• Strategic Planning and the Summit

    On February 1, 2019, 135 LaGuardia students, faculty and staff gathered to launch a process of examining and refreshing our Strategic Directions, the goals that inform our college-wide Strategic Plan.

    What is a Strategic Plan? How does LaGuardia do Strategic Planning? What happened at the Strategic Directions Summit? How will this JAM shape our Strategic Plan for the years to come? This page provides background information on these questions for students, faculty and staff participating in the Strategic Directions JAM.




  • What is a Strategic Plan?


    Most large organizations have a Strategic Plan. A Strategic Plan identifies the organization’s high level goals and priorities, and helps the members of the organization focus shared energy, effort and resources on achieving those priority goals. The Oxford English Dictionary says that a strategic plan involves “the identification of long-term or overall aims . . . and the means of achieving them.”

    Strategic Planning takes place at multiple levels. Building on its Mission and its Values, an organization identifies overarching Goals and more specific targets or areas of work, called Objectives. Different parts of the organization – divisions, offices or departments -- might work on different Goals and Objectives.



    An overall Strategic Plan rarely specifies day-to-day operations. But it can provide a framework for strengthening and integrating those operations. While the Strategic Plan stays at a relatively high level, familiarity with the Plan can help everyone envision how their work fits into a larger picture.

    The Society for College and University Planning suggests that the planning process provides “a method for creating and implementing an organizational vision. With a functioning strategic plan in place all types of campus plans work more effectively.” Hinton, A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education.

    Accredited colleges and universities are required to have a Strategic Plan. In New York, Pennsylvania and other states in our region, the Middles States Commission on Higher Education reviews every college’s Strategic Plan every ten years, to ensure that the college is planning wisely. LaGuardia’s next “accreditation” visit will happen in 2021-22.

    Our keynote speaker at the Strategic Directions Summit, Randy Bass, highlighted the challenge of planning in today’s fast-changing environment, what he called a “whitewater” world. He suggested that Colleges use a mix of traditional Strategic Planning, focused on long-term priorities, and “fast planning,” which involves nimbly adapting to newly-emergent realities. See Dr. Bass’s PowerPoint slides



  • How does LaGuardia do Strategic Planning?


    LaGuardia began working on Strategic Plans in 2001, shortly after President Mellow arrived. To grow as a “resilient and effective organization,” President Mellow and Rosemary Talmadge wrote, LaGuardia “had to find ways to strengthen its capacity to create and sustain profound change.” The College held a Visioning Summit in 2002, which identified key objectives, which were then built into a Strategic Plan. This process was renewed in 2008-9 and 2014.

    Strategic Planning at LaGuardia has also been shaped by our relationship to CUNY. For many years, CUNY mandated the annual submission the College Strategic Plan. During the Chancellorship of Matthew Goldstein, CUNY required the College to align its plan to CUNY’s. In recent years, with the University in transition, the CUNY process has come to be called a Performance Management Plan. In this context, beginning in 2019-20, President Mellow and Provost Arcario decided that LaGuardia will formulate its own Strategic Plan.



    For 2018-19, the LaGuardia Strategic Plan focused on Goals set by CUNY:
    • Access & Completion
    • College Readiness
    • Career Success
    • Knowledge Creation
    • New Economic Model for CUNY
    Over the past 15 years, LaGuardia has engaged Divisions and Departments in developing their annual work plans, based on the College Strategic Plan. These plans have gone up on the College web page, where they are available to the public. At the end of each year, Divisions and Departments have reported on their progress – what they did and its impact.

    When a new five year Strategic Plan is formulated this spring, it will become the foundation for departmental and divisional planning for 2019-20 and beyond.



  • What happened at the 2019 Strategic Directions Summit?


    In December 2018, President Mellow and Provost Arcario convened a 12-person Strategic Directions Summit Steering Committee, composed of faculty, students, and staff, chaired by Prof. Reem Jafaar. This group designed and organized a daylong Strategic Directions Summit, as a way of kicking off our effort to examine and refresh our Strategic Directions.

    The Summit was held on Feb 1, 2019 and attended by 135 students, faculty, and staff, representing a broad cross-section of the College. Participants included representatives of the College Senate and every department and division at the College.




    View Agenda



  • How will this Jam shape our Strategic Plan for the years to come?


    The goal of the Jam is to provide an opportunity for the College community to review and discuss the work of the Summit and provide input that will shape the next Strategic Plan.

    The proposed Goals and Objectives that emerged from the Summit form the structure of this Jam. Each thread in the Jam includes an introductory headnote that helps to explain some of the discussion that took place at the Summit and shares relevant resources. Each introduction also provides discussion prompts designed to guide a thoughtful and constructive discussion.

    Following the Jam, the Steering Committee and the Executive Committee will review the input provided by the College community and use it to finalize the Strategic Plan that will be used for approximately the next five years. This long-term structure will guide annual planning and reporting, starting in 2019-20.



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