Visioning Report

"Visions for UW-Stout's Future"

An Executive Summary

1. Background
2. Findings
3. Recommendations
4. Conclusion

In the summer of 2001, the University of Wisconsin-Stout ("UW-Stout") held a one-day visioning session with its key stakeholders: faculty and administration, students and alumni, education, business, and government leaders. The discussions looked at global, national, state and local issues influencing higher education today with the goal of providing long-term strategic direction for the campus and its stakeholders. UW-Stout was assisted in the design of the agenda, the conduct of the discussions, and the completion of this report by The Greystone Group ("Greystone"), a strategic planning and communications consulting firm located in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Arlington, Virginia.

This report summarizes the discussions that occurred on June 11, 2001 at UW-Stout. The discussions make clear that UW-Stout is planning for its future from a position of strength in terms of its programs and its reputation.

Upon completing an analysis of the discussions, Greystone combined the comments with its professional expertise to suggest ten possible directions for the University to consider in the decade ahead. We suggest that UW-Stout should:

  1. Establish itself as one of the nation's premier institutions of workforce preparation in higher education
  2. Become a national clearinghouse for workforce preparation
  3. Create the "Center for Workplace Learning"
  4. Create a "Convenience University"
  5. Create an "Alumni Skills Guarantee"
  6. Create a "Stout Associates Program"
  7. Create a "Center for Global Marketplace Development"
  8. Conduct a comprehensive review of its marketing programs, leading to the development of a five-year marketing strategy
  9. Make a commitment to state-of-the-art technology as part of its educational experience
  10. Make a commitment to building educational partnerships as part of its strategic plan

We believe these ten recommendations present UW-Stout with opportunities to build for the future. While many of these recommendations may require three, five, or even ten years to become a reality, we encourage the University to conduct annual reviews of these recommendations.

We live in an exciting and dynamic time for both the nation and higher education. We recognize that in today's world of fast-paced change, the appropriate recommendations will also need to change.

Final Report
"Visions for UW-Stout's Future"


On June 11, 2001 the University of Wisconsin-Stout ("UW-Stout") hosted a strategic planning/visioning session for a group of its stakeholders. The purpose of the event was to bring together many of UW-Stout's partners to review global, national, state, and local issues that are influencing higher education today in order to begin to identify both future trends in higher education and the specific role UW-Stout could play in meeting these needs. The ultimate goal was the identification of long-term strategic directions for both the University and its stakeholders.

Almost 70 leaders from education, business and industry, government and the UW-Stout community gathered for the session. Through a joint-planning process between UW-Stout's administration and Greystone's consultants, an agenda was established that sought to achieve these results. Attendees were divided into nine working groups. Following welcoming remarks by Chancellor Sorensen, Greystone's Steve Gunderson began to set the stage by describing the changing role of higher education in today's world. His remarks centered on the "new 2-R's" in higher education - reform and relevance. Dr. Tony Diekema, also of Greystone, then discussed UW-Stout in the context of higher education trends today. He emphasized Stout's success in building partnerships with business and industry, and with other segments of the education community. He encouraged visioning "outside the box" and suggested that UW-Stout may indeed be one of the "best kept secrets" in higher education today - pointing toward a need for better marketing and communications with present and future stakeholders.

The nine groups were then asked to begin discussing the role of UW-Stout in the world of higher education today and in the future. The groups were specifically charged to address the needs for improvement and change rather than to simply focus on Stout's success. A discussion guide developed between UW-Stout administration and Greystone included the following:

  1. Define the three to five strategies that would best assist UW-Stout in implementing its mission and vision statements. (The intent was to look at areas/needs for improvement.)
  2. Identify the strengths and challenges for UW-Stout as they relate to higher education today. Specific topics included:
    • State-of-the-art technology
    • Distance education
    • Increased accountability and outcome-based education
    • Diversity
    • Partnerships and collaboration
    • New program development
    • Global awareness
    • Recruitment and retention of both faculty and students
    • Improved productivity and efficiency
  3. Opportunities for UW-Stout to serve as a national leader in higher education.
  4. Action plans to take advantage of these strengths and/or opportunities.

Based upon the recommendations articulated at the session, the notes from the discussion groups, interviews with senior administrators at UW-Stout, our own academic research and our professional observations, we offer the following report. In preparing this report, Chancellor Sorensen requested that we both summarize the discussions and identify six or more strategic directions for UW-Stout. We believe this report answers both of those requests.


In designing this project, Greystone engaged in three phases that we believe were essential to successful outcomes in the visioning process:

Phase One included our academic research. In order to guide the development of discussions related to the future of UW-Stout, we needed to understand the issues that challenge higher education generally. In addition, we were asked by Chancellor Sorensen to provide articles for the participants' review that would articulate some of those challenges and issues. It was important to the Chancellor that we challenge the community to create visions beyond UW-Stout's world as it exists today.

Phase Two focused on the design and implementation of the actual visioning session held on June 11th. In preparation for structuring the agenda and the facilitator's guide, Greystone conducted confidential interviews with selected individuals from the UW-Stout community. The purpose of these interviews was to gather insights into the accomplishments, challenges, and general environment surrounding the UW-Stout community. Using the information and insights gathered from the academic research and the interviews, we established the agenda for the June 11th session and prepared a facilitator's guide. UW-Stout then reviewed the proposed agenda and guide to make minor adjustments reflecting the goals for the day. The session was extremely successful and provided outstanding thoughts and ideas from participants.

Phase Three represents Greystone's summary and analysis of the June 11th visioning session. As this report indicates, the amount of information, advice, and ideas offered during the visioning session was significant. This report represents only a summary of the highlights from that day. Through our professional experience, we have assembled this information into two parts - findings, and recommendations.

In the development of most reports to clients, Greystone usually creates three sections: findings, conclusions, and recommendations. However, because this project represents more of a facilitation and report process, as opposed to traditional research and strategic planning, we believe it is more appropriate to develop our recommendations based upon the findings rather than insert our conclusions of what the findings mean.

The following findings are themselves facts or statements without interpretation. If our reporting was done properly, and we believe it was, no "finding" should itself be disputable even if it is, say, disagreeable. Findings are not what we thought or wanted to hear, but what we learned, what we were told. It is significant, and a tribute to UW-Stout, that so many of the findings are positive. You begin this process of planning for the future with a solid foundation and a strong reputation.

Recommendations represent the action steps that we encourage UW-Stout to consider as it moves forward. Recommendations combine the original findings, our professional analysis of their significance separately and in combination with other findings and facts, and our best professional judgment on the steps you should take to improve your future. Chancellor Sorensen requested that we develop no fewer than six such recommendations from the results of the visioning session. That was easy. As you will see, we have offered additional recommendations for your consideration.


A. Common messages and themes

Throughout the discussions on June 11th, the groups echoed a number of common messages. While these messages may/may not constitute specific findings and/or recommendations, they are important in setting the environment for strategic planning discussions. Many discussion groups cited the messages listed here both verbally and in written reports. They include:

  1. "Continue UW-Stout's role as both an academic leader and a partner with business and industry. You begin with a foundation of strength and respect."
  2. "We hope UW-Stout will have a strong commitment to becoming both a 'brick' and a 'click' university, engaging both the traditional delivery of on-campus learning with the new realities of technology." "Maybe Stout should develop its future in the image of a 'mobile brick' university."
  3. "It is important, almost essential, for UW-Stout to update and redirect its programs and services. Innovation in higher education is essential today."
  4. "UW-Stout should consider expanding its partnerships because partnering is key for the future. This should include expanded partnerships with K-16, technical colleges, and business and industry."
  5. "Team building is an essential skill in today's business world. UW-Stout should consider programs to train existing workers, and today's students in team-building skills."
  6. "UW-Stout should develop a 360-degree relationship with a focus on technology. This means lifelong learning and relationships."
  7. "UW-Stout must increase its focus on international leadership. You cannot just focus on the local economy. You must update your programs to be more global in perspective."
  8. "It is important as UW-Stout develops its future to remember the focus must be on the 'learner.' The student is your customer."
  9. "UW-Stout should recognize the changing profile and demographics of today's learner. And then you must design both your programs, and the delivery of these programs accordingly."
  10. "UW-Stout must engage in much more aggressive and creative marketing. In many ways, your greatest challenge is that people don't know who you are and/or what you do."
  11. "As you prepare for the future, it is important to design programs that attract, retrain, recognize, and retain top faculty. The quality of your future will be dependent upon the quality of your faculty."
  12. "The successful university of the future will be one that can quickly adapt/respond to the changing needs of business and industry, and your students. You should market UW-Stout as an institution quickly adapting to society's changing needs - and then prove it."

B. Defining strategies to implement UW-Stout's vision and mission statements

The various discussion groups addressed the implementation of UW-Stout's vision and mission statements in different ways. Some were specific while others were more generic. The following points summarize the key strategies suggested during these discussions:

  1. There is a strong desire for UW-Stout to develop its "brand." Various stakeholders believe it is essential in today's competitive world of higher education to define one's niche, develop it, and then emphasize this focus through all aspects of its communications with the community it serves - from marketing and recruitment, to its academic studies, and through its evaluations and long-term relations with alumni.
  2. If partnerships are the key to higher education's future, UW-Stout should develop key partnerships with three distinct communities: K-16 education; business and industry; and the technical college community.
  3. UW-Stout should consider "360 degree partnerships" with a focus on technology. This should focus on professional development and lifelong learning with an emphasis on technology.
  4. There is a strong desire for a seamless integration of and transfer among different sectors of the education delivery system. The stakeholders hope UW-Stout will lead efforts in the delivery of a seamless education, especially in the areas of math and science as they relate to business and industry.
  5. There is a strong desire for UW-Stout to develop stronger, more dynamic partnerships with the business and industry community it serves. Included within these improved partnerships are suggestions for improved relevance to business and industry needs, increased focus on global issues, enhanced technology, expanded year-round academic programs, and better marketing.
  6. There is a feeling among the stakeholders that UW-Stout must improve/enhance its response to the changing diversity of the community. UW-Stout should not be constrained by traditional definitions of diversity, which focus on ethnic and cultural differences. Rather, UW-Stout's diversity also should reflect the changing diversity of today's student population - especially as it relates to lifelong and distance learning.
  7. In responding to change, it is important to UW-Stout stakeholders that the university not lose its strong, historic foundation. UW-Stout is an institution of higher education with a commendable history. Build on it, don't build on or create some momentary fad or short-term solutions.
  8. While there is a temptation to prepare students for lifelong success in the workplace, some believe UW-Stout's best mission is to prepare students for careers that enhance the quality and meaning of their life - to make life more livable.

C. Strengths of and challenges/opportunities for UW-Stout in higher education today

  1. Achieving and maintaining state of the art educational technology
    1. Strengths
      1. A huge strength; engages strong support from the community, provides potential for new partnerships.
      1. The laptop campus and the one-million-square-feet of lab space are major strengths.
      2. If you keep your technology and your faculty current, it is a strength; if not, it's an albatross.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. The cost of asset allocation is large and expensive. It will require significant training for its full potential.
      2. Promotion and staff development are essential to keep up with technology.
      3. The digital divide becomes an issue relating to access for many of the lower-income populations in the greater UW-Stout community.
      4. Some of the technology presently in the labs cannot be duplicated and/or exported via Web-based programs.
  2. Distance Education
    1. Strengths
      1. Provides you with educational flexibility and continuous learning opportunities. It shrinks the physical distance to your campus for many potential students.
      2. Allows you to better reach non-traditional students.
      3. Allows you to truly become a "brick and click" university. It also gives you the opportunity to create Web-camps for faculty on your campus and other institutions of education.
      4. Gives UW-Stout the opportunity to focus on the international leaders in your priority programs, not just rely on your own faculty.
      5. Millennium Hall is a major strength. The development of a laptop campus is also a major asset. You are becoming Web campus - let the world know!
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. You will need to identify the market to make it valuable. It will require a significant time to develop. The support structures necessary can be costly and time-consuming.
      2. Your challenge is to find the appropriate balance between traditional campus-based programs and distance education.
      3. Be careful of duplication; make sure you can identify the market that wants such programs before you invest heavily in development.
      4. Be careful. As tempting as this is, you cannot be all things to all people.
      5. The challenges of distance learning are the requirements for more faculty training, the need to send faculty to distance education sites, and the challenges of proper compensation for the investments made.
  3. Increased accountability and outcome-based education
    1. Strengths
      1. Allows for and encourages individualized, customized education.
      2. Your history with advisory committees should assist you in defining the outcomes you seek without huge new investments of time, resources and outside advice.
      3. Encourages you to obtain information from outside partners, enhancing collaboration.
      4. Provides you with both the need and the opportunity to develop programs that re-certify alumni every five years.
      5. Provides UW-Stout with the opportunity to identify feedback systems related to stakeholders.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. The cost of long-term, outcome-based education can be expensive.
      2. Because advisory committees can serve as key tools in implementing outcomes-based education, you will need to upgrade the quality of some committees if you want to use them for this purpose.
      3. UW-Stout will need to develop more outcomes-based education programs and more programs customized to the learning client in order to achieve this goal.
      4. New programs built on outcomes-based education often require two to three years to achieve approval. This will require an investment of time and resources.
  4. Diversity
    1. Strengths
      1. The university is aware of diversity issues, which is a good beginning.
      2. Your pre-college programs and STEPS are helping in moving in the right direction.
      3. Use technology as a means to achieve diversity in your student enrollments, recognizing that many minority students would not feel comfortable in a social environment that lacks others who share their cultural background.
      4. Your faculty is more diverse than the student body.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. It is very difficult to achieve a diverse population on your campus because of your location and the lack of diversity within this region.
      2. Diversity should begin by stressing foreign language and diverse cultures.
      3. The lack of cultural support will hamper increased diversity on campus. In lieu of trying to obtain a diverse campus, why not establish other programs and experiences to provide your students with diverse experiences?
      4. UW-Stout needs to market its programs to more ethnic populations if it seeks real diversity. You also need to design more cross-cultural programs.
  5. Partnerships and Collaborations
    1. Strengths
      1. UW-Stout has an excellent reputation for its commitment to partnerships.
      2. Your collaboration brings the "tips of industry" to UW-Stout, a major strength for you.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. The community is unaware of what UW-Stout does that can benefit and aid organizations in their function.
      2. To increase collaboration, you will need more shared funding of the programs.
  6. New Program Development and dysfunctional program closure
    1. Strengths
      1. UW-Stout evaluates its programs through the PRC review. Industrial partnerships and community input lead to new programs.
      2. UW-Stout partnerships are its strength.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. UW-Stout needs to continue to exploit partnerships and industry ties in order to develop new, more relevant programs.
      2. UW-Stout needs to streamline and speed up the approval procedures for new programs.
  7. Global Awareness
    1. Strengths
      1. Your hospitality program is aimed at the global international market. This is a strength of your reputation.
      2. A new global experience, the international studies abroad program for students and faculty, is about to begin.
      3. Your Doctoral consortial arrangement.
      4. Your international alumni are a great source of partnerships and enhanced relationships with other countries - many might be in leadership positions in their countries.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
  8. Recruitment and retention of both faculty and students
    1. Strengths
      1. Your high-quality accreditation process shows that technology attracts good people, and good people attract more good people. You are able to bring in faculty with experience and with industry backgrounds.
    2. Challenges/Opportunities
      1. UW-Stout needs to continue to value experience. Money will always be an issue on campuses. The recruitment process needs streamlining.

D. Greatest opportunities for UW-Stout to serve as a national leader in higher education

  1. Distance Education
    1. Achieving a seamless transfer through the entire education process
    2. Developing customer-friendly programs
  2. State-of-the-art Technology
    1. Use your new strength as an opportunity to market to and better serve business, industry and the technical college system.
  3. Applied Learning
    1. UW-Stout is way out in front in this area
  4. Collaboration and Partnerships
    1. UW-Stout should consider both the promotion of its collaboration with business and industry, and the creation of courses in how to partner and collaborate.
  5. Workforce Preparation and Placement
    1. UW-Stout has such a high placement rate that it should market its success in this area and emphasize its ability to design and implement academic programs that result in high placement.
  6. Outcomes-Based, Applied Education
    1. The success of your placement and the reputation of your campus among business and industry prove that you already are achieving this new focus of higher education

E. Action steps for UW-Stout to take advantage of its opportunities

  1. Conduct an introspective review of your community to determine steps that enhance global awareness and diversity.
  2. Enhance your collaborative networks. Consider creating a two- to three-day on-campus meeting with business and industry to determine the emphasis of priority programs.
  3. Continue the commitment to provide leadership through UW-Stout on behalf of your partners.
  4. Increase your budget for marketing. The present expenditure of $25,000 simply is not enough for marketing.
  5. Invest even further in state-of-the art technology and in the recruitment/retention of faculty and students.
  6. Consider pursuing partnerships and collaborations not just locally, but also globally.
  7. Significantly increase communications to all stakeholders.
  8. Identify forward thinkers and their ideas. Allow them to take risks.
  9. Benchmark your programs and the outcomes.
  10. Increase opportunity for faculty development; provide enhanced opportunities for them to travel, conduct industry partnerships, workshops, etc.


Chancellor Sorensen requested that Greystone identify six or more strategic directions for UW-Stout in the decade ahead. We are offering ten recommendations for your consideration. Eight are focused on specific action items while the remaining two are more "thematic" in context. We believe the following recommendations can be achieved at any time during the decade ahead. However, we caution the University community to recognize the pace of change in both today's world generally and higher education specifically. While all of these recommendations can be part of a credible strategic plan for the decade ahead, and could not all be implemented quickly, we encourage you to consider reviewing the recommendations annually to determine their continued viability.

As you consider these recommendations, we must begin by emphasizing the exemplary quality of the institution you are privileged to serve. As part of our research, we looked carefully at UW-Stout's history. It is an institution of long and sound heritage. It has received stable and strong leadership over time. It begins this process from a position of strength and integrity. Accordingly you can begin to creatively address the issues and opportunities of the future with a degree of risk-taking and visioning many institutions cannot afford. This is, for you, another great opportunity within the outstanding history of your campus. We encourage you to move forward boldly and with confidence.

  1. UW-Stout should establish itself as one of the nation's premier institutions of workforce preparation in higher education

There is much about UW-Stout that seems to be best characterized as a "hidden jewel" in American higher education. Your vision and mission statements articulate better than most such institutions what you are attempting to do. And while "career education" is clearly a niche you have developed successfully, it does not, by itself, differentiate you from other campuses within the University of Wisconsin System. This is even truer on a regional and national basis.

But if "career education" was the term of the past decade, then "workforce preparation" reflects the agenda for the decade ahead. A focus in this area provides the basis for UW-Stout to enhance its partnerships with K-12 education, business and industry, and certainly the technical college community. It allows you to develop programs geared to seamless lifelong learning, and ongoing professional development within the four-year higher education context. In many ways, you can and will become the "lifelong learning" center of the Midwest for business and industry, and through them, for the American worker.

We are suggesting that you consider amending your vision and/or mission statement to reflect this goal. (We suggest you consider this as a new "section A" within your mission statement.) We also encourage you to establish both internal and external planning protocols to define and implement appropriate strategies to achieve this status and recognition. But for this to happen, you must direct as many of the programs as possible within your campus to enhance your desired niche, your desired image and reputation, and your marketing. Many of the recommendations that follow suggest specific steps that will assist in achieving this recommendation.

  1. UW-Stout should become a "National Clearinghouse for Workforce Preparation"

There is a great desire for UW-Stout to enhance its existing reputation for partnerships with business and industry and with the technical college community, emphasizing your commitment to career education. Throughout the breakout sessions of June 11th, many people raised the hope that UW-Stout would expand its programs to include worker and manager forums and seminars, year-round programs and events, expanded use of distance learning in communications with business and industry, and similar steps reflective of a significantly enhanced role for the institution. All of this suggests that UW-Stout should consider developing and promoting a "National Clearinghouse for Workforce Preparation." This is consistent with goal #1 - making UW-Stout the nation's premier institution in workforce preparation - and is probably an early and essential step in achieving that goal. Likewise, your stakeholders want increased partnerships and collaboration. They are ready to support you in this effort. While one of the goals of such a clearinghouse is to serve the greater Stout community, the primary goal is to enhance UW-Stout's reputation and name. We believe this could serve as a valuable tool in achieving both, while also increasing the brand and/or niche identification you are seeking.

In developing a clearinghouse, the primary investments would focus on building the library and information and in developing the mission and plans for such a clearinghouse. Once established, we believe it could serve many beneficial purposes such as:

  • A center for the study of business and/or workforce preparation
  • A location and basis for year-round programs
  • A host for conferences and forums related to business/industry and workforce issues
  • The potential for achieving diversity goals through an extended service community
  • The potential for significant marketing of UW-Stout through weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports related to workforce issues
  • An opportunity and vehicle for expanding your international perspective
  • A vehicle for significant expansion in the size, role, and diversity of business advisory boards
  • The basis for the creation of multimedia (video/Power Point/Web-cast/closed circuit television) materials and courses for distribution to the greater business and industrial community
  • An opportunity to publish quarterly journals on workforce related issues, empowering UW-Stout to better serve its mission while significantly enhancing its academic reputation.
  1. Create the "Center for Workplace Learning"

Consistent with the two earlier goals of creating the premier institution of higher education on workforce preparation and creating a clearinghouse on Workforce Preparation, we also recommend you establish a "Center for Workplace Learning." The primary focus of this comes from many of your stakeholders who advocate programs that target students in the workplace, especially those who went straight from high school into the job market, and those who need lifelong learning. In contrast with the first two recommendations, which emphasize the traditional role for higher education in workforce preparation, this recommendation seeks to extend the partnership of UW-Stout into today's workplace.

  • The creation of "applied learning" programs that target existing workers, especially recent high school graduates. Such programs could serve as models for others across the nation through creative use of internships, work experience credits and other forms of learning outside the classroom.
  • The scholarship of "team-building." The concept of industrial workplace teams remains a high priority within business and industry. Yet no one - to our knowledge - has developed the scholarship to transfer this concept to workers across the nation. There is in this a wonderful opportunity for you with the proper investment of research, time, and careful academic design.
  • Programs for women in the workplace. A real need identified in the breakout sessions was the unique academic challenges of women with families who are working. Again, to our knowledge no institution of higher education in America has actively addressed this special need. We think it fits perfectly with UW-Stout's mission.
  1. Create a "Convenience University"

To enhance the fulfillment of your mission, the availability of your academic programs, the quality and effectiveness of your advanced technology and distance education initiatives, and the expanded marketing of your varied curricula, we encourage you to develop a "Convenience University" within UW-Stout.

While this could be developed in numerous ways, the concept suggests that students would register, enroll, and complete (at least partially) selected programs offered in this manner (e.g., on the web, TV, etc.). The programs would be designed for maximum student schedule flexibility and convenience, and would increasingly facilitate teaching and learning by the use of advanced technology and distance education. These efforts will convey a powerful message, which suggests that the University is striving to serve an expanded and more-diverse student population in unique ways, and that it is on the cutting edge of both technology and consumer responsiveness.

  1. Create an "Alumni Skills Guarantee"

UW-Stout is known for its strong placement success. UW-Stout is totally committed to career preparation. UW-Stout seeks to enhance its role in lifelong learning, especially among its alumni. Accordingly, we suggest you develop career enhancement and continuing education (including CEUs) courses - perhaps offered during the summer when your campus community is beautiful and the dorms are available - at a minimal charge that assist graduates within the past 5-10 years to return to campus and update their skills. Such a program would enhance your image as a university serving the active learner community, your relationships with business and industry, and your desire for more aggressive marketing.

  1. Create a "Stout Associates Program"

While not directly stated, throughout the discussions on June 11th, evidence kept reconfirming the commitment of your stakeholders to UW-Stout. There exists a culture of servant ownership rare within the higher-education community. Yet, many of these individuals from business and industry, education, and government are not UW-Stout alumni. Accordingly we encourage the creation of a Stout Associates Program. Structured like an alumni association, associates would, through membership, become a part of the UW-Stout family and avail themselves of several educational, cultural, and programmatic opportunities. We would encourage the creation of this initiative through a partnership of your existing alumni association and your programs most focused on business and industry.

  1. Create a "Center for Global Marketplace Development"

Consistent with earlier recommendations, but not as high a priority to us, would be the creation of a Center for Global Marketplace Development. As we heard your stakeholders advocate for an enhanced global perspective, an increased commitment to diversity, and a commitment to build on your technological resources and your historic mission in career preparation, we concluded that a Center for Global Marketplace Development would be a perfect fit for UW-Stout. This would allow you to enhance your partnerships and collaboration with multi-national corporations as you conduct the necessary research and design the appropriate role for such an entity. Certainly, in combination with the other recommendations, we believe you will find significant opportunities to combine these recommendations into a series of programs and educational activities that complement and enhance all of UW-Stout's academic work.

  1. Conduct a comprehensive review of UW-Stout's marketing programs and develop a five-year marketing strategy

Few topics were as consistently raised during the visioning session as the need for much more aggressive marketing on behalf of UW-Stout. Your campus will remain a "hidden jewel" without a commitment to marketing and careful construction of a marketing strategy. Your stakeholders are especially conscious of this need. We encourage you to assemble a Marketing Task Force, to bring in the proper outside professionals to work with the task force in conducting a full review of present programs and budgets and then engaging the University community - including a diversity of stakeholders - in designing a new and carefully coordinated strategy. We believe that such a strategy can and should include significant commitments to both paid and unpaid advertising based upon your rich history, your sound reputation and the results of your strategic planning.

  1. Offer a public commitment to state-of-the-art technology as part of the UW-Stout educational experience

In so many ways, with your commitment to technology and a career education focus, this becomes an essential part of your strategic future. It is imperative that UW-Stout have a reputation for access to and utilization of the latest technology in the education experience of its students. You already have much of that technology today. Keeping up with "state-of-the-art" will be the challenge. You need to enhance your marketing of this significant benefit inherent in the UW-Stout experience, and you need to make your commitment to cutting-edge technology a part of every marketing speech, brochure and all other material. This message must go to your business and industry associates as well as to your potential students.

Because we recognize the cost of this commitment, we encourage you to make technology equipment a significant and recurring part of your capital budget, and also an increasing component of your Development program. Stakeholders see this as so obvious that it is important for UW-Stout to repeat its commitment to state-of-the-art-technology often. You can do this in your discussions of lifelong learning, workplace experience and preparation, adult education, distance education, collaborations and partnerships, new program development in career education, math/science advances, faculty productivity and both student and faculty recruitment and retention.

  1. A commitment to building educational partnerships as part of UW-Stout's strategic plan

Although it is clear that UW-Stout already does a respectable amount of partnering in a variety of its career education programs, we believe the potential for much more is both evident and advisable. Stout's stakeholders want it, and they can contribute significantly to making such partnerships work to UW-Stout's advantage in a host of arenas (program development, technological advancement, fund development, etc.) publicly and privately.

Some focused visioning and strategic planning in at least three areas seem self-evident from the June 11th session: a) business and industry, b) K-12 education, and c) the technical colleges of the Midwest. Such partnerships and collaborations should be looked at as long-term efforts that will be mutually beneficial, but with UW-Stout's enhancement as a first-rate educational institution as your primary goal. The stakeholders gathered on June 11th certainly would welcome such efforts, and they could be effective partners in further visioning and planning. A few examples of the benefits of such partnering and collaboration come quickly to mind: economic development and cutting-edge career education locally and regionally for business and industry; new teaching and learning methods in technologically advanced environments and outcomes-based assessment for elementary/secondary education; and state-of-the-art technology and career education program development and implementation for the technical college community. Such developments also enhance the branding and niche development we have advocated above.


In creating these recommendations, we have been sensitive to the limited resources available within the University of Wisconsin System today. Accordingly, we do not believe any of the recommendations require major new capital investments. They do require continuing capital investment in state-of-the-art technology, but primarily they require the investment of faculty and staff time in planning and coordination within the UW-Stout community. Often they will require external partnerships in both the development of the concepts and the identification of potential funding for these efforts; for example, the development of the Clearinghouse and/or Centers recommended. We believe that these efforts present new and enhanced opportunities for developing initiatives with the corporate community, with selected foundations and other philanthropic organizations, and with federal or state government agencies.

Our goal, consistent with the Chancellor's request, was to provide strategic directions for UW-Stout programs in the future. We believe the recommendations herein offer the greatest potential for success - building on your strengths, expanding your areas of expertise, and extending your reach to those who most properly would benefit as participants in the UW-Stout experience. Each of these strategic directions now can move systematically to the next steps of planning and development. Each will - if implemented - enhance your reputation and mission. Yet, and equally important, the lack of progress in any of these areas will not diminish your existing programs and image. You may, however, miss some strategic opportunities and lose momentum in a rapidly changing higher education arena.

You start from a position of considerable strength. Clearly, it is our considered judgment that you can afford to take some carefully calculated risks that will enhance your position on the frontiers of higher education in tomorrow's world. And to move forward on any of these recommendations will enhance your contributions to the community, the state, the nation and the world.

We stand ready to discuss any of our findings or recommendations with you. We have been honored to serve as your partner in this process and look forward to doing even more in the future.