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Steering Committee Resources

Annotated Summary for Suggested Resources to Committee Chairs and Members in Colorado College’s 2012-13 Strategic Planning Process

(Please note:  Where required, Colorado College has received publisher’s permissions to post the below items solely for use by participants in our strategic planning process.  Other items are in the public domain and do not require specific permissions.  If you have questions about whether or not to reproduce an item in quantities greater than individual or committee use, please ascertain permissions status of a particular resource from the Colorado College President’s Office.)

“A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education”
by Karen E. Hinton
published and distributed by Society for College and University Planning (SCUP-2012)

This is SCUP’s primary resource for strategic planners in higher education.  The entire document presents a very strong explanation of considerations and practices with an emphasis on process-driven actions at the senior leader, steering committee and functional committee levels.  The first three sections (pp 7 – 17) are a summary discussion of the planning process and its various component parts; and section six (pp 23 – 26) overviews the importance and influence of institutional culture on the planning process.  If you have time to read just one document to help you understand strategic planning in higher education, these four segments are the best choice to inform your participation in the Colorado College strategic planning process!

“Strategic Planning for Branch Campuses”
by Anne Ponder          
In Leading America’s Branch Campuses, edited by Samuel Schuman, American Council on Education Series on Higher Education.  Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009.
© 2009, American Council on Education. Reprinted with permission.

As the title makes clear, Chancellor Anne Ponder (UNC-Asheville) is specifically writing about public branch campuses, but much of the discussion directly informs a strategic planning process in higher education more generally.  The article’s address of how to structure various input-seeking forums is very valuable in that these events bring meaningful perspectives to the plan that might otherwise be muted.   The author notes that constituent committees are expected to play a filtering role and also identify issues and areas in which real substantive conflict is found, navigating expressed ambiguities in an effort to find resolution in the plan itself.  Ponder’s chapter is a very strong resource with a value that transcends the title. 

Strategic Change in Colleges and Universities:  Planning to Prosper and Survive
By Daniel J. Rowley, Herman D. Lujan and Michael G. Dolence with foreword by George Keller
Jossey-Bass: J. Wiley and Sons, 1997

This is the current definitive work on the subject of strategic planning in higher education and its principles are those on which most subsequent efforts build.  This book-length address, a very valuable read in its entirety, is nearly 350 pages in length.  For brevity, only two of the most useful chapters for our work within Colorado College’s planning process have been scanned and linked:  Chapter 4 “Planning to Fit the Institution’s Environments” and Chapter 8 “The People and Time Involved.”*  For anyone with a deeper interest in strategic planning in higher education, Strategic Change is the recognized starting point for any review.

“The Endless Good Argument: The Adaptation of Mission at Two Liberal Arts Colleges”
by Matthew Hartley and Lawrence Schall
in Planning for Higher Education, 33(4): 5–11.

Hartley and Schall juxtapose the historical experiences of two very different liberal arts colleges to offer conclusions about how their missions, values and strategies have evolved.  While the comparison of the two institutions’ individual stories (Swarthmore and Olivet) may not translate directly to Colorado College, the analysis and discussion are relevant to our purpose during the strategic planning process.  This is especially informative as we think about CC’s path toward an evolving future in higher education and our position in the field of liberal arts education.  The authors use comparative case study to emphasize the salient role of institutional culture as a determinant in strategic planning, even as that culture adapts and shifts over time.  

“Strategic Planning in Higher Education”
By Andrea Luxton
Commissioned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Dept of Education--General Conference 

This primer on the strategic planning process in higher education is specifically designed for use within various Seventh Day Adventist organizations with a stake or role in higher education but that specific purpose does not detract from its broader value as a resource.  It may very well be the best of the shorter resources currently available, and in fact contains much valuable discussion that is not addressed in SCUP’s own similar resource.  It is very well organized and presents the environmental context as well as an overview of practices in the strategic process itself.  Also of interest is Luxton’s description of several examples of strategies and objectives with associated timelines for implementation.  Overlook the specific organizational purpose of this church-commissioned primer and find its extensive value on a more generalized level.

"Digital Faculty:  Professors, Teaching and Technology, 2012"
by I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman with Doug Lederman and Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Education; BABSON Survey Research Group

This study presents and evaluates a large amount of data drawn from numerous surveys and research efforts in the subject area and offers conclusions on the influence and utility of digital resources in higher education.  The authors conclude that while the digital revolution is being felt as a determinant force in American college and university classrooms, it is not yet given the same scholarly value as printed material in the academy.  In a related arena, the authors also study the notion and growth of for-profit education and similarly offer data-driven conclusions on the comfort (or discomfort) for this construct evinced by faculty and leaders in traditional higher education.  The authors’ discussion informs our strategic planning process as it summarizes the influence of contemporary societal trends in higher education that must be addressed by responsible leadership in a meaningful manner. 

"Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012"
by I Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman with Doug Lederman and Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Education; BABSON Survey Research Group 

Like “Digital Faculty,” summarized above, this paper address attitudes and practices related to the contemporary genre of online education and its likely future impact on higher education.  Using survey-driven data, the authors’ analyze current trends in online educational practices and also faculty attitudes about its various aspects and outcomes—including its validity as a medium for rigorous educational practices.  This article informs our strategic planning process as it addresses the current state of what is often portrayed by popular media as a future normative forum for higher education—the on-line classroom. 

For access to these next two resources, “The Geography of Trust” and the “The Enemies of Trust,” please see Ms. Lyrae Williams, President’s Office, for copies already purchased and produced through Harvard Business Review:

"The Geography of Trust"
by Saj-Nicle Joni
Harvard Business Review 

Joni outlines different types of trust and the people who become actors in their negotiation.  Perhaps the author’s most important point is that in order to create high structural trust, organizations should consult "strong outside advisers [that] provide leaders with a resource that their organizations cannot. They supply a kind of 'outside insight' that inoculates leaders against myopia."  Consulting "3rd opinion" parties may translate to a helpful resource for the Strategic Plan, even if in the form of associated constituencies such as neighborhood groups or representatives from local foundations.  Such audiences may offer Colorado College more creative insights into the process because they are not daily participants in our cultural fabric and thus may harbor fewer preconceived notions of the future.  

"The Enemies of Trust"
By Robert Galford and Anne Siebold Drapeau
Harvard Business Review 

“The Enemies of Trust” presents a helpful discussion of problems that grow from an institution losing its constituents’ trust and also offers remedies for such a situation. Institutional characteristics that heighten distrust include 1) inconsistent messages, 2) inconsistent standards, and 3) misplaced benevolence.  Additionally, the authors warn against several individual and small-group practices that can create an atmosphere of mistrust in the workplace, creating barriers to a positive and effective culture.  Although only indirectly related to our strategic process, “Enemies of Trust” may provide thoughtful review as Colorado College embraces a very broad community in the strategic planning conversation.

"Effective Meeting Powerpoint"
The information is summarized from a presentation by Dr. Ruth Johnston (University of Washington) at a meeting of the Western Association of College & University Business Officers (WACUBO) hosted by the Business Management Institute at UC–Santa Barbara, Aug 2006.

This is a short slideshow that offers reminders and tips on planning and executing effective meetings. This might be helpful not only for committees as they seek productivity on an ambitious timeline, but also for participants as they move to begin meeting with various constituent groups. The content certainly is not prescriptive, but rather meant only to offer tips and thoughts that might be of some help. 

A Few Reminders for Outreach Meetings 

"Symbols Matter, Reality Doesn't"
Michael Rizzo, an economics professor at a recognizable private research university, offers a provocative thought-piece that questions the manner in which many decisions in contemporary higher education are made--seemingly absent of reasonable accountability.  He bemoans  “muted feedback mechanisms, multiple stakeholders, opaque output, and the accreditation process” as obstacles to more effective efforts to improve higher education; despite the best intentions of those involved.  Rizzo ends the piece with a pessimistic forecast that progressive change from within academia is unlikely.  This article highlights the challenges of achieving truly effective change while imploring us to reject actions that follow a sector-wide path toward popular-but-hollow standards of success.  This warning underlines our own strategic planning committees’ very important role as they consider, filter and prioritize proposals from a myriad of stakeholders in the development of goals and later initiatives.  Rizzo’s message is worth the quick read.