Building on a bold vision and significant institutional momentum, Widener launched a transformative strategic initiative in 2019—to think about the future of everything we do and to reimagine student support services to meet the demands of a radically shifting world. Using innovative scenario planning, the university’s most creative and open-minded thinkers developed a suite of forward-thinking strategic narratives to ensure the university remains both proactive and poised to respond with agility to emerging changes.
A clear strategy emerged from this work: a focus on institutional nimbleness and the enhancement of the student experience we call “Agility Experienced.” Like its development, the implementation of our strategy is dynamic and bold, with a focus on leveraging the tenets of design thinking and user experience. Implementation teams of students, faculty, and staff from across the university are now using this strategy, as well as market research to put our vision in motion. A metaphor that illustrates their work is that the people of Widener build with “LEGO blocks” rather than “poured concrete.”
In short, through clear-eyed assessment and flexible thinking, we will maximize agility and continuous improvement.
Our work did not result in a published plan. Rather, as intended, it resulted in a strategy that is constantly enlarged and reinforced as we enact it everywhere and invite ideas and input from across the university. As the people and departments of Widener embody the power, reach, and extendibility of Agility Experienced, we’ll increase our capacity to adapt to rapid change and best position the university for continued success.
Renovations to Academic Center North, Cottee Hall, and the Chester Community Clinic in the newly renamed Julie E. Wollman Hall will help facilitate and support Widener’s focus on interprofessional learning.
When the pandemic struck, Widener education faculty developed a webinar to help teachers learn more about online instruction. It focused on collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking and led some participants to enroll in Widener's online teaching endorsement certification program.