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Strategic plan builds on past, looks to Life West’s future

A new strategic plan for Life Chiropractic College West was approved by the college’s Board of Regents recently.

A new strategic plan for Life Chiropractic College West was approved by the college’s Board of Regents recently.

Life West has made great progress in fulfilling the previous plan, written for 2013-18. Enrollment has more than doubled, financial sustainability is solid, and ongoing program accreditation has been achieved for both the institution’s Doctor of Chiropractic program and a new Master of Science in Digital Imaging program. Campus conditions have improved for students, faculty and staff, an academic success center has been launched, and the campus has been enhanced to promote learning effectiveness.

“We have used the process for setting out the new strategic plan to identify foundational initiatives that support and define the future for Life West,” President Ron Oberstein said. “Within the college planning process, we have also set out clear objectives, resources and assessments to map and measure the progress of these initiatives.”

This next phase of growth will focus on new strategic initiatives while building on the existing foundation and legacy. The college’s values of Lasting Purpose – to give, do, love and serve from one’s own abundance – will underpin all the new strategic initiatives. “Our vision is not changing,” says Dr. Oberstein. “Creating a Brighter Future for Humanity remains our lodestar.”

Many of the initiatives may sound familiar. Dr. Oberstein has referred to them increasingly in his speaking engagements during the past year, and some examples – such as the increasing frequency of service trips for students and faculty or staff and the development of data-driven decision-making – are direct results of this strategic plan’s initiatives.

The initiatives are:

  • Deliver a Doctor of Chiropractic Program That Is Clinically and Philosophically Inspired: A recent post in Life Styles online highlights changes in the academic and clinical curriculum that brings students into the clinic sooner in their experience, and also seeks to pair classwork with clinic work more directly.
  • Build a Campus Culture That Embraces Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity and inclusion are increasingly a part of the Life West conversation, and the college has been working with a team for the past year to identify ways to address issues around the topic.
  • Develop a Culture of Service Within and Outside of the College: Life West has long supported a culture of service, from the Service Trip America clinics (formerly MTA) in San Francisco to volunteer opportunities within and outside of the college. Dr. Oberstein has recently amped up this initiative with multiple service trips to India, Tonga, and the opening of a new clinic for veterans and active-duty military in Hayward, the home of the Life West campus. In addition, during a trip to India in January, Life West executives took part in a ribbon-cutting that launched a new Life West Health Center chiropractic clinic in Delhi. Dr. Oberstein’s vision is that students will travel to the clinic in their final quarter to offer service, while taking their classes online.
  • Engage Alumni and Stakeholders as Active Members of the College Community: Dr. Oberstein has said that we have more power together than alone, and the vision to create a brighter future for humanity depends on the engagement of the chiropractic community. To that end, he and other Life West executives set aside time for travel in an effort to connect efficiently and effectively with members of the chiropractic community around the world. Life West also offers a thriving Continuing Education program and participates frequently in conferences spanning the globe. Life West hosts its own annual conference, The WAVE, which offers alumni and friends of the college a chance to connect, network and earn CE credits to fulfill state requirements.
  • Improve Institutional Effectiveness through Constant Innovation and Assessment: Life West added a new Vice President of Academic Affairs in the fall as part of this initiative to support “excellence in pedagogy and an ethos of student-centric care … grounded in constant improvement and innovation.” That team is growing and is behind the clinically inspired academic curriculum mentioned earlier.
  • Offer New Graduate Programs that Strengthen the College Identity and Flow from Our Values, Vision and Mission: A new Master of Science in Digital Imaging program will kick off this summer or fall, adding an additional degree program to the college’s curriculum.
  • Ensure Financial Security through Revenue Diversity and Growth: This initiative builds on a past initiative to create a financially sustainable future, and looks to include new academic and online programs to diversify sources of revenue and sustain growth.

“The strategic plan is designed to take our campus and student experience to the next level,” Dr. Oberstein said. “Our plan looks into the future while staying firmly grounded on the core values of the college’s history and legacy.”

This is the college’s fourth strategic plan. It was written under the tenure of Dr. Oberstein, the third president of the college, who has held the position for nearly two years. Life West was founded in 1976 and moved onto the Hayward campus about 20 years ago.

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