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Learning Resources

Where planning comes together. T​he power of SCUP is its community. We learn from one another, sharing how we’ve achieved success and, maybe more importantly, what we’ve learned from failure. SCUP authors, produces, and curates thousands of resources to help you prepare for the future, overcome challenges, and bring planning together at your college or university.

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Webinar Recordings

Published
November 15, 2021

Higher Education Business Models Under Stress, Part 1

Board Oversight of Finance and the Business Model: Key Indicators and Trends for Scenario Planning and Stress Testing

Join a panel discussion on business model transformation moderated by Verne Sedlacek, vice board chair of Valparaiso University with guest panelists Melody Rose, coauthor of AGB’s new book, Higher Education Business Models Under Stress, and AGB consultants Carlton Brown and Larry Ladd, experts in higher education budgeting, finance, and strategic planning.
Abstract: Securing financial viability requires an engaged board that is monitoring the right trends and campus indicators, asking the right questions of campus leaders about the institution’s finances, and doing the scenario planning and stress testing necessary to transform a business model under stress.

The governing board’s fiduciary duty to steward the institution’s financial health requires that boards and leaders consider business model transformations, and plan for a range of scenarios like mergers, affiliations, strategic partnerships, and even—when all other options are exhausted—final transformations such as campus closures when continued mission fulfillment is impossible.

This is part one of a two-part webinar series delivered in partnership between SCUP and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), “Higher Education Business Models Under Stress: Planning for Successful Transitions”. This series will help build your fiduciary understanding of your institution’s business model as you prepare the campus for a range of possible business transformations, from mergers, strategic affiliations, corporate partnerships, or even the ultimate scenario of a campus closure. View the recording for part two, “Graceful Business Model Transitions: Planning and Executing a College or Campus Closure”.

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Planning for Higher Education Journal

Published
November 5, 2021

The Integrated Triad

Apply the Three Time Horizons Perspective to Planning and Governance

An integrated model of three horizons, three areas of planning, and three types of governance is presented as a framework for institutional leadership.

From Volume 50 Number 1 | October–December 2021

Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world of higher education. As institutions look to the future, beyond the end of the pandemic, significant uncertainty exists. There is little question that colleges and universities will have to do a better job at planning, and boards at governing, to flourish in the years ahead. In this article an integrated model centered around three different time horizons, three areas of planning, and three types of governance is presented. The model can serve as a framework to demonstrate how these are all related, self-reinforcing, and usable as an aid for institutional leadership.

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Conference Recordings

Published
July 16, 2021

2020 Foresight

Scenario Planning in the Age of Pandemic

In this presentation, we'll demonstrate a step by step how-to for you to apply on your own campus with a vivid description of deliverables, tools, and 'gotchas.'
Abstract: The disruptive nature of a post-COVID world provides the perfect opportunity for institutions to use scenario planning as a tool to navigate through an uncertain future. Scenario planning is especially useful for communicating external and internal trends and bridging a discussion between the most recent visioning exercise and transition. In this presentation, we'll demonstrate a step by step how-to for you to apply on your own campus with a vivid description of deliverables, tools, and 'gotchas.'

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Tool

Published
October 2, 2020

An Integrated Approach to Scenario Planning

Recovery Planning in a Volatile Environment: Part 1

No one can predict the future. That doesn’t mean it needs to be a total surprise. This toolkit will walk you step-by-step through scenario planning with instructions, examples, and worksheets that you can use to start scenario planning at your institution immediately.
Abstract: The pace of change is getting faster, and it’s getting harder to anticipate what the future holds—and how your institution can prepare. Scenario planning can help your institution plan for a volatile and uncertain future. Scenario planning uses today’s forces and trends to imagine probable futures and what they could mean for your institution. It’s a flexible process that can inform your institution’s regular planning processes or be used as part of recovery planning in response to disruptions or catastrophic events.

An Integrated Approach to Scenario Planning is a toolkit that will walk you step-by-step through scenario planning. It includes instructions, examples, and blank worksheets that you can use to start scenario planning at your institution immediately. Don’t let your college or university get blindsided. Download your copy and prepare for the future.

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Webinar Recordings

Published
July 15, 2020

Developing a Nimble and Change-Ready Planning Culture

Panelists Nick Santilli from SCUP and Larry Squarini and Tony Adam from SPOL discuss how integrated planning can help develop a robust culture and take a deep dive into strategic, operational, continuity, and scenario planning.

This is part three of the series, “Planning in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Reviving Your Strategic Planning Process.”

Abstract: This is the third in a series of complimentary, interactive webinars, “Planning in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Reviving Your Strategic Planning Process,” hosted by SCUP in partnership with SPOL focusing on planning for the new normal and beyond.

Our panel of experts discusses how integrated planning can help develop a robust culture and take a deep dive into strategic, operational, continuity, and scenario planning.

Recorded July 15, 2020.
Moderator: Mike Moss, President, SCUP.

This video recording is a member-only resource.
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Webinar Recordings

Published
July 15, 2020

Coffee Chat: Tracking the External Environment

The SCUP Spring Trends Report

Join Nick Santilli and Jim Downey for a conversation that will highlight the SCUP Spring Trends and SCUP Trends for Canada reports. Scanning the external environment is a key factor in keeping your institution nimble and change-ready—two facets necessary for effective institutional planning. These documents are essential tools for strategic planning, scenario planning, and contingency planning.
Abstract: Join Nick Santilli and Jim Downey for a conversation that will highlight the SCUP Spring Trends and SCUP Trends for Canada reports. Scanning the external environment is a key factor in keeping your institution nimble and change-ready—two facets necessary for effective institutional planning. These documents provide overviews of the important external forces that impact institutional operations. They are also essential tools for strategic planning, scenario planning, and contingency planning.

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Webinar Recordings

Published
June 17, 2020

That Didn’t Go As Planned

Reflections on Institutional Change During a Pandemic

Panelists Nick Santilli from SCUP and Larry Squarini and Tony Adam from SPOL discuss how institutions are living through the pivot and how scenario planning can fuel recovery.

This is the first installment of the series, “Planning in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Reviving Your Strategic Planning Process.”

Abstract: Planning in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Reviving Your Strategic Planning Process, hosted by SCUP in partnership with SPOL focusing on planning for the new normal and beyond. In this episode, our experts discuss how institutions are living through the pivot and how scenario planning can fuel recovery.

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Webinar Recordings

Published
April 24, 2020

Coffee Chat: Scenario Planning

Jim Downey, VP for planning and institutional effectiveness at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and Chris McCord, acting executive VP and provost, Northern Illinois University, moderated this Coffee Chat on Scenario Planning.
Abstract: Jim Downey, VP for planning and institutional effectiveness at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and Chris McCord, acting executive VP and provost, Northern Illinois University, moderated this Coffee Chat on Scenario Planning.

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Planning for Higher Education Journal

Published
October 1, 2009

University Strategic Planning and the Foresight/Futures Approach

An Irish Case Study

Dublin City University has taken the lead in Ireland in terms of its emphasis on strategic planning. Its 2005–2008 strategic plan, Leadership Through Foresight, was part of an ambitious foresight exercise that was aimed at informing subsequent strategic cycles. This article reports on this process in the context of the wider literature examining the value of foresight/futures thinking as applied to universities.

From Volume 38 Number 1 | October–December 2009

Abstract: The contemporary university operates within a global context characterized by ever-increasing uncertainty and complexity. Strategic planning must, therefore, be cognizant of future trends and how those trends will affect the university by creating both threats and opportunities. Our hypothesis is that an approach we refer to as “strategic foresight” can provide us with the tools, methodology, and process to creatively address uncertainty and complexity in our working environment. Dublin City University has taken the lead in Ireland in terms of its emphasis on strategic planning. Its 2005–2008 strategic plan, Leadership Through Foresight, was part of an ambitious foresight exercise that was aimed at informing subsequent strategic cycles. This article reports on this process in the context of the wider literature examining the value of foresight/futures thinking as applied to universities. The article commences with a review of current uncertainties and complexities in the current operating environment. It broadly outlines foresight/futures thinking and then examines universities specifically. It continues by focusing on Dublin City University’s foresight exercise as an example of how foresight operates in practice. Finally, the article concludes by exploring what a strategic foresight approach to planning might look like based on that experience.

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Planning for Higher Education Journal

Published
September 1, 2004

Using Scenarios and Simulations to Plan Colleges

Higher education institutions can benefit from constructing and using multiple future scenarios and simulations during strategic planning. One method of scenario planning to create visions of potential futures is presented, with a case study from the College of the Desert.

From Volume 33 Number 1 | September–November 2004

Abstract: Using a case study, this article describes a method by which higher education institutions construct and use multiple future scenarios and simulations to plan strategically: to create visions of their futures, chart broad directions (mission and goals), and select learning and delivery strategies so as to achieve those broad directions. The four scenarios described in this article are written by combining two assumed “external” sets of future trends and conditions with two “internal” sets of institutional policies. Simulation of future college enrollment under each scenario enables planners not only to mitigate uncertainty and explore implications of different numbers of students but also to analyze the characteristics of these students to design educational content and delivery that is learning centered and, therefore, likely to be effective. The simulations also frame fiscal issues for a broad range of future conditions, thereby alerting planners to long-range strategies and options such as distance learning, partnering, and differential pricing, among others, that might not otherwise have been pursued.

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