Strategic Planning for Cowards

Strategic Planning for Cowards

strategic planning
  • Management
Strategic Planning
0
Portland State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (OR)
http://www.pdx.edu/clas/

Urban metropolitan campus with a large number of non-traditional students.

  • Institutions
  • Institutions

PURPOSE

New administrative team charged with developing a strategic plan.

  • To develop a dynamic inclusive strategic plan that instantiated the collective wisdom, aspiration, and inspiration of our College.

DESCRIPTION

Our strategic planning process involved three phases. Phase I identified five broad areas. Task force committees were created consisting of self-identified and nominated members. This included faculty at all levels—from assistant to full professors, fixed term (FTF) tenure track faculty (TTF)—department chairs, staff members, and the deans who served as ex-officio members. The five committees were: strategic resource investment; faculty/staff development: enrollment management and curriculum: student success; and research innovation and partnerships. Each committee developed an executive summary of their findings, detailing: a definition of their charge as they perceived it and the context of that charge; the committee’s overall composition; a discussion of the process by which they arrived at their conclusions and the guiding principles for the task force’s work; issues considered including the College’s strengths and weaknesses as they pertained to their specific area of focus; and an outline of the specific recommendations developed by the group. In Phase II, which is currently underway, new committees were created in the same manner with the addition of community and student members. These groups are charged with reviewing Phase I reports and aligning them with the following strategic topics:diversity, equity and inclusion; community engagement; development; and student success. Phase II committees are also addressing questions that have an extensive impact and importance to the functioning and environment of the College. The broad and integrative foci provide a critical set of lenses through which we can assess how the College will achieve vital planning goals. In Phase III, the dean’s team will consolidate the data from Phases I and II to create a plan of action and establish evaluation criteria and timeline for the implementation of a campus approved strategic plan.

One of the strengths of the CLAS strategic planning process is that we have elicited multiple perspectives on institutional concerns that challenge institutions across academia. Just as our fixed-term faculty may consider the College's planning for research, curriculum and enrollment from perspectives that may differ from the viewpoints of tenure-track faculty, our staff and students have a cogent and powerful perspective all their own, a perspective that is often overlooked in the traditional hierarchy of higher education. However, in the CLAS strategic planning process there has been a deliberate effort to include these often unheard voices. The staff perspective was encouraged through direct financial support and by the task force chairs who led the group discussions. For each of the five task forces, a scribe was provided by the Dean's Office and paid a modest stipend in recognition of the extra work. Staff is usually the lowest paid members of any academic department and by financially recognizing the value of their contribution to the task forces' deliberation and encouraging them to participate fully in the discussions, we were able to add another voice, a new breadth of perspective, to the deliberations. Further, this process allowed us to identify staff members with an interest in participating in the College beyond the department level. Knowing who those staff members are, we are able to continue offering opportunities for professional growth. The student perspective was also encouraged in both Phase I and Phase II of the strategic planning process. In Phase I, the challenges faced by students were carefully researched by a task force whose membership was drawn from faculty and administrators, with an emphasis on advising professionals and faculty with a strong connection to the student experience. In Phase II, a task force comprised entirely of students, graduate and undergraduate from the Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences, have come to the fore. Their essential charge is to review the five final reports from Phase I from their own perspectives. Phase I: Five strategic task force reports available upon request. Phase II: Questions under consideration Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (membership includes faculty and staff) •What are hiring, retention, mentoring, and career development opportunities that enhance our ability to achieve strategic planning goals? •How do the campus goals of globalization and internationalization intersect with our strategic planning goals? •What are principles that guide us in achieving strategic planning goals that promote an inclusive and collegial climate on campus? •How can we better address issues around access to education and student success? Community Engagement (membership includes faculty, staff, community partners) • How can we help students in gaining non-classroom experiences? • How do potential employers view online degree programs with respect to their effectiveness in educating and training the workforce? • How can we serve the city, county, state and region through partnerships and collaborations with the community outside PSU? • By what mechanisms can we incorporate feedback and input from the community in identifying our goals and assessing our success in achieving these goals? Development (membership includes faculty, staff, community partners) • In this changing financial landscape, what is the role of philanthropy and partnerships in helping us achieve our goals in teaching, research and service? • How do the strategic planning goals influence our approach to fundraising and partnerships with the community? • What should CLAS be doing to be successful in raising funds for scholarships and student support (the current university-wide development priority) and to prepare itself to be successful in the planned comprehensive capital campaign? Students (membership includes undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students) • Do the strategic planning goals contribute to a better educational experience? • How can the College best serve the students in attaining success in their education and career? • How can students help the College attain its strategic goals? • Are there issues that the Phase I task force recommendations did not cover that are important for the College to work on? Phase III: Creation of an action plan, evaluation criteria, and timeline.

The inclusion of faculty, staff, student, and community perspectives were encouraged and recognized in this strategic planning process.

RESULTS

  • Phase II committees review and evaluate reports generated during Phase I and utilize data to inform Phase II activities.

It is too early to know the final results of the College's strategic planning process. However, the findings are certain to reflect the values and goals of the entire College. Its scope will reflect the breadth of our task force membership and its usefulness will be broadened and enhanced, accordingly. Instead of a strategic plan that gathers dust on a shelf, ours will serve as the basis for planning for the future.

Thus far this has proven to be an effective and cohesive process which has allowed for the involvement of the entire College.

RESOURCES AND LESSONS LEARNED

Willingness of existing personnel to become involved in the strategic planning process.

  • Staff Support: $7,500; Includes summer work honorariums and basic administrative costs.

  • Meeting Costs: $2, 500; food and beverages for two working lunch meetings with all task force participants.

  • Strategic milestones will be implemented, tracked and reviewed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Amy Ross
Chief of Staff, Dean’s Office, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Portland State University
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland, Oregon 97207
Phone: (503) 725-3514

rossa@pdx.edu

Dr. Susan W. Beatty and Dr. Shelly Chabon
Dean and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Portland State University
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland, Oregon 97207
Phone: (503) 725-3514
Fax: (503) 725-3693

Beatty2@pdx.edu, chabonr@pdx.edu