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Updates from the Dean on Atkinson’s Strategic Plan

by Örn Bodvarsson, April 11, 2023

Dear Members of the Atkinson Community,

Earlier this week I met with President Thorsett to discuss our 2023-27 strategic plan. He has approved the plan, so now we’re ready to put it into action. I am forming an implementation steering team, which will be led by Senior Associate Dean Alex Subert. It’s an ambitious plan, with lots of action items. Between now and the end of the school year we’ll pick a few things to do, including things we’re doing already, and then do a deeper dive when the new school year starts. Stay tuned for more information about this next phase of our strategic planning work.

In my conversation with the President, we talked a lot about the linkage of our school’s strategic plan to the campus strategic plan. If you compare the two plans, you’ll see these linkages:

  • Atkinson will help “[meet students’] lifelong needs for liberal and professional education; our school’s plan ensures that students’ needs at the full-time undergraduate level, full-time graduate professional level, and part-time degree and non-degree seeking level will be met.
  • Atkinson will help achieve “deep engagement with the Pacific Northwest” through the “Innovative Curriculum” and “External Relations” strategic priorities. We will leverage our close proximity to the State Capitol with new EDC programs for state employees and more internships, job placements, and cross-disciplinary programming for students seeking careers in public service.
  • The “Innovative Curriculum” priority aligns with the campus plan’s objective to “reorganize to serve a larger, more complex, student-focused university” and to be “an integrated university responsive to the needs of the 21st century”. We have worked with central administration to centralize some of our in-house services and will be a major player in the design and development of a new and bigger presence for Willamette in Portland.
  • The “External Relations” strategic priority of the AGSM plan aligns with the campus plan’s first major objective, “build enrollment and increase revenues”. Rebuilding MBA enrollments and aggressively growing BSBA enrollments are very high priorities and we will work intensively with the university’s enrollment management team to reach enrollment levels that more than meet our required annual revenue contributions.
  • Our “Innovative Curriculum” strategic priority aligns strongly with the campus plan’s objective to “strengthen academic and co-curricular programs through cross-university integration.” We will support the University’s plans to create and implement cross-university programs focusing on Big Data and Human-Centered Computing through the joint MBA/MSDS degree and the work of our in-house data science faculty; Democratic Institutions through our external relations work, growth in internships in the public sector, and our public management faculty’s participation in university work on democratic institutions; and Climate Change through development of a sustainability minor in the BSBA, work on corporate social responsibility programming, and joint programming with CAS on environmental studies, and programming in EDC. These curricular projects are in addition to work we will do to build other innovative programs around our world-class generic management education curriculum.

We clearly have exciting work ahead and I’m thrilled to be part of it. Happy April!

Best Wishes,

Örn Bodvarsson Signature

Örn Bodvarsson
Dean & Professor of Economics

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

Portland Center

200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.