Back at #aspire11, there was a rather contentious discussion between two faculty members regarding the value of strategic planning, or lack thereof. What I took from that discussion was the need to do it right: the process isn’t something that can take years but has to be done quickly, efficiently, with buy in from the important players.
And so, today I began my department’s first strategic planning effort. We have existed for only 5 years and have been in flux for most of that time. We were a staff of one (plus me); we are now a department of 15. So it seemed appropriate to ask the question, “Who are we? Where are we going?”
The process went (I think) remarkably well. My staff shares a great commitment to student success but varies greatly with regard to education and experience. While one of my newest staff members has only a few years of hands-on experience, he is perhaps the most well versed in theory; another of my staff members has worked with community college students for more than 15 years, but has no formal education in the field. Yet at the end of this, our first conversation, both (and everyone in between) walked away saying that they were excited about the topic.
I sense that this is largely because the group realized that, despite our lack of formal future planning to this point, we truly share and live our mission. To date, our students have agreed, but the group recognized the need to be able to do better, rather than just maintain. Never did I think I would be so enthused about strategic planning. So, I guess I figured out which side of the #aspire11 debate I came down on 😉