Currently we are beginning the implementation phase of the Strategic Plan. This semester we set two goals for the team. First we found it necessary to develop a taxonomy for organizing all of the information we are collecting. For example, we asked units/areas such as academic affairs and finance to describe their current projects that support the strategic plan as well as future projects and plans that address specific strategic goals. We immediately found that developing such a taxonomy is difficult to say the least.
Our second goal is to get a firm grasp of where we currently stand with respect to strategic goals and strategies so we can identify problematic areas and priortize time and energy on issues that need to be changed immediately and that CAN be changed. The committee is in the process of developing and administering a survey that is tailored specifically to our strategic plan. We will get a baseline measurement of where we stand with every component of our strategic plan.
As mentioned above we will achieve consensus on a taxonomy for integrating a tremendous amount of information in early March, 2009. Once we collect more information I think this taxonomy will be adjusted to "fit" our needs better.
As for the survey we have developed a draft and received feedback from most of the areas (AA, Finance, Development, PR, Diversity, etc). We are holding a "town hall" meeting at the end of March, 2009 to make sure everyone on campus has input and understands the Content, Process, and purpose of the Results. So, the purpose of the survey is to establish a baseline of where we stand. We will be able to target interventions to appropriate areas, highlight best practices and systematically measure change from year to year. This helps with several phases of implementation in the future. We avoid campus wide change when it is not necessary. For example, if we were informed that advising was an issue on this campus we could avoid sweeping change that affects every area and takes a significant amount our time on a task that may not be necessary. That is, our survey may identify that two majors have a horrible level of satisfaction with advising, while another area has a superb rating!
We have now identified specifically who needs to improve advising. By looking further and asking the major that does a good job about best practices, we might find that they simply put controls on courses that are mandatory in the beginning of each of the four years of degree progression. This forces students in the major to meet with an advisor at least once a year. This may be a simple fix for the majors that are struggling.
Perhaps the most important component of implementation is to help areas identify specific areas for improvement, how to measure progress, how/what goals to set, and identifying how/when the area has made successful and sufficient change. That is, how will they know they have achieved success?
We are making progress. Getting started with a carefully defined task and purpose will help us avoid the "flavor of the month" mentality that is difficult to change once established. Wish us luck!
- Terry Halfhill, Chair
- Paula Congelio, Member
- Andy Gapinski, Member
- Wayne Port, Member
- Tina Reed, Member
- John Riddle, Member
- Joseph Segilia, Member
- Shawn Shrum, Member