Strategic thinking and planning at Wilberforce University is an on-going institutional process that manages our mission, goals, and aspirations data-driven, informed and critical thinking through planning, implementation, and assessment.

The Wilberforce University Strategic Plan entitled, The Wilberforce Renaissance: Re-Claiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance is informed by the mission, six institutional value drivers, strategic goals and key performance indicators. Our strategic goals establish the context for an outstanding student-centered collegiate experience which assures the succes of our value proposition and institutional high performance.


Welcome to the venerable Wilberforce University, where a powerful history of self-determination and a noteworthy legacy as the nation’s first, private HBCU exist as ever-present reminders of our birthright and the responsibility that comes with it. At Wilberforce, we are unapologetic in our embrace of excellence, kindness, and innovation as core institutional values which anchor us as an intellectual community and workplace environment committed to operational efficiency, teaching and learning, research and scholarship, entrepreneurship and community service.  

Wilberforce University Value Proposition

We are a university community which values and respects the diversity of thought, critical thinking, intellectual rigor, spiritual development and the passionate pursuit of disciplined habits of the mind, spirit, and body. We have been strategic in defining ourselves as a premier liberal arts institution with an entrepreneurial intention. This definition has allowed primary focus on curricula and program development, and student engagement that create an academic culture that celebrates and cultivates the liberal arts while encouraging and developing, in our students, entrepreneurial thinking and action. This bold and creative vision for the academic enterprise at Wilberforce University has begun in earnest with the establishment of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  

Our new focus on entrepreneurship and innovation through the development of business partnerships will result in two very critical outcomes; the creation of the next generation of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders in the African American community and the establishment of alternative revenue streams for the University which will eliminate our sole dependence on philanthropic support and enrollment. 

At Wilberforce University, we are, at once, our past, present and future. We look backward to our proud history and legacy to move forward to a future of high performance. We are a university unafraid of risk-taking and innovation and have been intentional in declaring The Wilberforce Renaissance: Re-Claiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance as the guiding light to our path forward as a premier liberal arts institution with an entrepreneurial intention.

Our vision informs our value proposition and promise for each student, upon graduation from Wilberforce University. With the strategic development of our entrepreneurial intention, career pathway initiative and focus on our liberal arts tradition, we will prepare our students to: enter graduate/professional school; enter the workplace in positions in their field of study and/or pursue entrepreneurial or business endeavors of their choice.

The WU Way: Excellence, Innovation, and Kindness 

Wilberforce University is currently experiencing a renaissance. Excellence, Innovation, and Kindness are the distinguishing hallmarks of the Wilberforce Renaissance. At Wilberforce University, the renaissance is defined by operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility and strength, and an intentional focus on providing a rich campus engagement experience for every student enrolled. This renaissance is also a cultural rebirth of Wilberforce University, based on the rediscovery of its significant history as America’s First Private HBCU founded by African Americans and a renewed commitment to building upon that noteworthy and venerable legacy. The Wilberforce Renaissance allows us to operationalize our mission and act as a bridge to intellectual curiosity and rigor, academic, achievement, social change, and the cultivation of an entrepreneurial spirit in the 21st Century.  

Thus, we have identified Excellence, Innovation, and Kindness as framing imperatives that inform our work and serve as foundational principles for a transformed and high performing Wilberforce University. We operationalize Excellence, Innovation, and Kindness in a set of guiding principles and actions described as The WU Way.  

As a proud community of individuals engaged in teaching and learning, we are committed to The WU Way as a guide to honorable and respectable behavior. The WU Way represents a set of core values, expectations, and actions, which define the Wilberforce University academic and engagement experience for every student enrolled. The WU Way distinguishes Wilberforce University students from every other college or university and identifies its students and graduates as individuals of noteworthy distinction. While the hallmark values of excellence, innovation, and kindness are the foundation of The WU Way, embracing, and living The WU Way involves a broader and deeper commitment to personal and intellectual transformation.  

Wilberforce University is also a workplace environment of diverse individuals committed to supporting the core mission of the University. The WU Way provides a practical imperative for all members of the Wilberforce University workforce to an unwavering commitment to consistent high performance, operational efficiency, student satisfaction, and civility.  

The following statements outline the six formative principles of the WU Way: 

  • The WU Way respects, celebrates and appreciates the humanity in every human being.
  • The WU Way values civility and kindness and the importance of living and behaving harmoniously in community with others.
  • The WU Way is pride and respect for Wilberforce University, its history and traditions and its place as a national treasure and role in the personal and intellectual development of its students. 
  • The WU Way respects diversity and appreciates the difference among human beings and values exposure to different ideas, world-views, perspectives, attitudes, backgrounds, appearances, cultures, and religions. 
  • The WU Way embraces the excitement of intellectual curiosity, innovation and excellence, disciplined methods of inquiry and critical thinking and problem solving as valuable habits of mind worthy of development and life-long cultivation. 
  • The WU Way provides a guiding foundation for operational efficiency, institutional effectiveness, excellent constituent satisfaction, uncompromising professionalism, and civility in the Wilberforce University workplace. 

Wilberforce University Mission (modified 2019) 

Wilberforce University, America’s First Private Historically Black College & University, is a four-year, fully accredited liberal arts institution offering over 20 Bachelor’s degrees in the areas of Business, Communications, Computing, and Engineering Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. Through Adult and Continuing Education Studies, the institution offers Credentials for Leadership Management and Business (CLIMB) for individuals interested in completing their Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration, organizational management, health care administration, and information technology. 

Founded in 1856, in partnership with the A.M.E. Church, Wilberforce University is part of a long tradition of collaboration between church and higher education institutions. Historically, Wilberforce University was founded to provide a classical collegiate education for newly freed enslaved persons of African descent, free persons of color and the mixed-race children of Southern aristocracy. In the 21st Century, we have continued the tradition of black education. Over the years, Wilberforce University has impacted the world and is responsible for graduating global leaders. Our historical institutional narrative provides the modern standard of excellence and a steadfast intention of exceeding through our faculty, alumni, and graduates. Our historic tradition as an intellectual community has hosted such thought leaders as Fredrick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Martin Luther King Jr.  Additionally, we have nurtured such notable alumni as South Africa’s first black university graduate Charlotte (nee’ ManyeMaxeke, NASA Human-Computer & Hidden Figure Dorothy Johnson Vaughan, Civil and Human Rights Activist Bayard Rustin, and the Harvard University Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor Dr. William Julius Wilson. Wilberforce has stayed true to its founding principles of self-determination and academic access. Wilberforce University continues our historical tradition of access and preparation for global impact in the 21st Century through our mission: 

“To engage, support, and assist students in identifying and preparing for their respective purposes in life as social change agents, social justice activists, entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and global citizens by imparting knowledge through rigorous intellectual inquiry and critical thinking. The mission is most effectively accomplished by instilling pride, discipline and inspiring life-long learning, personal and spiritual development and the practical application of the knowledge obtained, and the skills developed.” 

The Wilberforce Renaissance: Reclaiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance

Institutional Strategic Goals 

1- Develop sustainable resources (human, financial, and capital) that provide for the needs of the institution, and support the core mission of teaching, learning, and service at the University.  

2- Build and maintain a physical plant and campus environment which supports innovative teaching and learning, safety, pride, and operational efficiency which undergird our academic mission and enhances student engagement and quality of life. 

3-Deliver high quality academic, intellectual, and student engagement programs and experiences that prepare students for success in the workplace, graduate, and professional schools, and entrepreneurial pursuits. 

4- Develop, implement, and assess best practices that promote continuous improvement to support high organizational performance and operational efficiencies. 

5- Develop productive relationships between internal and external partners in strategic and sustained efforts to move Wilberforce University to a recognized position of prominence in delivering innovative and cutting-edge educational experiences in the community, nationally and internationally.  

6- Develop sustainable and transparent university-wide process, policies and procedures that address accreditation guidelines for building and sustaining programs regionally, nationally, and internationally.  

Our six institutional strategic goals provide the conceptual, administrative, management, and programmatic foundation for the University’s renewal and transformation- The Wilberforce Renaissance: Re-Claiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance. These institutional strategic goals guide the on-going strategic thinking, planning, and action at the University and will inform goal-setting, decision-making and all institutional narratives about Wilberforce University. The six institutional strategic goals inform the development of annual operational plans for each department/unit at the University, and guide our value drivers.  

Six Institutional Value Drivers

The value drivers will frame the on-going strategic thinking, planning and action at the University and inform goal-setting, decision-making, all internal and external narratives about Wilberforce University and the assessment of the Strategic Plan.  

1. Operational Efficiency 

Establish policies, procedures, and practices that assess and assure the highest standard of workplace effectiveness and operational functionality to support the core mission of the University. 

2. Fiscal Responsibility 

Establish policies, procedures, and practices that reflect the most promising key performance indicators in fiscal management and accountability to assure good stewardship of the University financial resources and assets. 

3. Academic Excellence 

Establish rigorous and challenging academic programs and intellectual experiences that prepare students for successful entry into the workplace, graduate and professional schools, and the pursuit of entrepreneurship. The academic experience will also encourage and facilitate an appreciation of life-long learning. 

4. Student Engagement 

Establish policies, procedures, and practices, which create and support a vibrant and holistic student experience that expands learning beyond the classroom. 

5. Image Enhancement 

Establish an infrastructure, which supports a comprehensive approach to repair and enhance the image, reputation and physical environment of the University. 

6. Civility and Kindness 

Establish policies, procedures, and practices, which create and support an institutional climate of collegiality, mutual respect, and workplace collaboration. 

Annual Operational Action Plans – An Annual Operational Action Plan is used in planning and recording activity that supports the value drivers. Members of the community work together to create these plans and then report their actions to create the Annual Operational Action Plan and Results report. 

2015-16 Annual Operational Action Plan

2016 -17 Annual Operational Action Plan and Results

2017-18 Annual Operational Action Plan and Results 

2018-19 Annual Operational Action Plan and Results                                        

The University reviews the Annual Operational Action Plan and Results and assesses success through Key Performance Indicators.           

In-Progress Annual Operational Action Plan 2019   

Key Performance Indicators measure and assess progress on excuting the essential organizational functions.       

Institutional Performance Scorecards help to provide a snapshot at a point in time. The Scorecard is a high-level measure that is comprised by collecting important data to create a summary of performance. Scorecards assist us in prioritizing the resources of the University.

Wilberforce University Institutional Scorecard

The WU Renaissance: Reclaiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance Strategic Thinking and Planning Steering Committee
As Wilberforce University moves forward, strategic thinking and planning continues to be an important element of our success. The WU Renaissance: Reclaiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance Strategic Thinking and Planning Steering Committee is charged to:

  • Champion the strategic planning and thinking process
  • Represent various perspectives on behalf of the campus constituents
  • Assist in the process for monitoring and assessing the plan’s progress
  • Participate in reflection and recommendations regarding the plan

The Wilberforce Renaissance: Sharing our Progress
Our assessment and analysis is completed through a collaboration between the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Compliance and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer.  The University is engaged in our progress through report submissions, the website, and during Board of Trustee meetings, which happen in the fall and spring semesters.

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