Integrated Planning

    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.

What is higher education integrated planning?

Integrated planning is a sustainable approach to planning that builds relationships, aligns the organization, and emphasizes preparedness for change.

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. SCUP’s Stakeholder Analysis and Engagement Toolkit will provide recommendations and worksheets to help you analyze your stakeholders and determine how to meaningfully engage them in the planning process.

Integrated planning aligns efforts both vertically (from mission to on-the-ground operations) and horizontally (across schools, departments, offices, and processes).

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. SCUP has developed the SCUP Integrated Planning Model that will help you understand how to get from goals to implementation.

4 Outcomes of Integrated Planning in Higher Education

  • Sustainable: With this approach, you build a culture of planning that is durable and brings focus to institutional progress and student success.
  • Collaborative: Integrated planning engages stakeholders so that everyone with a stake in the institution is invested in the success of the institution.
  • Aligned: Integrated planning aligns efforts across the institution: up, down, and sideways. It links planning to resource allocation and to assessment, so goals and initiatives have the resources they need to be achieved and progress can be measured.
  • Change-ready: Institutions with integrated planning processes are poised to respond to a volatile environment. Are you change-ready?

Why should institutions practice integrated planning?

Why Practice Integrated Planning in Higher Education

Integrated planning helps higher education institutions achieve their mission more effectively. (Review and update your mission statement with SCUP’s helpful tool.) 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.

How do you practice integrated planning?

To incorporate integrated planning practices and solutions, look at your institution’s:

  • Practices
    • Are plans and planning efforts linked across the institution? Are planning processes transparent? Do they seek and use stakeholder input throughout the process?
  • Structure
    • Does your institution’s organizational structure align units and departments? Do planning and implementation teams have cross-departmental representation? Is someone in each unit responsible for planning?
  • Culture
    • Does your institution value collaboration, cooperation, and communication across different units? Does everyone know how their day-to-day work contributes to achieving the mission?

Who does integrated planning?

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.

When is integrated planning done?

At any time. Integrated planning practices can be incorporated into an ongoing planning process or used to start a smaller plan or initiative. SCUP offers a library of institutional plans and supporting documents submitted by the SCUP community to help you and your institution learn what’s working and how it’s being done.

Need help getting started?

Our integrated planning coaches are standing by to help you make sense of your thorniest problems. They can help you troubleshoot the challenges you’re facing at your institution. Reach out today!