Strategic Plan Home

Alignment
A state of agreement and cooperation among individuals, groups, processes, documents, etc., about what should be done, how, and why.
Basic capabilities
What every higher education institution must do well (e.g., classroom instruction).
Benchmarks
Specific performance indicators used to compare institutions or programs against established criteria.
Capabilities
How an institution uses its organizational capacity. (What the institution does and how well).
Critical success factor
A condition or variable that is necessary for an institution or project to achieve its mission. Answers the question: what must we do to be successful?
Distinctive capabilities
What your institution does well, what the stakeholders you serve value, and what your competitors cannot beat.
Environmental scanning
An exploration and analysis of the external factors affecting an institution.
Gap analysis
A method to assess the current state, the desired future state, and what an institution needs to move from the current state to the desired future state.
Goal
A broad, general statement of what an institution intends to accomplish.
Implementation plan
A document that outlines how the strategic plan will be put into action, monitored, and revised.
Institutional plan
A plan for a specific aspect of operations or for cross-boundary initiatives that cover the entire institution. Examples: academic plan, campus master plan, budget plan, IT plans, student life, enrollment services, etc.
Integrated planning
A sustainable approach to planning that builds relationships, aligns the organization, and emphasizes preparedness for change.
Internal scanning
An exploration and analysis of the institution’s mandates, capacity, and capabilities.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
A quantifiable metric used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc., in meeting objectives for performance.
Mandate
A directive an institution is required to do (or not do), often imposed by an external actor or force. Mandates may be formal, such as laws, rules, regulations, or informal, such as political mandates for change or deeply held public expectations.
Metric
A measurement that tracks, monitors, and assesses the effectiveness of an objective, initiative, or plan.
Mission
An institution’s stated purpose or reason for existence.
Objective
A specific, measurable (SMART) outcome an institution intends to accomplish related to a goal.
Operational planning
A process for determining the day-today operations of an institution or unit over the next one to twelve months.
Organizational capacity
The resources an institution has available to use, including physical resources (land, buildings), IT, budget, and human resources (time and skill).
SMART
An acronym that describes the characteristics of a good objective. It stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (align with values and goals), Time bound.
STEEP analysis
An environmental scanning exercise. STEEP stands for social forces, technological forces, economic forces, environmental forces, and political forces.
Strategic Issues
Pressing problems and/or significant opportunities that must be strategically addressed for an institution to meet its mission and/or remain operationally viable.
Strategic plan
A product of the strategic planning process that documents and communicates decisions made during the planning process.
Strategic planning
A deliberate, disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an institution is, what it does, and why it does it.
Strategy
A general approach (plan of action) an institution uses to achieve a goal/objective or to address a strategic issue.
Stretch goal
A deliberately challenging or ambitious aim.
SWOT analysis
A structured planning method used to evaluate internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors affecting an institution, department, project, industry, or person.
Tactic
A specific action an institution takes to carry out strategy.
Tactical plan
A product of tactical planning that documents and communicates tasks that need to be completed, who is responsible, timeframe, required resources, milestones, and expected outcomes.
Tactical planning
A process that details the specific tasks that need to be completed to implement a plan. (also called Action planning)
Unit plan
A plan for units within the larger institution that includes annual objectives and metrics.
Values
The guiding principles, beliefs, and modes of action that a person and an institution find worthwhile or desirable.
Vertical Alignment
The direct connection of desired outcomes from mission to on-the-ground operations.
Vision
A description of what an institution (and key parts of the external environment) will look like if the institution achieves its full potential. A mental model of an ideal future state.