The university faced extraordinary changes in the characteristics of its students and its mission, and the policy environment of its administrative decision making. That context and the strategic planning process undertaken by its leadership to guide rather than react to the changes are outlined. The campus adminstration had three major tasks: (1) to stimulate a more open dialogue about the university's future; (2) to plan a major external grant to ensure an institutional focus rather than a disciplinary one; and (3) to link the institution's academic program review, regional accreditation self-study, and state-mandated strategic planning to campus perceptions of critical issues and the external grant agency's criteria. The planning and evaluation center coordinated and strengthened the university's institutional responses to various external agencies by convincing the campus of the intrinsic value of such a planning process for faculty, students, and staff and by implementing a participatory process for their involvment and contribution to its new direction. The university's model and inital outcomes are described. The approach and exeriences should be relevant for other commuter institutions that are attempting to address issues of accountability and academic excellence for "non-traditional" students.
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