As a great university, Wake Forest is called to continually build upon our strong foundation and strive for excellence. As we look ahead to 2034 — 12 years from now — when Wake Forest University will celebrate its 200th anniversary, it is imperative that we develop a clear vision and direction to further support our mission.  

Through this next year, we will focus our collective efforts on how to frame our journey to 2034. Investing in this effort now will allow us to craft the strategic direction required to deepen and sustain our claim to greatness for our University into its third century. 


On Nov. 17, 2022, Dr. Wente addressed the Strategic Framework in her annual Presidential Address.

We will use a process that is different from any Wake Forest has used in the past. Instead of engaging in strategic planning – which can too easily turn into generating lists of things to do — we will focus on framing a strategy to accomplish our vision and goals together. We must determine the right things to do, and not do, in order to deliver on our mission while navigating complex and challenging times.

President Susan R. Wente

The Framework

The framework will be structured around a set of core themes that will emerge from the university community’s input. This semester, our university community will come together through cross-school engagements and other opportunities to provide direct input that will shape and refine our core thematic areas. These themes will be tied to our mission, but also to both current and aspirational attributes that make Wake Forest distinctive as a higher education institute.


The Core Planning Team, led by Provost Michelle Gillespie and three faculty vice-chairs, will work with Thematic Working Groups and be supported by the University Resource Group and the Advisory Network.


Graphic showing the timeline
Click to enlarge the timeline graphic

In November, we will announce the themes which result from collective input. The Thematic Working Groups’ work will continue through mid-spring, including additional opportunities for community input. In late spring and early summer, the Core Planning Team will weave the thematic work together into the new framework. 

Preparing for this process

Wake Forest began setting the stage for this process last year, when President Wente asked the question: “What is expected of a great university today?”  The answers to this question — that Great Universities are called to be catalysts for good, and more specifically, to be catalysts for learning and discoveryaccess and opportunity, and innovation and society – position us to take action this academic year.  

Past strategic plans

Across the last four decades, we have been guided by several strategic plans with the most recent conceived between 2007-09. Each moved the University as a whole toward greater distinctiveness.