Beginning in September, the University of Wyoming will begin working on a strategic plan to navigate a bleak financial outlook over the next five years.

The UW Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved the strategic planning process proposed by President Laurie Nichols. The process is set to begin Sept. 23, with the Board of Trustees reviewing and approving the final plan in May.

"Essentially, it names a leadership council," Nichols said Thursday. "It also details just how we're going to go about engaging with people on campus and across the state to gather information which then becomes the basis of us creating our plan."

The plan itself includes dialogue with members of the university community and listening sessions on campus; departmental and unit-based discussions; statewide meetings; and opportunity for UW stakeholders and the campus community to provide input on the draft plan before the final plan is approved.

Nichols will appoint the Strategic Planning Leadership Council, in consultation with constituency groups from across campus, in September. Provost Kate Miller will chair the council; nominations are currently open for the 16 other positions. Email to submit names for consideration by Sept. 9.

The university says the council and respective deans will meet with each academic department in October, November and December to talk about visions for the future and factors that may be keeping a department from reaching its goals. Nichols and Miller will meet with each academic college to discuss direction and suggestions.

Open dialogue/listening sessions held in November and December will focus on topics such as university structures and organization; extended education and off-campus learning; undergraduate recruitment; and diversity and inclusion.

At least two open campus sessions will be devoted to each topic. Executive reports will be submitted and posted at the end of each meeting.

November will likely see statewide meetings to gather further input from stakeholders, alumni and others.

Work on a draft of the strategic plan is set to begin in January. The leadership council is set to present a draft to the campus community and stakeholders in March, then present a revised version at a town-hall meeting that will give the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Associated Students of UW a chance to consider the plan.

The plan, once approved by the UW Board of Trustees, would be implemented at the beginning of the 2017-18 fiscal year. College and unit plans are set to be finalized in the fall of 2017.

Nichols says program review reports have been submitted to the deans and Miller. Nichols and Miller will soon meet to go over program evaluations, with decisions expected to be made in September.

"I suspect that we will be eliminating some programs," Nichols said. "I don't know what they are, though."

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