The Process

Creating Case Western Reserve's Future

The Case Western Reserve University community participated in a non-traditional strategic planning process that began on December 21, 2018. Acknowledging that traditional strategic planning did not fit the current interests/culture of the campus, and that strategy needed to be addressed with more agility, we embarked upon a process that focused on three elements: building community and culture; identifying a collective vision (what we’ve called the North Star); and seeking four guiding pathways to inform our institution’s decision making and priorities.

The effort was led by a group of 17 faculty, staff and students chosen by the President’s Council called The Thinkers. The group sought to listen intently, evaluate strengths, acknowledge weaknesses, survey external trends, and guide our campus to articulating priorities and mission. 

At the same time, an accelerator was developed to harvest ideas that could be tested over a short time, to advance the work of the university and inform the work of The Thinkers. Seventeen Seed Sprints were chosen providing innovative and thoughtful solutions to problems that face our community. Other inputs came through engaging our community through meetings, events, surveys and more. The common thread among these items is the effort to build a common culture and community of trust, engagement, and honest dialogue. 

Dependent on Broad Engagement

The process depended on broad engagement. Just take a look at the numbers:

  • 139 Seed Sprint Applications
  • 17 Funded Seed Sprints
  • 50 Events & Discussions
  • 120 Meetings
  • 150 Thinker Applications
  • 17 Thinkers (including 3 student liaisons)
  • 600 Responses to Alumni Questionnaire
  • 60 Residents Involved in Neighborhood Forums

On June 19, 2019 the Think Big team unveiled the outcomes and a draft plan, including a North Star & Pathways. In the fall of 2019, the team unveiled DRAFT goals, objectives, outcomes and measures for each pathway. After additional input from the campus community, the plan was formally launched on November 19, 2019.