WNMU faces many strategic challenges and opportunities that have been defined by the annual strategic planning process and refined during the Strategy Forum preparation.  A summary is provided below.  These are in no particular order.

The Opportunities include:

  1. Growth in New Mexico's population will increase demand for higher education
  2. Continued high value placed on low student-to-teacher ratio that allows greater student-faculty interaction
  3. Distance education opportunities provide opportunities for new ways of doing old things and new ways of providing access to students from all walks of life
  4. Hispanics make up over fifty percent of expected future high school graduates in NM, with that percentage expected to grow
  5. Numbers of grant opportunities for HSI institutions is growing
  6. Growing demand for teacher education, whether in traditional or other formats
  7. Lottery scholarships provide funding for students who maintain a 2.5 or better
  8. WNMU's history of having the lowest tuition and fees of the four year institutions
  9. New facilities at the off-campus sites expand and enrich the opportunities to provide educational programs
  10. Pre-university programs at the campus sites provide opportunities for future students
  11. Memoranda of understanding with Mexican universities provide
  12. Collaborative relationships with existing industries, businesses, and government agencies enrich the educational program
  13. New construction on campus will provide a Global Resource/Information Technology Center, expanded childcare program prospects, athletic facilities, and enhanced infrastructure.
  14. Meeting work-force preparation/development needs in a rapidly changing economy
  15. Updating and expanding two-year and certificate programs
  16. Growing collaboration with neighboring schools, at both the secondary and post-secondary levels
  17. Gaining a better understanding of student and other stakeholder needs
  18. Working with a Board of Regents dedicated to the WNMU campus

The Challenges include:

  1. Student retention and attraction
  2. Harnessing information technology to support distance and Internet delivery of courses to students in remote areas and to our feeder institutions
  3. Percentage of the state budget going to higher education is declining while at the same time the proportion going to two-year institutions is rising
  4. Students increasingly view themselves as customers who have other choices
  5. The legislature and the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) are increasingly calling for "accountability" standards for higher education institutions
  6. State pressure to expand the number of teachers, nurses, social workers graduates
  7. Lottery scholarships increase student options as to what college to attend
  8. Full funding for lottery scholarships is not assured
  9. New facilities at the off-campus sites encourages additional competition from other four year and two year institutions
  10. Turning around declining FTE enrollment on campus and declining Upper Division coursework levels
  11. New industry in the Silver City community provides higher wages for workers who would otherwise be employed at WNMU and actively seeks new high school graduates as potential employees.
  12. Proposed federal or state assistance programs that go directly to students rather than the institution
  13. Expanding funding from grants, foundations, and other non-state sources
  14. Need to provide the strong support system essential when serving academically under-prepared students
  15. Meeting the technological needs of today's already Internet-savvy students
  16. Funding formula changes are currently being reviewed by the CHE
  17. Overcoming negative image of WNMU related to 1980s and open access
  18. Making the management information system, especially the student components, functional and supportive of decision-making
  19. Providing adequate salary monies for the staff and faculty to make them competitive with other regional institutions and the local economy.
  20. Designing appropriate faculty and staff development and training activities that meet today's challenges and WNMU's strategic objectives
  21. Attracting and retaining higher ACT students
  22. Shifting the concept of the "Western Way" from a negative to a positive connotation

The items above were the items we identified as important to the strategic future of WNMU.  While I did not use them verbatim in the report, I thought you might like a recording of them for future use.