Strategic Planning FAQ

Have questions about Albion’s strategic planning process? Here is the place you will find answers to our most frequently asked questions.

How will the strategic planning process build on the planning sessions that have already taken place? Toggle Accordion

The Strategic Planning Committee has reviewed and synthesized all feedback from both the survey and virtual strategic planning session that took place in January 2021. We know that the process launched in January 2021 was not sufficient to guide a thorough strategic planning process. However, the information gathered will serve as a foundation for the committee and prove critical to the process moving forward.

Why should I care about the strategic planning process? Toggle Accordion

Albion has a compelling story, and one we need to tell in a way that will motivate individuals, partners, and key stakeholders to engage in our work and participate in implementation. We need to speak to the kind of institution we are now and intend to be in a way that is meaningful yet concise enough for members of our community to easily understand the role they play in it and how they belong. 

Operationally, the strategic planning process will create a framework for: 

  1. Providing the community an opportunity to set their north star, a new horizon we want to move toward together in our journey; 
  2. Developing a shared set of common commitments and strategies around we can organize our community life, learning and work; 
  3. Building capacity to mark our progress toward the new horizon through assessable goals; and
  4. Informing the community as we allocate resources and guide investment toward achieving our shared goals.

How will we know that the strategic plan is being translated into concrete action? Toggle Accordion

The College will tie the work of the plan to the budget cycle to assess the effectiveness of our leveraging funds towards accomplishing our goals. We will create a mechanism that will be used for reporting progress towards goals at the college, division, and unit levels. We will create key performance indicators (KPIs) and track our progress toward reaching them through the plan’s implementation period.

How will input be solicited? Toggle Accordion

Albion College initiated early engagement work in spring 2021 and will use various input mechanisms as it continues to engage students, alumni, faculty, staff, board members, community partners, neighbors of the college, local employers and school districts. We want to be sure — to the extent feasible, given the urgency of the moment — that we provide a diversity of mechanisms that give everyone an opportunity to have a say in our future. The strategic planning process is designed to solicit input by efficiently leveraging the governance processes of the College, targeted interviews and focus groups, surveys and other feedback strategies.

Opportunities for participation will be offered at all key stages of the planning process: mission, values and initial ideas; goals and strategic imperatives, objectives; and tactics. If you believe you have not had an opportunity to provide input, please contact a member of the Strategic Planning Committee or submit input using our feedback form.

How will the plan be developed? Toggle Accordion

The strategic planning process began with several strategic visioning sessions with campus stakeholders in the spring of 2021 through both a survey format and a day of virtual discussions. These initial feedback conversations gave us broad input with which to frame our planning process. This summer, elected faculty and staff representatives joined student participants on a Strategic Planning Committee. 

The committee will develop a SWOT analysis (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-challenges), an environmental scan of trends, facts, policies, and best practices at the national, regional, and state levels. The committee will distill key themes from the various sources of information and input strategies to solicit additional input into direction(s) and imperatives. Once these have gone through collective input and iteration the committee will draft strategic actions which serve as the heart of the plan. 

When will the plan be completed? Toggle Accordion

The mission, values, strategic imperatives, and some key illustrative strategic actions will be presented to the Board of Trustees in October of 2021. A final and fully realized plan will be presented to the Board for adoption in May of 2022 and will include the development of strategic actions, metrics, and a congruent budget strategy. 

Following adoption, the campus academic and administrative units will be tasked with developing and refining tactical strategies to support implementation along with unit-level measures for success. We expect significant participation in the process, representative of all of Albion’s constituencies, and this will help us answer the following types of questions: What makes Albion distinctive? What would you like to celebrate at Albion? What do we expect to have as our pillars of distinction?

What about my idea? Toggle Accordion

We want to hear from you and have set up this process to solicit as much input as feasible. You may offer feedback that does not make its way into the plan, but your feedback may spark other ideas to come to the fore, create focus in prioritization, or force tough decisions due to competing priorities or budgetary constraints.

This is inevitable in any collaborative and participatory planning process and the ideas that do not make their way to the finish line are often critically important to informing the end result. We ask you to share your dreams and aspirations for Albion, your ideas for action, trust those chosen to represent your respective areas, and allow the collaborative and participatory process to do its work.

What are the overarching goals of the Strategic Planning Process? Toggle Accordion

The goals of the strategic planning process will be to:

  1. Identify themes that contribute to a concept of organizational excellence. Examples might be (a) organizational excellence; (b) infrastructure; (c) constituent outreach and engagement; (d) innovation and social enterprise; and (e) brand recognition and excellence.
  2. Present a strategic plan to the board in the October meeting that includes the following:
    • Articulation of a new Mission and Vision
    • Identification and articulation of the 5-7 key strategies that will guide decision-making for the next several years.
    • Identification and articulation of 5-7 key measurable objectives for each strategy 
    • Identification and articulation of 3-5 tactical approaches we will implement against each of those objectives.
    • Branding and Messaging Implications Assessment
  3. Articulate the following in an Operational Plan after October:
    • Budgeting implications of the SP and prioritization as part of the annual budget process
    • Organizational “owners” of SP elements
    • Annual process and outcome metrics against each strategy
    • Annual process and outcome metrics against each objective
    • Global SP – KPI Metrics Dashboard
    • Implementation Calendar

What is the role of the Strategic Planning Committee? Toggle Accordion

The strategic planning committee will have two main roles: (1) to provide leadership in drafting and reviewing plan documents, and (2) to help facilitate widespread communication about and revision of plan documents in dialogue with campus and community stakeholders. In its leadership role, the committee will review trends in the higher education landscape, contribute original ideas, and identify strategic priorities. In its facilitating role committee members will help to design and implement ideation sessions and interviews with students, staff, faculty, trustees, and community members.

What is the life cycle of the plan? Toggle Accordion

Some organizations have three- or five-year strategic plans. We expect Albion’s Strategic Plan will be a rolling plan with a five-year horizon. It will be a living document under constant review and revision. Each year, we will publicize the plan’s progress and revisions. A dashboard highlighting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be created to assess the progress toward our goals and ensure this is transparent and accessible to the community.

How will we ensure this plan is a living document, and it’s not just put on a shelf? Toggle Accordion

The Strategic Planning process and ultimately the Plan itself will invite, encourage, and expect participation and collaboration among all constituencies. Everyone who works for Albion College supports the campus, or partners with us will own a piece of the Strategic Plan and the vision it sets forward for our community. It is up to each and every one of us to be highly engaged, constructive in feedback, and supportive of its implementation, assessment, and continual revision.


What can I do to make this plan meaningful to me and my area? Toggle Accordion

Participate! Listen openly, speak up, be constructive in feedback, hear what others think is important in the community, and encourage peers and colleagues to get involved. 

As you hear stakeholders in our community articulate their priorities, begin to think about how this relates to your area of responsibility. Consider how you will enhance, revise, and align your work to meet the plan. It will be important to keep in mind that projects that reflect work toward college goals and strategies will likely be what is given the highest priority when it comes to support and funding. We all need to move in one direction to achieve success once our strategic plan has been distilled from our work together as a community.

Don’t see your question here? Use our strategic plan input form to submit feedback, questions and ideas.