First and foremost, it should be understood that the planning process at Elon is institution-wide, highly inclusive, and highly iterative. Elon strives to have a focused adherence to its mission statement, requires each unit to develop long-term and short-term goals and objectives, provides reflective opportunities, requires each unit to submit an end-of-year report that indicates a measure of success of outcomes, and provides opportunities to adjust programs and services based upon relevant feedback.
Development of an institutional strategic plan requires institution-wide involvement for success. As result, the strategic planning committee is composed of faculty, staff, students, and board-of-trustee associates.
In order for this committee to be effective in its work, it must collect information. The committee is encouraged to seek feedback, suggestions, and ideas from as many stakeholders as possible. The committee will engage in numerous and inclusive forms of communication such open forums, E-mail invitations, surveys, and focus groups. It will also investigate previously collected information such the university fact books, salary studies, internal and external survey results, literature searches, and other various committees’ findings. In addition, the committee is free to contact experts in relevant fields for guidance and direction.
Once the committee deems that enough data and information have been collected and analyzed, it will draft a document that focuses goals and objectives that support accomplishment of the institutions mission. The document is posted on the campus and the university web site for another iterative process for feedback and suggestions. After a sufficient period has past, it will hold a mid-year and/or summer retreat to reflect and compose a draft report to be presented to the campus for review. Once the appropriate changes have been incorporated into the report, a final plan is sent to the board of trustees for approval. The result, Elon has an institutional strategic plan.
Each year institutional priorities are set for the University. These priorities are specifically derived from the institutional strategic plan. Each annual priority is evaluated at the end of the year to measure success with respect to its completion and to adapt to the next year’s priorities. The process of setting and evaluating annual institutional priorities will continue until the strategic plan is completed. While the strategic plan is designed to cover a seven to ten year time period, Elon has successfully completed these plans in less time.