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WMU-Cooley Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

Our Vision

To advance justice and equity by providing broad access to a legal education to diverse individuals who meet that opportunity with a commitment to achieving high standards of professional competency.

Our Mission

We provide a transformative practical legal education, grounded in the science of learning, that prepares and inspires our students to become lifelong learners and agents for positive change in their communities and our profession.

Our Values

Students First 

We design and deliver our programs to promote our students’ professional development by creating a collaborative and supportive community that transcends the classroom. We provide effective support from enrollment through entry to the profession so our graduates experience superior outcomes at licensure and in employment. We engage our proud and vibrant alumni community as an integral part of our programs.

Diversity and Inclusion

We create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive culture that respects and celebrates the uniqueness of each individual without regard to their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, or religious beliefs.  We know that meaningful progress requires that we actively nurture a culture of belonging and align our actions with our words.


We know resilience can be learned, is key to success, and is more important than inherent ability.  We reject the proposition that prior circumstances define a person and support each individual’s unique identity and learning journey.

Continuous Improvement

We continuously improve by making transparent, evidence-based decisions, learning from our mistakes and investing in the development of our staff and faculty. We know innovation requires risk-taking and a commitment to long-term sustainability.

Service and Integrity

We believe attaining a legal education is an opportunity that confers a duty of service and integrity.  We strengthen society through leadership, service, and dedication to the rule of law. We emphasize and adhere to the highest standards of professional ethics and service to others.


Increase experiential learning opportunities for our students to serve their communities.

  • Enhance clinical opportunities and create parity across campuses.
  • Increase experiential course enrollment.
  • Strengthen our externship program.

Thread social justice, experiential learning, and service through our programs.

  • Develop and adopt social  justice learning outcomes.
  • Increase active learning, including simulation experiences and cross-course integrated exercises.
  • Intentionally seek and retain diverse candidates in our admissions and in future faculty and staffing hiring.

Become a visible and respected national leader in the development and delivery of modern legal education.

  • Develop internal and external certification programs in teaching for faculty.
  • Increase faculty engagement, presentation and publishing on science-based learning and other innovative approaches to legal education.
  • Develop and implement competency-based grading in MBE courses.
  • Increase the use of existing and new technologies that enhance teaching and learning. 

Strengthen our financial sustainability.

  • Grow admissions at or above our current profile.
  • Enhance and expand our development efforts.
  • Develop new market-driven degree, certificate, or other legal education programs.
  • Maintain operational discipline to align resources with institutional priorities.

Support our students’ learning journeys from enrollment through licensure and  professional success.

  • Advance academic support efforts so every student has the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, and values to excel in the profession.
  • Develop lifelong learners by teaching and assessing growth mindset, self-regulation, and resilience.
  • Exceed accreditor compliance for bar passage outcomes.
  • Improve graduate employment and support alumni placement in a changing legal services market.
  • Foster alumni pride in the institution through the support and promotion of their practice and increased contact with current students as mentors, adjuncts, and externship hosts. 

Continuously Improve.

  • Enhance methods for consistent collection and review of data.
  • Develop continuous quality improvement processes that advance our programs.
  • Increase faculty and staff professional development.


Adopted June 26, 2021