Mission and Values
Western Washington University is a public comprehensive institution dedicated to serving the people of the state of Washington. Together our students, staff, and faculty are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement.
As a community, we uphold certain basic values. These include:
- Commitment to student success, critical thought, creativity, and sustainability
- Commitment to equity and justice, and respect for the rights and dignity of others
- Pursuit of excellence, in an environment characterized by principles of shared governance, academic freedom and effective engagement
- Integrity, responsibility and accountability in all our work
Western Washington University prepares and inspires individuals to explore widely, think critically, communicate clearly, and connect ideas creatively to address our most challenging needs, problems, and questions.
Core Themes: Advancing Our Mission
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the regional accreditation body for Western, requires that the institution define core themes, overarching constructs essential for advancing the institutional mission. Advancing inclusive excellence, increasing Washington impact and enhancing academic excellence represent those overarching constructs. We believe that progress on advancing institutional mission and vision requires making significant and continuous progress on these ideals, which reflect the goals of the strategic plan.
Education is the most powerful social equalizer, a true engine for upward mobility. While postsecondary institutions become increasingly diverse, the degree attainment gap persists for low-income students and students of color. We recognize that our most important challenge is to advance inclusive success, that is, increase retention and persistence rates and the number of graduates, while eliminating achievement gaps for students from diverse and under-represented socio-economic backgrounds. We have a great platform to advance access and completion at Western, starting with a six-year graduation rate of 70 percent, one of the best in the region.
In the next decade, two-thirds of the jobs in Washington will require some form of post-secondary education. We recognize that to contribute to the future workforce needs in Washington and the region, we need to expand access to our programs, increase persistence and graduation rates, and partner with other education providers to offer programs and credentials to place-bound and non-traditional students. At the same time, we must prepare our students to be successful in a continuously changing work and social environment, where technology and automation are driving employment trends, and significantly changing the nature of work and relationships.
Western provides a transformational education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and based on innovative scholarship, research and creative activity to foster the development of engaged members of a global community. Making progress on critical issues—from environmental sustainability and climate change, to human health, economic vitality and cultural diversity—requires investing in, and nurturing, a faculty culture that integrates knowledge and exploration in our undergraduate and graduate programs. We will continue to enhance the high quality of our undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and professional programs, while simultaneously extending our reach to become a greater catalyst for regional economic and social development. We strive to expand and deepen our work to build a diverse, inclusive and equitable community and culture: in terms of access and success, curriculum, learning, shared experiences, embedded values and beliefs, and engagement opportunities to create enduring change.
The Strategic Plan articulates four goals to advance Western. Our approach is somewhat non-traditional; we articulate our goals as values that we aspire to advance.
Western´s educational experience will continue to be rooted in an active teaching and learning environment with a liberal arts and sciences foundation and robust co-curricular, internship, research, creative, and community engagement opportunities. Western will prepare students to be successful and engaged members of society, and will provide the tools to work in and across disciplines to identify and creatively solve key societal problems, both local and global. Western will recruit the best faculty and staff to support the growth and sustained flourishing of programs, departments, and centers that do this vital work.
At Western, we seek to engage place in all of its complexity. Place calls us to recognize debts and obligations to indigenous and Native nations, to the environment and sustainability, and to diverse and rich cultures within and across borders. Place inspires us to study with rigor and precision the complexity, vibrancy, and beauty of land and sea in Washington State and in the Pacific Northwest. Place moves us to think and act thoughtfully and creatively about where we are and how we connect with the wider world. Place beckons us to look at the past with care and to envision the future with curiosity, innovation, and creativity.
Western’s greatest strength is the outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae who make up its community. Western supports an inclusive governance structure for all and provides a learning and working environment in which everyone can thrive.
Western sees equity, justice, inclusion, and diversity as fundamental principles calling for authentic engagement. Western acknowledges that, as an institution, it has failed to meet the needs of people of many races, ethnicities, creeds, socioeconomic classes, gender identities, sexual orientations, and disability statuses. WWU will contribute to redressing these inequities by transforming policies, structures, and practices to ensure meaningful inclusion.