Strategic Planning Process

The strategic planning process that began in August 2015 has engaged numerous constituents and provided a variety of opportunities for input and review. The process has been conducted in a transparent and inclusive manner, balancing community-wide input with the vision of the College’s leadership.  We have worked within and through established structures and cultures of shared governance and integrated aspirations and creative designs for the future with the practical fundamentals of educational, pedagogical, administrative, and fiscal feasibility. Gathering the observations, ideas, and suggestions of as many members of the College’s community as possible has required multiple methods, including informal and structured individual and group interviews, online surveys, “idea walls,” and town hall meetings and other large forums; the whole of the process has been iterative, with tentative conclusions and priorities reviewed and affirmed or revised as needed. 

Keeling and Associates (K&A), a firm with considerable expertise in higher education planning, assisted the College’s Strategic Planning Committee by coordinating information gathering; collating and analyzing qualitative and quantitative information and data collected through these intersecting methods; analyzing both internal and external challenges and opportunities; and developing successive, iterative versions of draft planning themes for discussion at a strategic planning retreat that was held in late March 2016. At the conclusion of the retreat, there was consensus about the main points of overarching strategy, priorities, goals, and objectives for the coming five to seven years. K&A then assisted the Committee in refining and finalizing the goals and objectives, whcih were presented to the campus at a series of open forums in early May 2016.

Once the strategic plan’s guiding elements—mission, vision, goals, and objectives—were drafted and refined, K&A worked in summer 2016 with a 16-person Implementation/Action Planning Group to develop the implementation/action plan, which details specific activities, sequencing and timelines, assignments of accountability, estimated costs, intended impact, and assessment methods and metrics for effective implementation of the strategic plan. A near-final version of the complete plan will be ready by the beginning of the Fall 2016 semester, at which time the IPG will hold open forums to review their work with the campus community. The final strategic plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their first board meeting of the new academic year in October 2016.

Project Activities and Timeline

The following outlines the timeline of the planning process to date:

Phase I: Engagement, information gathering, and planning themes

August-December 2015

  • Collection of key campus data, reports, plans, and documents
  • Initial retreat with president’s cabinet
  • Appointment and charge of the Strategic Planning Committee
  • Telephone interviews
  • Monthly site visits for meetings and information gathering through personal and small-group interviews, large open forums or “town hall meetings,” and idea walls
  • Online survey of College constituencies
  • Data and information synthesis and development of preliminary themes
Phase II: Priorities, goals and objectives

January-Early May 2016

  • Work with the Committee and leadership to develop and revise planning themes
  • College-wide review and discussion of findings and themes, led by the Committee
  • Strategic planning retreat with the Committee and College leadership
  • Refinement of vision, values, goals, and objectives
  • Community reflection and review of draft goals and objectives
  • Drafts of strategic plan
Phase III: Implementation/action plan completion

June-October 2016

  • Appointment and charge of Implementation/Action Planning Group (IPG)
  • Draft and final versions of an implementation/action plan by the IPG
  • Finalization, review with the campus community, and approval of the complete strategic plan by the Board of Trustees

Roles and activities

The following outlines the basic roles and activities of the College's various constituencies during the planning process:

Strategic Planning Committee
  • Steward of the College community’s interests and aspirations in the planning process
  • Serves as a consistent source of communication to and from the College’s constituencies
  • Works with K&A to coordinate information gathering, data analysis, and development of planning themes
  • Participates in a strategic planning retreat to reach consensus on overarching strategy, priorities, goals, and objectives
  • Works with K&A after the retreat to refine goals and objectives
All-campus community
  • Active contributors to the planning process through participation in on-campus information and idea-gathering activities, online survey, and review and discussion of preliminary themes and draft goals and objectives
  • Collective owners of the strategic planning process
  • Constituent groups represented on the Strategic Planning Committee
President and senior administrators
  • Develops the charges for and supports the work of the Strategic Planning Committee and the Implementation/Action Planning Group
  • Communicates regularly with K&A and provides ongoing, collaborative strategic analysis and leadership perspectives on the planning process and emerging ideas and priorities
  • Communicates with and updates the Board of Trustees regarding the planning process
Implementation/Action Planning Group
  • Develops the activities, timelines, lines of accountability, and assessment metrics that will be detailed in the implementation/action plan to track and measure the progress of the plan once implemented
Keeling & Associates
  • Consultants, advisors, and facilitators throughout the process
  • Collect data and information through multiple methods, on- and off-site, and assist the Strategic Planning Committee in analysis and formulating conclusions
  • Facilitate the work of the Strategic Planning Committee and maintain regular communication with the president and her cabinet
  • Work with the Strategic Planning Committee to refine goals and objectives after the strategic planning retreat
  • Develop a framework for the creation of the implementation/action plan’
  • Assist the Implementation/Action Planning Group in drafting the implementation plan
  • Assist in preparing the final drafts of the full strategic plan, including the implementation plan