A strategic planning model for small, private institutions in higher education
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to develop a strategic planning model for specific application in small, private liberal arts colleges. A preliminary review of literature indicated both a lack of and a need for such a model.Procedure: The study was conducted in four stages. The first stage was to review selected literature on strategic planning and models of planning in educational and business settings. The intent of stage one was to develop a theoretical framework for the strategic planning model.The second stage of the study was to design and develop an initial model entitled, Small College Strategic Planning Model (SCSPM). In developing the model, concepts and theories from the literature were blended with subjective insights gained from thirteen years experience as an administrator in a small, private liberal arts college.In the third stage, the model was tested for validity by a panel of experts in the field of planning and higher education. The intent of the procedure in stage three was to utilize the wisdom of recognized expert practitioners for refinement of the theoretical model. Such a perspective was included in order to improve the workability of the model and to assure appropriate application to small colleges. Input was received from six experts in private interviews.The fourth stage consisted of revising the initial model based on findings from interviews with planning experts. The revised model incorporated suggestions and ideas which were common to members of the panel as well as unique ideas judged as valid improvements for strengthening the model.Model: The model was based on the theories and concepts of strategic planning and consisted of five major phases: Phase I Pre-Planning; Phase II Foundations for Strategic Planning; Phase III Situation Analysis; Phase IV Strategic Decision-Making; and Phase V Strategic Implementation and Actions. In Phase I the issues of organizing and preparing for planning were addressed. In Phase II a procedure for identifying educational values and existing institutional goals was presented. Phase III included a structure for analyzing the external and internal environments of an institution. Phase IV incorporated several tasks which enable a college to gain closure in identifying key strategic variables. Phase V prescribed a method for transferring strategic plans to annual operational plans. Proper implementation of each phase in sequence is intended to provide a small college with a workable strategic plan, supported and implemented by major constituents of the college.