Page 4 - Fall2016
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                               FROM THE PRESIDENT

                                           Dear Alumni,

                                           It will not surprise anyone who knows Wheeling Jesuit University to hear that our mission
                                           served as the starting point in the writing of the next strategic plan for the University. Although
                                           the working groups have been meeting for more than a year and even though the planning
                                           process never really stops, the five-year strategic plan will be complete by May of 2017 and will
                                           span the academic years 2017-2021. Because the mission of the institution is so well integrat-
                      ed into our lives and our work, it seems awkward to think of it as a statement, but it is a statement (the mission
                      statement is printed in its entirety on page 44 of this issue). It is a hopeful and aspirational statement that is
                      lived out by our students, faculty, staff and graduates. This edition of the WJU Chronicle offers glimpses into
                      the mission — the lived mission.
                          This time around, our strategic planning process takes place within the context of the deepened and more
                      explicit partnership between the University and the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
                          We have come to believe that in order for a small liberal arts college to survive in the 21st century, three
                      things must happen: 1) the mission of the institution must be appropriated by all and well integrated into the
                      life and work of the school; 2) the academic strengths of the institution must serve as the foundation for cur-
                      rent planning and future growth; and, 3) strategic partnerships must be established and nourished.
                          When it comes to the mission, the institution both goes before and follows. It goes before by articulating
                      the hopes and aspirations of the community, and it follows by learning from those who live it out on campus
                      and in the world thereby reinvigorating the mission with new life.
                          Focusing on academic strengths requires, I think, at least two actions: first, we need to make an honest
                      appraisal of that which we do well; second, we need to consider the potential for employment for our stu-
                      dents once they graduate. We need to focus our resources on the programs for which we are well known –
                      the liberal arts undergraduate program that produces critical thinkers, ethically questioning individuals, and
                      professionals competent in their area of study and future fields of practice. We have long excelled in preparing
                      our students for graduate degrees in medicine and other health-related areas. Our nursing programs have a
                      strong and successful history. Other programs such as physical therapy, athletic training and respiratory thera-
                      py help provide an integrated health model from which all of our health science programs benefit.
                          Our strategic partnership with the local Catholic Diocese serves both our mission and our academic
                      strengths. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is the second largest provider, after the federal government, of
                      social services to the people of West Virginia – all the people of West Virginia. The Diocese is concerned about
                      the moral development of the people of West Virginia and the educational options offered to them. We two,
                      the University and the Diocese, share a mission: to care for the people of Appalachia by providing educational
                      options from cradle to college and preparing citizens of competence, conscience and compassion.
                          We are so very proud of our alumni, students, faculty and staff. I hope you enjoy reading about how they are
                      living out the mission.

                                                                                                    Rev. James J. Fleming, S.J., Ph.D.
                                                                                                    President, Wheeling Jesuit University

                                                                                                                                                                            Wheeling Jesuit University
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