Strategic Planning Process Overview

During academic year 2016-17, the University at Albany is conducting in a comprehensive and highly collaborative strategic planning process that engages the university community, extends the five areas of strategic focus,and develops a strategic planning framework that will guide strategic activities and help align and focus the university’s efforts.

The planning process will build on five broad strategies that have been UAlbany’s top priorities for the last few years:

  1. Expanding degree-­granting programs.
  2. Increasing enrollment, including attracting more out-­of-­state and international students.
  3. Deepening the University’s public engagement.
  4. Strengthening the University’s financial resources.
  5. Enhancing the student experience.

The planning process is led by a steering committee co-chaired by Provost James Stellar and Chief of Staff Leanne Wirkkula and supported by planning consultant Robert Brodnick. The process uses a design thinking approach that comprises four stages (design – diverge – converge – align). These four distinct but highly interdependent stages allow for broad engagement and input. The following graphic depicts the timeline for planning and highlights key activities along the way::

Image of the Strategic Planning Process Overview

The process begins in the fall semester with the formation of the steering committee (activity 1) and the launch of a faculty-led effort to generate futuring papers exploring the future of the disciplines as well as several cross­cutting topics (activity 2). This activity will shed light on the current and potential future forces acting on the institution. With final papers in hand, the SPSC will review the materials, extract main themes, and summarize the results. This activity will launch on September 9 with a Futuring Workshop and conclude in early October.

During fall 2016 in the divergent thinking phase, the SPSC will meet bi­weekly (activity 3) to review important materials and prepare for a collaborative ideation event (activity 4) that will allow the university community to come together to explore and extend the opportunities to generate a large number of big ideas. Planning activities will pause over the winter break

A series of working sessions with key leadership groups will be held in January (activity 5) to explore the best big ideas identified in divergence and make early choices about the best expeditions to pursue. A broader, collaborative event will occur in February (activity 6) with the SPSC, additional key leaders, and other involved parties to build the initial expedition maps and establish the strategic framework. Expedition Working Groups generate expedition maps to guide action on specific strategic topics, they exist as needed for a portion of the planning timeline. Strategic Planning Steering Committee members and the chairs of the Expedition Working Groups collaborate on the drafting of the strategic documents.

During spring 2017, the SPSC will meet more frequently, actively engaged in converging on key ideas and crafting strategies. A subset of the SPSC will develop and draft (activity 7) early versions of the strategic documents for review by the full SPSC and eventually the broader University community. As action plans begin to emerge, multiple expedition mapping workshops (activity 8) will help augment the strategic documents with high resolution expedition maps and draft action plans. The final strategic documents will be drafted for further input and review before final endorsement (activity 9).