Strategic Planning Process
Through its strategic planning process, Concord University envisions its future and sets goals to achieve that vision. The strategic plan develops avenues of focus and growth and maps those avenues into a measurable strategic plan. The plan will be a template for the direction and growth of the University for the next five years until 2020.
The strategic planning effort has been accomplished by the Strategic Planning Committee with involvement of the entire campus community. Concord University’s Strategic Planning Committee consists of representatives from the Board of Governors, the administration, the faculty, staff and students. The Committee considered the mission of the University and assessed the collective future vision and goals of the institution to create a plan that effectively outlines the steps needed to achieve that shared future vision. As part of the process, all faculty, staff, and students were given the opportunity to respond to a SWOT survey. This survey asked what members of these constituent groups believe are the University’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Thereafter, the Committee designed an initial draft of a shared future vision of the University and created various scenarios that may be possible foundations for a strategic plan.
A Steering Committee was established and tasked with finalizing the shared future vision and investigating and vetting the scenarios outlined by the full Committee. Building upon the parameters, the University ultimately shaped the following shared future vision:
Concord University will be a distinctive institution serving a larger and more diverse body of students. With a commitment to continued quality, the University will define success in terms of lifelong student success, with a focus on outcomes such as graduation rates/degree production and the achievement of student career, educational and life goals post-graduation.
Programs and services will be offered from a more vibrant main campus, but also from a broader virtual and off-site presence. Advantageous strategic partnerships will be forged to offer quality programs and services.
Finally, Concord will be more financially self-sufficient, able to properly support its high quality programs and services, and to generate resources for investment in its future.
Building upon the shared future vision, the Committee assessed the critical strategic goals Concord needed to consider. These goals focused broadly on four key areas: 1) Demonstrating the University’s value proposition; 2) Deepening its current market; 3) Expanding into new markets; and 4) Enhancing reliance on self-generated resources. In this instance, “value proposition” was defined as clearly identifying how the University can best address the needs expressed by students, parents and other stakeholders. These four goals are captured in Figure 1 below.
To achieve these goals, the Strategic Planning Committee created several scenarios. A narrowed list of scenarios included the following:
Demonstrating Value Proposition
1. “Career Focused Liberal Arts” – This scenario emerged from conversations around Concord’s value proposition. Recognizing the increased demand from students and parents to provide clear opportunities to student goals post-graduation, the Committee discussed creating opportunities for each degree program to expose students to career and post baccalaureate education options beginning in their freshman year or as soon as they transfer to Concord. These opportunities could include mandatory experiential learning requirements for each degree, networking with alumni, and career assessment.
Capturing the Current Market
2. “Seamless Education Pathways” – The Committee felt that a robust future for Concord would likely include strengthened strategic partnerships with area education entities, including K-12, community college and other 4 year public and private providers. These partnerships could include shared services models to reduce cost and increase service levels. In addition, Concord could move beyond mere articulation agreements to create truly integrated educational pathways, allowing students to move fluidly between institutions and complete their undergraduate and graduate experience at Concord. These partnerships may also include graduate institutions, including professional schools that can provide a seamless path for Concord graduates. Finally, the University will increase retention rates as a result of its focus on its value proposition, and the support structures in place at the University.
Expanding Into New Markets
3. “Enhancing the Campus, Expanding the Borders” – This scenario focused on making Concord’s main campus and the surrounding Athens area a more vibrant environment for students, faculty and staff. In addition, the University would look to grow its current market by offering more programing on-campus and in Beckley, and beyond Athens and Beckley via more robust “virtual” offerings.
Enhancing Reliance on Self-Generated Resources
4. “Earn Our Own Way” - Recognizing the current downward trend in State-funding support, the University will need to prepare for a financial future that is more dependent on revenue generated by the University itself. This includes tuition and fees, auxiliary revenue, and fundraising. In addition, the University will likely need to pay more attention to the return on investment from existing resources.
Thereafter, the Steering Committee vetted these scenarios, obtaining input from the full Committee and the campus community at large. The Steering Committee began the process of drilling down more deeply on each scenario to perform its due diligence. This included collecting relevant data, conducting viability testing, and developing tactics.
The Steering Committee periodically reported back to the full Committee. Throughout the entire process, the campus community was kept apprised of the Committee’s activities and had an opportunity for input through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, through their constituent representatives on the Committee or through the Committee Chair, and through campus meetings. This three tiered approach of planning by the Committee, vetting by the Steering Committee with input from the campus community will distill the most pertinent information and bring it forward for assessment and consideration for the Plan.
Ultimately, a new strategic plan will be written and presented to the University’s Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission for approval. It is anticipated that the plan will be drafted by September of 2014 and will be subsequently presented to the Board and the HEPC.
To view Concord’s current mission statement click HERE
To view Concord’s 2009-2014 Strategic Plan click HERE