Strategic Planning Overview

“Strategic planning begins with environmental scanning, a process of studying the external environment via newspapers, literature, and periodicals for emerging issues that pose threats or opportunities to an institution. Each issue is then evaluated with regard to its possible impact. The environmental scan and evaluation are combined with the conventional long-range planning process to produce six stages of strategic planning: (1) environmental scanning; (2) evaluation of issues; (3) forecasting; (4) goal setting; (5) implementation; and (6) monitoring” (Morrison et al., 1984). “This model allows for both internal and external issues to be considered during the planning process” (Howel, 2000).

While any strategic planning process needs to respect the specific organizational and contextual conditions of a college, the Consortium for Community College Development (CCCD) at the University of Michigan captured the key dimensions of strategic planning for community colleges in a generic strategic planning model (see figure below).

Strategic Planning at Polk State College

Like all institutions of higher education, Polk State College faces increasing competition, significant demographic changes, rising student/customer expectations, growing accountability mandates, and the familiar funding challenges. Managing growth, while balancing multiple missions and trying to address the many different educational and workforce development needs of the community, requires excellence across all instances of strategic planning.

Without an exceptional strategic framework, it is almost impossible for the College to develop and translate the right plans successfully into action and to develop the necessary organizational capacity for continuous change. To meet the College’s goals and objectives, Polk State’s Planning Council is using the process model shown below to govern its annual planning cycle.