A view of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee from WCU's webcam. Photo courtesy of WCU via uccam.wcu.edu.

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A view of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee from WCU’s webcam. Photo courtesy of WCU via uccam.wcu.edu.

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University’s 2020 Commission, the 36-member committee leading a strategic planning process to guide the university’s direction and development over the next decade, will hold public hearings in seven Western North Carolina communities in September and October.

The community hearings are designed to enable commission members to hear from WCU alumni, donors, friends, and business and community leaders across WNC, said Melissa C. Wargo, assistant vice chancellor for institutional planning and effectiveness, chair of the commission.

The group also is soliciting input through its website, http://the2020commission.wcu.edu.

The first community hearings are scheduled for Macon and Jackson counties, with later sessions planned in Henderson, Buncombe, Haywood and Cherokee counties and on the Qualla Boundary.

The meetings in Macon and Jackson counties and in the town of Cherokee will include representatives from Southwestern Community College, which is going through its own strategic planning process.

The 2020 Commission will hold a community hearing from 10:30 a.m. until noon Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Macon County Public Library in Franklin.

The commission will hold a community hearing from 3:30 until 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva.

The schedule of future community hearings includes:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 28 – Hendersonville and Asheville.
  • Friday, Sept. 30 – Waynesville.
  • Thursday, Oct. 20 – Cherokee (the Qualla Boundary).
  • Monday, Oct. 31 – Murphy.

Strategic planning will help the university sharpen its institutional focus by identifying what programs and activities it will pursue, as well as those programs and activities it will not pursue over the next 10 years or so, Wargo said. The target is to have a plan ready for presentation to WCU’s Board of Trustees at its June 2012 meeting.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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