In higher education, we are ambitious. There is so much we want to do for our students, our community, and the world. Colleges and universities have so many talented faculty, staff, and students, each dreaming big and making plans to get there. Now imagine those plans working together toward the same vision. That’s what integrated planning does—it supercharges your institution’s strengths. When higher education leaders collaborate across boundaries, when stakeholders articulate a vision of the future and work toward it, when planning becomes part of your culture (and not just a one-time event), then you can unleash the promise and potential of higher education.
Integrated planning is a sustainable approach to planning that builds relationships, aligns the organization, and emphasizes preparedness for change.
Integrated planning isn’t a process—there’s no single way to do integrated planning in higher education. Rather, it’s a framework that can be used to develop more effective planning processes.
Integrated planning engages all sectors of the academy—academic affairs, student affairs, business and finance, campus planning, IT, communications, development, etc. Integrated planning involves all stakeholders—faculty, students, staff, alumni, and external partners—to work together toward a common vision.
Integrated planning aligns efforts both vertically (from mission to on-the-ground operations) and horizontally (across schools, departments, offices, and processes).
Integrated planning is:
Integrated planning helps higher education institutions achieve their mission more effectively. It creates consensus on an institution’s priorities and moves the entire community toward the same vision. Integrated planning ensures each goal has the necessary resources to be achieved, and that efforts will be measured so strategies can be course-corrected. It helps institutions coordinate across divisions, create efficiencies, and look to the future.
Further, each institution has its own rhythms, processes, mandates, and expectations. Integrated planning respects that. It adheres to rhythms so more stakeholders can give input and feedback into the plan. It aligns to the processes so plan decisions are made in time to inform resource allocation. It is aware of mandates so compliance is built in to goals and strategies. And it respects expectations so stakeholders are inspired and motivated by the plan.
To incorporate integrated planning practices and solutions, look at your institution’s:
That depends on the scale of the planning effort and how ready the institution is for change. Ideally, integrated planning is led by institutional leadership with support from unit leadership. If an institution isn’t there yet, though, integrated planning solutions can be adopted by a single unit, committee, or planning team.
At any time. Integrated planning practices can be incorporated into an ongoing planning process or used to start a smaller plan or initiative.