Strategic Planning

Careful strategic planning can greatly aid a department or program as it embarks on V&C reform. There is no one-size-fits-all template for V&C strategic planning given the immense variety of institutions, departments, programs and their needs. Nevertheless, a general path for strategic planning has emerged from discussions among a variety of PULSE community members and V&C Fellows. We suggest the following general template for developing a strategic plan that can serve as a powerful motivational and recruitment tool for institutional stakeholders.

Path to Developing a Strategic Plan for V&C Implementation in Your Department or Program:

  1. Conduct a thorough department/program evaluation relative to V&C recommendations using the
    PULSE Self Assessment Rubrics.

  2. Based on #1, establish departmental goals that align with V&C goals.
  3. Align departmental goals (#2) with institutional goals (demonstrate to all institutional stakeholders the benefits of V&C).
  4. Develop a plan to accomplish departmental goals establsished in #3 (e.g. specific curricular reforms).
  5. Develop enabling mechanisms to implement the #4 plan (e.g. technical support staff, resources, equipment, faculty development, incentives, etc.).
  6. Prioritize enabling mechanisms and prepare a detailed financial plan for funding the #5 enabling mechanisms, including funding from both intra- and extramural agencies.
  7. Plan metrics for achieving goals and plan both short and long term assessment mechanisms for these metrics.
  8. Prepare clear and detailed presentations of the Strategic Plan (including information of #1-7), both written and oral, and arrange appropriate venues for presentation of the plan to departments/staff/administrators, seeking advice and input from all relevant stakeholders.
  9. Revise Plan and arrange follow-up meetings to seek support and committment, including financial support, from all relevant stakeholders.
  10. Implement as much of the V&C Strategic Plan as possible in a stepwise fashion, based on careful prioritization of enabling mechanisms (#6).
  11. Assess the impact of any V&C reforms on student retention, learning, etc..


1. A Strategic Planning Primer for Higher Education (Alexandra L. Lerner). This article, although intended to frame university-wide strategic planning, has useful tips that can be applied to departmental strategic planning. It provides an overview of the strategic planning process. It is intended to help you understand the concept of strategic planning, the need for strategy in higher education, and the dynamics of the university-based strategic planning. It includes a brief history of strategic planning, emerging challenges in higher education, basic models and steps of a strategic
planning process, adapting strategic planning to unique needs of higher education, and a look into the strategic planning at the California State University system. A glossary of terms and an annotated bibliography are included.

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