Financial sustainability and operational excellence: The building blocks for a strong future

The realization of Wayne State University's mission and vision requires solid financial footing and operational excellence. Our commitment to increasing revenue through multiple avenues while continuing to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations will build the momentum necessary to fulfill our mission and vision for the long term. Financial sustainability and operational excellence are more imperative than ever given the current challenges our world is facing, from the ongoing economic challenges of a lingering pandemic to changing national demographics that foreshadow a shrinking pool of traditional college students and a rising skepticism about the value of higher education, all of which add to the risk and difficulty of maintaining a sustainable financial model. 

Our aspiration

The time is now to build the financial strength necessary to realize our strategic ambitions. We will establish a new culture of financial excellence, undergirded by improved acumen, better tools, and common understanding of costs and revenues. Financial decisions will be guided by strategic need and financial soundness. Most of all, we will redouble our efforts to recruit students at all educational levels and stages of life, from near and far, who will benefit from an education provided by excellent faculty at a top research university in the heart of Detroit.

Goal 1: Strengthen and improve financial and budgetary management policies, procedures and practices.


  • Develop a culture of continuous process improvement and operational excellence.
  • Develop a long-term strategic budgeting plan to reflect the university's strategic priorities.
  • Establish criteria by which new and existing initiatives, programs, projects and ideas are evaluated for costs and benefits, including alignment with the five-year strategic plan.
  • Implement a new budget model that allocates financial resources, taking into account incentives to increase revenue while promoting a responsible and effective administrative support cost structure.
  • Develop an incentive program for faculty and staff to promote cost reduction idea generation and implementation.
  • Implement staff training programs to address critical skill needs and knowledge gaps.

Goal 2: Align facilities, land and space to the needs, scale and resources of the university, incorporating work from the Campus Master Plan, learning from the pandemic and a realistic appraisal of resources available for deferred maintenance. 


  • Consolidate common teaching space into modernized, pedagogically appropriate buildings.
  • Reduce facility expenses and generate resources by repurposing or selling unnecessary buildings.
  • Enhance student life by consolidating central office space to create more student-centered spaces. 
  • A state-of-the-art education and research facility for the School of Medicine.

Goal 3: Grow enrollment at all levels, with an overall goal of 28,000. 


  • Leverage K-12 summer programs and K-12 school partnerships to build a pipeline for future Wayne State students.
  • Engage students, alumni and faculty in outreach, reputation building, recruitment and yield efforts. 
  • Expand recruitment efforts to increase out-of-state and international students. 
  • Build programs and partnerships to enroll "completers," students who have earned some or substantial college credits but were not able to complete degree requirements.
  • Increase retention of students at all levels.
  • Increase number of community college partnerships.
  • Partner with four-year colleges to create "3+2" agreements.
  • Grow public support by communicating our role as a vehicle for economic opportunity and social mobility for all Michiganders, particularly through student, faculty, staff and alumni engagement with State of Michigan.

Goal 4: Optimize existing and develop new revenue streams.


  • Optimize the annual allocation from the State of Michigan through a collaborative, metrics-driven and reputation-enhancement approach.
  • Increase revenue from business partnerships.
  • Partner with businesses to develop and enhance learning opportunities for, and effectiveness of, their employees.

Goal 5: Enhance the culture of philanthropy across Wayne State.


  • Inspire and engage donors to successfully launch the university's next comprehensive fundraising campaign. 
  • Build endowment to $750 million.
  • Raise $100 million in endowment and spendable funds to support student financial need.
  • Increase the number of endowed chairs, professorships, fellowships, and endowed or funded faculty titles. 
  • Empower faculty, staff and students to partner in philanthropy efforts.

Goal 6:  Grow Wayne State's reputation as Detroit's premier public urban research university, known for academic excellence, community service and impact, and inclusivity.


  • Broaden understanding of Wayne State's value in the development of Detroit's and Michigan's educated workforce.
  • Communicate the positive impact of Wayne State's community engagement.
  • Build recognition of Wayne State as a university of both academic/scholarly excellence and access to educational and career opportunities for a diverse student body.   
  • Grow public support by communicating Wayne State's role as a vehicle for economic opportunity and social mobility for all Michiganders, particularly through student, faculty, staff and alumni engagement with Detroit and throughout Michigan.

Goal 7:  Promote and support sustainability throughout the university.


  • Implement new and expand existing initiatives that promote sustainable practices and responsible resource utilization.
  • Identify opportunities for carbon reduction and implement initiatives that will reduce the university's carbon footprint.