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Planning for Higher Education Journal

Transform the Program Strategy, Transform the College

Journal Cover
From Volume 45 Number 1 | October–December 2016
By Ronnie L. Booth, Galen DeHay
Planning Types: Academic Planning

Tri-County Technical College in northwestern South Carolina developed a proactive academic program strategy to determine which programs will be offered in the future, including where, how, and when. The process also evaluates which existing programs will be maintained or grown. Business and industry have long used product strategies to determine what will be delivered to market to best meet consumer needs; similarly, Tri-County created a program strategy to be more responsive in meeting employer and community needs. The approach is necessarily nimble, responding to labor market changes, political interests, governance assessment requirements, and the need for continuous program improvement. Using this proactive approach, academic programming decisions can strategically impact curriculum design, enrollment management, learner support and engagement, student transitions programming, and facilities design. Processes and tools were co-created by faculty and staff and incorporated into their roles, negating the need for initial buy-in. Overall, an effective program strategy improves both student access and success while helping the college be more nimble in meeting emerging labor market needs.

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