Introduction to the Strategic Planning Initiative
Year 2 (2005-2006) began with the creation of five action teams, each of which focused on one of the critical issues identified through the values and visions exercise as important issues for significant attention or improvement. The five critical issues were: strategic enrollment management, student success, comparative advantage, summer and intersession activities, and community partnerships. Team members met throughout the 2005-2006 academic year and submitted their final reports to the president in April 2006.
EPAC and UPBC met again in a retreat format in May 2006. The group focused on a vision statement drafted to reflect the beliefs and aspirations of the university as conveyed through the values and vision exercises. Within the framework of the vision statement and informed by the action team work, the group brainstormed planning strategies. To supplement the work the action teams had completed on critical issues requiring attention or improvement, the retreat discussion extended to include a fuller exploration of areas of strength at WestConn.
We approached the start of Year 3 (2006-2007) with valuable information: themes from the values and vision phase, a draft of a vision statement for WestConn, action team strategies and recommendations that address critical issues for improvement, and the beginnings of strategies relevant to areas of strength. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC), populated by the action team co-chairs, met regularly through the summer and early fall to study the rich data collected by the earlier processes, and to begin to draft a strategic plan consistent with the university’s vision statement.
The SPSC delivered the first 12 (of 42) short-term recommendations to the president on August 30, 2006, and these have been charged to the appropriate person for implementation during this academic year. Additionally, the committee delivered the draft strategic plan to the president in mid-October, and it was shared with the university community for discussion and feedback.
Multiple opportunities were provided for individuals and groups to contribute to this important document. The draft plan was made available via the university’s website with a one-click feedback button available to anyone wishing to share their thoughts. Academic and administrative departments were asked by the president to review the plan at their respective department meetings and provide feedback. Open forums were held at both campuses to invite the university community to discuss and share ideas related to the plan. Additionally, the plan was discussed at a Faculty Senate meeting and among various student organizations. In total over 350 comments were received via these various means. With the benefit of these comments, the draft plan was revised. This final draft plan has been shared with the UPBC and the Senate; it was unanimously endorsed by the Senate on March 28, 2007.