From adding a new major to changing degree requirements, decisions made regarding learning, teaching, and research reverberate throughout the college or university. Academic planning ensures these decisions work towards your college or university’s envisioned future.
Academic planning glossary in higher education (also known as educational master planning or academic master planning) is planning that outlines a college’s or university’s overall academic goals and how those goals will be met. Academic planning identifies long-term and short-term objectives to match the mission of an institution with the needs of learners.
Academic planning usually answers four basic questions:
At some institutions, these decisions are documented in an academic plan. Even if an institution doesn’t have a formal academic plan, academic planning takes place when working on:
Academic planning allows a higher education institution to:
Academic planning often has explicit links to other plans and initiatives in the institution, including:
When viewed as a solely independent process, academic planning can be seen as the purview of only a few campus stakeholders. Integrated planning, with its emphasis on relationships, organizational alignment, and engagement of all stakeholders, helps to alleviate the problem of exclusivity in the planning process. By incorporating faculty, students, staff, alumni, and external partner points of view into the planning process, academic plans can be better aligned with the learning marketplace and responsive to the needs of learners.
The work of academic planning often utilizes committees. Committees vary greatly in size and composition, but it is important that many different stakeholders are included in the process.
Typically, these plans are created/updated on a three-to-seven-year cycle. While a fixed schedule to review academic plans may be wise to have in place, there is a need for plans to be dynamic and able to respond to short-term environmental changes, including:
Depending on the institution’s culture and history with planning, academic planning can take a top-down or bottom-up approach.
In the top-down approach, an institution’s top academic leadership develops a strategy and then works with the academic leadership of individual units/programs to create specific plans for specific disciplines.
In the bottom-up approach, individual unit/program plans are combined with other unit/program plans to create one unified plan for the institution.
Regardless of the approach, academic planning requires:
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