surrounding communities. Comprised of Strategic Planning Task Force members, the Anti-Racism Subgroup is a dedicated group of faculty and staff that meet weekly to analyze, research, and discuss issues around anti-racism, specifically at Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

Anti-Racism Subgroup Members

Task Force Member Department
Katie Gross Recruitment & Retention
Valerie Ifill Performing Arts
Nik Kozel Institutional Advancement
Jacquelyn Mendoza Academic Advising
Terry Murphy Academic Scheduling & Services
Josh Weiss Art & Art History

The Anti-Racism Subgroup was tasked with understanding the current state of anti-racism issues at Westphal and scrutinizing available data to present recommendations for the larger strategic plan. The committee has been diligently gathering research, surveying internal and external University partners, holding listening sessions, and creating focus groups for student, faculty, and staff feedback on anti-racism issues within Westphal.

As of September 2021, the committee has completed the following steps:

  • Surveyed populations and analyzed data in an effort to forge a path for Westphal to become leaders of anti-racism efforts a Drexel.
  • Presented research and recommendations to Westphal's administration for feedback and comments.
  • Determined anti-racism is a key thread that will be addressed in each area of Westphal’s Strategic Plan.

The Anti-Racism subgroup has begun to identify key areas to inform Westphal’s strategic plan. Their suggested strategies include:

  • Hire an Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Empower and restructure Westphal’s DEI Council
  • Initiate curriculum review & decolonization
  • Improve hiring, training, and sustaining employees
  • Establish affinity groups
  • Improve incident reporting and create a culture of accountability
  • Improve BIPOC student retention efforts

Their work will continue to inform our new strategic plan as Westphal begins its journey towards becoming an anti-racist institution.

What’s Next?

From our mission, vision, values, and emerging themes, we will develop ambitious overarching goals that will serve as the roadmap for our future path. Within each goal will be a series of outcome-based strategies that will inform our work as we begin to implement our plan.