As a result of our strategic planning efforts, we know that our ultimate goals are rooted in student success and the development of knowledge.  Goals are destinations.  To reach them requires the ability to traverse a landscape of challenges.  Demographically, economically, technologically, socially, and politically that landscape is changing rapidly.  Developing environmental scans for the institution as a whole and for individual planning units will help us navigate it successfully.

Universities as well as non-profit and government agencies have found environmental scans to be useful tools for guiding multi-year planning.  A thoughtful, well-researched environmental scan can identify issues of concern and provide a head start in meeting the challenges of the future.  We intend to use the recommendations derived from the environmental scans to build a framework that will allow us to extend our core budgetary and strategic planning out three to five years.

At the University level, a presidentially appointed team of 9 faculty and staff will conduct a scan for the institution.  To allow for the type of concentrated effort that will produce a scan capable of playing a role in our multi-year planning, the team must be small and therefore cannot be fully representative.  Nevertheless, constituent input is important.  The team will conduct a series of interviews with constituent groups over the course of the next 6 months.  It will also seek out “local” university as well as external experts in particular areas for advice and analysis.  The team will share its environmental scan and its initial recommendations with the University community by October 1 whereupon additional feedback will be sought.

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