CBT Case Studies
Every community college that undertakes a strategic plan has similar - and different - reasons and goals when undertaking the process. All want to make their college a better learning environment for students and their organization more effective. But each has a slightly different need or emphasis. Here are five recent examples of strategic plans the College Brain Trust has helped developed for five different community colleges and community college districts.
1. State Center Community College District
The State Center Community College District includes two colleges, Fresno City and Reedley, and a third center that is planning to seek accreditation status in the near future. The district recently engaged the College Brain Trust to update the district’s 2008 – 2011 Strategic Plan. The CBT team took a three phase approach:
Phase 1 Discovery and Plan-to-Plan
Meet with Chancellor and staff to:
The consultants then established a process for updating the Strategic Plan and developing supporting structures that includes consultation with key district/campus stakeholders (people who will be responsible for planning and those responsible for implementing the Strategic Plan).
Phase 2 Develop SP Update and SP Processes/Responsibilities/Assessment
Determine institutional and environmental data needed for Strategic Plan update and facilitate on-site data collection and reporting of updated data.
Phase 3 Prepare Draft #1
Develop and review Draft #1 and forward to Chancellor and Planning Workgroup. Make necessary changes/edits with Chancellor and Planning Workgroup.
Phase 4 Prepare Draft #2
Develop and review Draft #2 and send to Chancellor and Planning Workgroup for distribution and feedback. Review feedback and incorporate appropriate changes.
Phase 5 Prepare Final Draft
Complete final editing/incorporate feedback as appropriate for final draft of updated Strategic Plan and supporting structures.
College Brain Trust consulting team:
2. Rancho Santiago Community College District
The CBT consultants worked with Rancho Santiago CCD, a multi-college district, to prepare and facilitate a one-half day workshop to develop strategic directions for the district, which would in turn form the framework for their strategic plan. The strategic directions would be developed as a logical evolution of existing planning documents (educational master plans, facility plans, technology plans), trustee goals and current higher education issues (e.g. “A Report of the Commission on the Future”).
The CBT Consultants reviewed all relevant district documents. In addition, each consultant conducted two full days of individual stakeholder interviews (as determined by the district chancellor) for a total of approximately 35 half-hour interviews.
The workshop was help April 1, 2011 and the stakeholder interviews occurred in the second half of March, 2011.
The consultants will prepare summary documents for the stakeholder interviews and the workshop.
College Brain Trust consulting team:
3. Cuesta College
Cuesta College expressed an interest in partnering with a consulting firm to develop a new strategic plan. The strategic plan was developed in cooperation with both the internal and external stakeholders of the district. When completed, it helped prompt institutional action leading to improvement in the services and programs designed to meet the needs of a diverse student population.
The specific goal of the strategic planning process was to identify the resources, facilities and actions necessary to meet the short and long-term goals of the district as determined by the comprehensive planning process. The strategic plan addressed how the district can utilize the mission and vision to implement planned improvements resulting in better quality services to students and the constituents of San Luis Obispo Community College District, its governing agency.
Working on campus and throughout the district across institutional lines with all district and campus groups as well as the larger service area, the College Brain Trust consultants worked to promote understanding and support among all college constituencies of the importance and value of a strategic plan, both in relation to accreditation and to the future success of Cuesta College.
The Cuesta College Strategic Plan
The strategic plan is guided by the college’s mission, vision, and educational master plan. It places the goals and values of those documents in the context of the district’s relationship to its community, its students’ needs, and its human and fiscal resources. The plan proposes a series of concrete strategic goals buttressed by specific actions and activities within a set of timeframes.
Elements of the Cuesta College Strategic Plan
College Brain Trust consulting team:
4. South Orange County Community College District
The College Brain Trust consultant team developed a District Strategic Plan for South Orange County Community College District. The Strategic Plan was written to meet all the requirements of the district, its colleges and the accreditation commission standards. The District Strategic Plan:
Work Plan and Schedule
Phase 1 Discovery, review of documents and preparation March - April
To initiate the development of the Strategic Plan the Project Leader, Dr. Shirley Kelly, and the Strategic Advisor, Darroch (Rocky) Young, met via conference call with the Chancellor to:
Phase 1 Outcomes:
Phase 2 Conduct District Stakeholder Meeting
Phase 3 Prepare Draft Strategic Plan
Phase 4 Prepare and distribute Strategic Plan
5. Community College of the District of Columbia
The CBT team was hired after a national RFP was distributed by the Community College of the District of Columbia, a division of the University of the District of Columbia. The College Brain Trust subsequently developed the “Strategic Plan 2010-2015” for the Community College of the District of Columbia to help CCDC become an accredited, independent community college of distinction offering “open, accessible services to students at whatever level, who enter through whatever site.” The Strategic Plan is intended to provide the foundation for all other institutional planning, including planning related to educational programs and support services, governance and leadership, financial resources, staffing, information technology, facilities, and marketing communications.
The Strategic Plan draws conclusions from the data that present challenges and opportunities for CCDC related to overall capacity: infrastructure, governance, policies and procedures, academic programs, support services, workforce training, information technology, resource allocation, and development. The Strategic Plan also offers Best Practices and Recommendations to guide the college in its future institutional decision-making.
The Strategic Plan concludes with six strategic goals in a table identifying objectives for each of the six goals. Each objective is presented with a measurable timeline and responsible party for completing or ensuring the completion of the objective. As CCDC is working to attain accreditation candidacy, at the same time it is implementing principles of student completion and success in accordance with Achieving the Dream (ATD). The new Strategic Plan aligns both the accreditation standards and ATD principles with the strategic goals and objectives of the college. Ultimately, the Strategic Plan, and thus CCDC’s development as a community college, will help CCDC expand the “circle of prosperity” in the District of Columbia.