Want to discuss how integrated planning can support the future of your institution?
I’m here to chat:
Get quick, timely problem-solving advice from planning experts with boots-on-the-ground experience. We’re here to help support your institution. Let’s talk!
Get in Touch
Articles from SCUP’s journal are offered to SCUP members only, but we have made these available for free until April 15, 2021.
Southeast Community College (SCC) transformed its departmental planning by embedding a cultural goal within its strategic plan. The goal focused on creating a positive, reflective, inclusive, and transparent institutional climate—through the implementation of departmental FAST goals. That goal type refers to those that are frequently discussed, ambitious, specifically measured, and transparent, which represents an alternative to the commonly used SMART goal-setting approach. This article describes how a change of climate at SCC set the stage for the conversion to FAST goals—and improved engagement in and ownership of strategic and departmental planning.
The current pandemic presents an opportunity to pivot from planning for an unknown future to designing solutions for our “wicked” problems. Results-based strategic design offers tools for an alternative planning process that addresses constraints, constituent needs, experimental solutions, behavior change, and the energy of early adopters.
In an era of heightened accreditation expectations, declining resources, and increasing competition, tools such as integrated planning and budgeting, evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) processes, an overarching continuous quality improvement (CQI) framework, and up-to-date technology solutions for managing planning processes are no longer optional. While Mesa Community College (MCC) has a long history of planning, the integration of planning and budgeting was limited and our planning system was outdated (as in beyond end-of-life outdated). Additionally, planning and budgeting processes lacked EBDM practices and an overarching CQI framework. MCC’s Strategic Planning Committee set about remedying all of these issues and did so within the span of a year.
The community colleges in the State University of New York system leveraged “systemness”—the idea that working together can greatly enhance the possibility of positive results—in creating a statewide program to retrain dislocated TAA-eligible workers and returning veterans for high-quality, high-paying jobs in the skilled manufacturing sector. By aligning with the strengths of each college, curricula in areas such as photonics, optics, advanced manufacturing and machining, and semiconductors and mechatronics were created, leading to a diploma or certification and thus to increased probability of hiring. Regional employers and government workforce agencies were also part of the leadership teams, helping to create programming that was specifically focused on the needs of these vital industries.
Tri-County Technical College in northwestern South Carolina developed a proactive academic program strategy to determine which programs will be offered in the future, including where, how, and when. The process also evaluates which existing programs will be maintained or grown. The approach is necessarily nimble, responding to labor market changes, political interests, governance assessment requirements, and the need for continuous program improvement. Using this proactive approach, academic programming decisions can strategically impact curriculum design, enrollment management, learner support and engagement, student transitions programming, and facilities design. Processes and tools were co-created by faculty and staff and incorporated into their roles, negating the need for initial buy-in.
The Glendale Community College integrated strategic planning model represents a significant paradigm shift at the institution. Rather than focus exclusively on the production of a strategic plan, the college now seeks to vertically integrate planning at the departmental, divisional, and college levels and horizontally integrate planning with resource allocation and assessment across the organization. This disruptive innovation allows the college to remain true to its mission and ensures the allocation of resources to strategic priorities linked to student success.
For many institutions, institutional viability and constituents’ health and wellbeing are the most pressing concerns—strategic plans are no longer top of mind. How to move forward? SCUP suggests that the principles of good planning serve as a blueprint for responding to COVID-19.
The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) unites the best of college and professional planners. We create a range of learning opportunities, from publications to our annual SCUP conference, for our community to share perspectives, resources, best practices, and fresh ideas that move challenges to solutions—building upon a culture of integrated planning.
Integrated planning is a sustainable approach to planning that builds relationships, aligns the organization, and emphasizes preparedness for change. It is a vehicle for achieving, and whether you plan facilities, influence academic direction, or help create your institution’s mission, SCUP can help it all come together.
Where planning comes together.
Nicholas R. Santilli, PhD, serves as the senior director for learning strategy for the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). In this role, he drives the development of learning content for individual practitioners and institutions looking to build the professional competencies of their faculty and staff. He is also the lead for the SCUP Planning Institute, the premier professional development program to create institutional capacity for integrated planning in higher education.
Santilli is a longtime member of SCUP, co-chairing two SCUP annual conferences; serving on the SCUP board of directors for three years (two years as chair); facilitating for the Planning Institute; overseeing the development of the Planning Institute curriculum; and working with the Planning Institute’s Facilitator Corps. He joined the SCUP staff after a 34-year career as a faculty member and administrator in higher education, which included positions in assessment of student learning and development, institutional effectiveness, accreditation, integrated planning, vice president for academic and student affairs, and provost.
Santilli is also a member of the peer reviewer corps for the Higher Learning Commission, the largest regional accrediting body of higher education institutions in the United States. He is a Cleveland native and an avid supporter of all things Cleveland, including the local arts scene, non-profit associations, and sports teams.