The Planning Process
This strategic plan was initiated by the Board of Trustees of Westminster College in October 2002. The Board instructed the president to develop a strategic plan for their consideration and they specified that the plan must be consistent with the following design criteria:
Over the next three months, a representative steering committee worked with the president to design a year-long, multi-stage planning process that they titled Finding Our Voice: Values, Opportunities, Implementation, Challenges, and Excellence.
The first stage of the process occurred in January 2003 when almost 250 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees worked in conference format for a full day to identify the college’s core values as well as the critical issues the college needed to address in planning its future. Discussion at the conference was informed by issues that had emerged the previous fall at Westminster’s National Symposium on the Future of Higher Education.
Shortly thereafter, the steering committee appointed representative groups to serve as task forces charged with developing planning recommendations relative to one of the nine critical issues identified at the January conference. Simultaneously, the president convened meetings with community leaders and friends of the campus to solicit their views on future directions the college should consider. In addition, the campus hosted presentations by George Dehne on his national environmental scan and by Alan Guskin on “Principles for Creating a Vital Campus in a Climate of Restricted Resources.”
After four months of intensive work, the task forces met together at an all-day Visioning Conference to discuss all of the reports and recommendations. Following that conference, another representative task force, including the president, met all summer long to produce a draft strategic plan. The plan is based on common patterns, themes, and directions that emerged from the two all-day conferences; the work of the nine critical issue task forces; and all of the campus dialogue about the future of higher education in general and of Westminster College in particular.
In fall 2003, a joint fall planning committee organized a series of forums to facilitate review and discussion of the draft plan by all constituent groups of the college, as well as by selected others. After further consultation and redrafting, this final version of the plan is recommended to the Board of Trustees for their adoption at their meeting in January 2004.