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Strategic thinking and planning at Wilberforce University is an on-going institutional process that manages our mission, goals, and aspirations.

The Wilberforce University Strategic Plan entitled, Wilberforce 2025: A Focused Vision for Prominence is informed by the mission, strategic goals, and key performance indicators. Our strategic goals establish the context for an outstanding student-centered collegiate experience which assures the success of our value proposition and institutional high performance.


Advancing the mission of Wilberforce University, an institution-wide planning process that began in the spring of 2019, has culminated into setting the university’s strategic direction for the next several years.  

Wilberforce 2025: A Focused Vision for Prominence is Wilberforce University’s institutional vision and the evolution of the previous strategic plan, The Wilberforce Renaissance: Re-Claiming Institutional Prominence and High Performance (2016). WU 2025 enhances the efforts of our previous plans to fortify seven institutional priorities that will guide the university’s operational areas to make strong contributions to the financial sustainability of the university and the quality of its academics while delivering a robust student experience.

Wilberforce University Value Proposition

Wilberforce University will be a premier liberal arts institution with a college-to-career and entrepreneurial intention for students with high potential whose talents and abilities have been overlooked, marginalized, and ignored.

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) 

The mission is most effectively accomplished by instilling pride, discipline and life-long learning, personal and spiritual development, and the practical application of the knowledge obtained, and the skills developed.
Wilberforce 2025: A Focused Vision for Prominence 

Building on Success

To advance the impact of the former plan into today’s context and to meet future goals, the planning process identified several essential enhancements to the original Value Drivers.

  • Dedicated focus on areas that are essential to the university’s viability (enrollment + academic excellence).
  • Introducing capabilities that advance the student experience.
  • Institute practices that foster a strong culture among faculty, staff and leadership.
  • Refinement of budgeting and planning protocols that better align activities to desired outcomes.

The Outcome:

To stabilize current operations and to position the university for future growth, enhancements were made that grew the number of focus areas (pillars), while advancing new capabilities that channel all activities toward a set of universal goals. 

The Evolution of Strategy:

PILLAR 1:  Operational Effectiveness will become more focused on promoting a workplace and student environment that is conducive to supporting personnel needs and improving the student experience. Key areas of focus include infrastructure (physical and technology), cost management, and facility matters.

PILLAR 2: Fiscal Responsibility – Drive greater fiscal sustainability and return on investment through the advancement of new metrics, budget planning process, contingency funds, and the introduction of performance-based models for resource allocations to divisions and departments.

 (NEW) PILLAR 3: Enrollment + Admissions – Provide greater depth and capability into this essential function of the university.  Concentrated effort will be placed against effective recruiting, infrastructure, processes and retention drivers.

PILLAR 4: Academic Excellence – Academic excellence will have a sharp focus on the competency level of the university’s faculty and staff, the quality of academic programs and curriculum, and the oversight on the academic success of students.  This includes establishing formal pathways between remedial and college level offerings, ensuring proficiency matches between faculty/staff skill set and positional roles, and establishing an innovative core competency of the university.

PILLAR 5: Student Engagement will evolve into a full student experience.  The goal is to design and implement a holistic platform that engages students academically, socially, and civically to promote a stronger campus life experience.

PILLAR 6: Brand Advocacy has been elevated from Image Enhancement with the intent to centralize and add discipline to the university’s brand identity, value proposition, and marketing touch points.  Through a holistic marketing plan that engages students, university stakeholders and the general public, the university will position itself to attract students, donors and beneficial partnerships with the intent to craft a powerful institution narrative.

PILLAR 7: Culture of Excellence drives an institutional climate of proficiency, respect and workplace collaboration to foster a sense of community and pride. Outcomes stem from centralizing the university’s Human Resources (HR) functions and capabilities to advance the attraction, retention and development of university personnel and express a common standard of delivery, accountability and excellence.

NEW FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENT – Expanding Institutional Research capability across academic, operational, and student-centric activities to advance the ability of each division and department to collect and analyze data. This will monitor performance and help develop informed decisions.


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