Every July, LMU celebrates the turn of the new fiscal year with a two and a half day strategic planning retreat. Not really a celebration, the retreat gives representatives from around the University a chance to meet, take stock of our successes and failings from the year before and map out LMU’s immediate future. It’s a necessary step for accreditation purposes, but more importantly, it is integral for the University to maintain its ability to grow.
I’m hastily composing this post at the first break in the action from Day 1 of this year’s retreat. As things rapidly change at LMU it can feel like we take time out of our busy schedules because it is required for accreditation, but as Vice President for Academic Affairs Clayton Hess reminded the group these planning sessions are what allows all of our changes to happen. Without careful planning, LMU would never be in a financial position to continue to grow on its current trajectory. Additionally, he reminded us that by revisiting the issue annually, we can chart our future to the best of our ability and achieve continuous improvement for our students and institution.
As the retreat continues, the assembled administration, faculty, staff and student representatives will focus specifically on the year ahead and forecast for the next five years. It’s crucial to look at the planning, growth and change and ask the question if LMU is effectively meeting its mission. Additionally, we have been tasked with identifying new initiatives, such as moving to a Level XI accreditation level, and making sure that they have been included in our strategic plan.
Our broad-based plan covers seven strategic goals to address academics, student life, finances, human resources, technology, advancement and research. This morning we heard from the first three areas. Representatives from each area presented a progress report, detailing the goals and plans that were refined a year ago and then results from the past year. The other four will be covered this afternoon, followed by an update on our Quality Enhancement Plan or QEP project which targets the integration of information literacy across the University. An evironmental scan of the University and SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat) analysis will wrap up Day 1.
The fun really gets underway tomorrow when we break up into working groups to update and refine each of the strategic goals. I always enjoy getting to work with different parts of our University community. It is always to exciting to hear about the new programs and offerings that are in the works. Additionally, working in PR and Marketing it really helps me get an idea of what things we need to emphasize in our area. Already this morning I have made a list of four different press releases that I need to write. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to read about those topics soon right here.