Strategic Planning Guiding Principles
- Phase II. On February 8, 2017, the TU Board of Trustees approved “Phase II,” a 5-year invest-to-grow plan designed to drive enrollment and net tuition revenue through targeted investments in growing existing programs, launching new programs and increasing institutional capacity around marketing, messaging and campaign-related fundraising. If the Phase II model is accurate, the university will enjoy over a 2:1 return on investment. As approval of Phase II investments preceded the drafting of the strategic plan, as well as the vision or TU commitment, the strategic planning committee did not draft against a blank slate but rather incorporated the Phase II investments into the objectives and strategies.
- Timing. The Society of College and University Planning estimates that most university strategic planning takes place over an 18-24 month period. TU’s formal strategic planning process took place over the course of approximately 10 months. The Faculty Senate vision committee was constituted in October 2016, and the strategic planning committee began its work in February 2017. The strategic planning committee solicited community-wide feedback in March 2017 and again in August 2017. Given the university’s challenges, the committee at all times attempted to strike the appropriate balance between expedience and opportunities for stakeholder feedback.
- University-wide Plan. By design, this strategic plan is not organized by college; it is not organized according to the undergraduate/graduate/professional divide; it does not have a separate section for athletics, alumni, Gilcrease, Center for Global Education, etc. This plan conceives of the university as an integrated whole, and it is organized around university-wide measurable (some more than others) objectives. All areas of the university will have to row in the same direction in order to achieve them. The strategic planning committee anticipates that colleges, centers, programs and functional divisions will align their strategic plans with the university’s plan.
- Prioritization of Objectives and Strategies. With one exception, the strategic planning committee did not “rank” the objectives or underlying strategies. The committee unanimously believed that objective one – systematically improving retention and graduation rates – should be the university’s highest priority over the next five years.
- Strategy v. Tactics. The plan is a 5-year strategic plan. The next phase of the strategic planning process will be the development of timelines, dashboards tracking key performance indicators and budgets, focusing in particular on retention rates, programspecific enrollment, program-specific net revenue and progress toward specific capital campaign goals. University leadership will work with the collegiate units and operational divisions to develop business plans to support the objectives and strategies in advance of the university’s next budget cycle.
- “Plan” is a Noun and a Verb. The strategic plan is a living document that will evolve. The strategic planning committee will review the plan annually, including all objectives and strategies, to assess progress and make necessary adjustments to assure that the plan matures in a way that appropriately reflects the landscape and forces impacting the university.