Friday, November 21, 2008

Wake Forest Strategic Conversation

My thoughts after a conversation at the Wake Forest Strategic Vision event in New York last night:

As a former student who grew academically inside the closed-gate academic world of Wake Forest, it was not surprising to learn that ten years later, there is still some uncertainty as to how to be a globally effective, pragmatically focused top-tier university. I mean no disrespect by this: but I have lived overseas for years, as have many former student friends. It seems nobody has ever been contacted to help with outreach in that area. I've often felt like Wake Forest didn't feel I was important after I graduated, except in fund-raising. IT was good to see this strategic outreach. But I don't believe, frankly, that the school is prepared to address the world as it operates at this moment in history. the business school seems incapable of knowing how to engage in full partnerships with foreign partners in Asia. The Law School is trying, but its main preoccupation seems to be scholarships and diversity among African-Americans domestically. Again, a great idea and sustainable, and vital. But the world is not concerned with Wake Forest's diversity. It's more concerned with making connections that establish professional development globally, on the ground.

Only the divinity school seems to have excelled in constant, on the ground international development. But that's divinity, and largely ideological exercises, not business and expansion or growth.

Why does Wake Forest insist on saying it is in outreach mode, when it really seems to have looked inward to craft its vision, building a new enrollment center and dorms, rather than campuses in other countries or partnerships in Asia or the Middle East like its partnerships in Vienna, Venice and London?

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