In the current environment of change impacting higher education, and as the University of Southern Indiana’s second strategic plan (2016-2020) comes to an end, the development of USI’s third strategic plan is timely. A strategic plan serves to guide our actions by identifying the circumstances shaping our priorities, our purpose and desired future. Integral to this process are the specific ways the institution seeks to achieve its purpose and future state, and the measures that determine the effectiveness of the specified decisions and actions.
Our plan’s development, led by the Strategic Planning Committee, is guided by inclusiveness, transparency, collaboration and effective communication. It engages key stakeholders and includes employees, students, alumni, community partners, friends and retirees in the process.
The foundational step in the development of any strategic plan is to identify an organization’s core values. Ours, combined with history, evolution and current educational trends, help to define USI’s purpose—mission—as we move forward.
USI’s future, regarding what the institution seeks to accomplish through its mission, is represented by its vision. Our strategic plan’s goals will represent areas of emphasis for achieving our mission and vision based on an evaluation—an environmental scan—of the University’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and challenges. Our objectives will be measurable outcomes tied to our goals. The strategies we develop will indicate what must be done to achieve objectives in the context of the environmental scan. USI’s action plans will specify the steps needed to implement strategies and include information about who will do what, when and how.
Our current strategic planning process builds on information about core values, historical context, mission, vision and goals from USI’s 2010-2015 and 2016-2020 strategic plans. The accomplishments and insights resulting from the implementation of the previous strategic plans will be important influences in determining the objectives, strategies and action plans of USI’s third plan.
The plan is all encompassing. It defines who we have been, who we are now and what we desire to be. The fabric of this plan will be of value to all the key stakeholders of the University, the past and present family of the University, the community that impacts USI and those whom USI impacts.
The Strategic Planning Committee will identify mechanisms in which to track, report and evaluate outcomes, as well as identify a process for updating and revising the strategic plan, before it is presented to the USI Board of Trustees for approval at its July 2020 meeting.
Beginning 55 years ago, with the idea of public education in southwestern Indiana, to today, there has always been a vision for USI. We are where we are today because of a dream, a vision and the execution of a plan. In those early days, it may have been discussed in terms that were different than those we use today, and maybe less formal, but the heart of what happened was strategic planning.
This third plan finds us with challenges that require vision and the execution of a plan, so we share that in the same fashion we did in the early days. The new plan finds the environment in a different place but still presenting challenges; the way we navigate those challenges will be critical in USI becoming what it should be in the future. Constant change has always been the norm, but the speed of that change is greater than ever. Our third strategic plan will lay the ground work for continuing to be a thriving University that contributes positively in all we do.