President's Monthly Reports
July - August, 2017
I would be surprised if at least some of us, some of the time, did not harbor this attitude toward strategic planning. We have seen or been a part of “the process,” producing a document that then sat on our collective shelves for the next five years, and thought, “What’s the point?” And, of course, there is no point if planning is not followed up with action. “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work,” Peter Drucker writes, and it is the hard work of connecting plans with strategic objectives and the resources to accomplish them that is our focus this summer.
It is the hard work of connecting plans with strategic objectives and the resources to accomplish them that is our focus this summer.
As in previous summers, we at LBCC are engaged in a series of sequential planning retreats, designed to move our planning progressively from the ground level of this past year’s performance, all the way up to 30,000 feet of our mission and overarching goals, and then back down to the firm ground of action for the year to come. Starting with the annual report on progress made on this past year’s Strategic Objectives (aka: my May President’s Report), then adding to that MERIT’s review of LBCC’s performance related to our Mission and Core Themes and VICE’s assessment of our efforts to embody and employ our Values in our daily work, we develop a pretty good understanding of our current status, progress made, and progress still to be made. From there, the Executive Team, Leadership Team, and then the Board use this input to formulate the next iteration of Strategic Objectives for the year to come. “Finally,” the various Innovation Councils use these new Strategic Objectives to help define their action plans for the year to come, the next iteration of a sustained “forward look” toward the attainment of our long term goals. But, or course, there is no such thing as “finally” in this model of continuous improvement, a continuous loop of iterative plans of action toward our Strategic Goals and Mission fulfillment.
All this is “Business as Usual” for the summers at LBCC. What’s different for us this year is the development of a more comprehensive and multi-year Strategic Plan. Time management author and speaker Alan Lakein writes, “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now,” and this is the goal of our Strategic Planning efforts.
This initial Linn-Benton Community College Strategic Plan is a bit unique in that, Instead of creating new goals or objectives, this Plan brings together the various more focused planning efforts already developed across the college to create a more comprehensive and multi-year plan that is more directly connected to resources and to institution-level goals. Our Strategic Plan fills a gap between the college’s Strategic Goals and annual iterations of Strategic Objectives that we come to use to pursue them. The graphic below help to illustrate the “nested” relationship between all of our planning documents and efforts.
Considered together – as they must be – these various documents create an integrated “Plan” for LBCC that is both aspirational enough to be durable and detailed enough to take action and measure our progress.
As we prepare for our review over the summer and then approval of the LBCC Strategic Plan in September, I ask that you consider the following:
- While the Strategic Goals do not need to change, the metric for these Goals do. I anticipate that the proposed new metrics will look something like this:
- Based on the VFA 3-year (and 6-year?) completion data:
- 50% combined degree/certificate Completion + successful Transfer
- Graduation demographics (gender, high school, race, income) match "under 18" demographic for our district per the US Census
- No change in metric (i.e. employment success and/or success at a subsequent 4-yr institution) but we will need more reliable data than the self-reporting method currently relied on (Dept of Employment/PRISM and State D4A data system)
- The Strategic Plan will need to be focused on program-level goals that are actionable and achievable. Currently, the identified set of 5–year Goals are:
- Establish an educational experience that is increasingly designed around the student and for the student’s success by fully implementing Guided Pathways
- Establish facilities that support and enhance the teaching-learning experience by completing:
- Bond Projects
- Seismic Retrofits
- Facilities Master Plan
- Emergency/Safety Master Plan
- CTE Expansion and Upgrades
- Health Occupations
- Integrated and Intentional Internship/Cooperative Work Experience programs and employer partnerships
- Employee Recruiting and Hiring Practices
- Student Recruitment
- “Bringing All of Ourselves to Work” (Self-Inclusion and Inclusion as a Community)
- Freedom of Expression Policy and its importance in maintaining a Rich Learning Environment
- Integrated Student Financial Assistance
- Open Educational Resources
- District-wide “Collective Impact” strategies employed to make college more equitably “affordable” to all in the LBCC District
I am so very grateful to be a part of an institution whose mission is so noble and necessary that the work of strategic planning seems anything but meaningless!