Charge to the Steering Committee

The Steering Committee will work with the Consultant, Dr. William Weary, in guiding the development of a plan that will identify several institutional-level goals or objectives for improvement, and 6-8 tasks or projects that the College will complete during the next 3-5 years to achieve those objectives.  The Committee will advise the President during the process, and present a plan for the President’s approval before the end of the 2012-13 academic year.

The plan will build on and refine the central elements of our vision and develop a more operational plan than the vision points have provided.  It will draw on key directions from other planning to continue and extend the College’s upward trajectory.  The planning process and the plan must take into account imperatives for our investment of new tuition revenues that focus on students and their learning and success. Themes from the President’s Inaugural (April 2012) and State of the College addresses (August 2012) will inform these planning efforts.  The Power of SUNY system-level strategic plan and outcomes of our 2011 Middle States re-accreditation process will provide further context and direction.

Members of the Committee are asked to dedicate themselves throughout this process to the best overall interests of the College.  Members reflect the full campus community, and bring that broad perspective to bear on the process.  Members do not represent any constituency – they do not bring messages from, speak for, or report back to any group.  Indeed, meetings and deliberations of the Steering Committee should be treated as confidential.  The Steering Committee is not intended to develop a plan based on its members’ aims and interests.

The roles of the Committee and its members are to synthesize, integrate, and effectively communicate the input and ideas generated by the entire campus community through the interviews and planning retreat described below, along with the advice and guidance of Dr. Weary; organize and implement a process to solicit broad community input on a draft plan, and exercise their judgment in assessing and integrating that input; and prepare drafts and the final plan.

The Committee will conduct an open and consultative process, including regularly posting progress updates on a planning webpage, email and other communication, open forums, and solicitation of individual input and ideas.  The approaches used in recent budget planning and communication provide a model for this communication and consultation.

Key steps in the process:

September 19:  Meet with Dr. Weary to discuss process, recommend materials for his review, and provide input into suggesting individuals and groups for Dr. Weary to interview October 8-12.  Those will include faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, community leaders, members of the Foundation Board, and College Council.  The President’s Office is coordinating opportunities for Dr. Weary to interact with SUNY System leaders.

October 12:  At the end of a week of interviews, Dr. Weary and the Committee will meet for several hours for him to share initial impressions and gain feedback from Committee members (time and location TBA).

Mid-October:  Provide guidance and input to the President in identifying about 75 people (including Committee members) to take part in a day-long retreat on November 3.  This selection must be timely, so that the President’s Office can send invitation with sufficient lead time for participants, who will include the same breadth of groups as the interviews.

November 3:  Planning retreat, which will focus on the work of the College in the next several years.  The retreat, to include small-group and plenary sessions, will articulate College concerns, issues, and dreams through a series of open-ended questions that grow out of the previous interviews. The goal of the retreat is to develop broad perspectives and a shared sense of direction for the College.

The final exercise will capture strategic goals and objectives, and the specific efforts we must complete during the life of the plan to achieve those goals.

November to mid-December:  Using the results of the planning workshop and perspectives shared by the consultant, the Steering Committee will prepare a first draft of the plan, and engage in one or more rounds of its own editing to produce a draft for review by the President and other senior leadership during the Holiday Break.  Drafts at this stage of the process must be treated as confidential.

Also during this time, the Committee or a subcommittee will draft a process to enact during spring semester for sharing the strategic plan draft with constituent groups and interested individuals throughout the broader College community, and to solicit input.  This process will occur during the first half of spring semester, and may include open forums with faculty, staff, students, and others; meetings with groups such as Administrative Council, College Council, and governance committees such as Budget, Goals and Plans; and opportunities for anonymous individual feedback.  The Committee will incorporate this input into a new draft strategic plan, also submitted to the President for review.

During the Holiday Break, the President will review and provide feedback about the drafts of the communication-consultation plan and the strategic plan.  During the Holiday Break, the President’s Office will begin reserving rooms and in other ways setting the stage to support the process during spring semester.

Spring Semester:  Based on feedback from senior leadership, the Committee will prepare a further draft of the plan, and during February and March share and seek input from the College community.  By about April 1, the Committee should submit a revised draft plan to the President for review and comment, with feedback to be used to prepare a final draft for the President’s review by about May 1.  Following review and consultation with senior leadership, the President will issue the final plan before the end of the semester.

The plan should include identification of needed investments (financial and otherwise) to achieve the plan and its objectives, and metrics for assessing progress.