CHHS Strategic Planning: Phase I

With nearly 250 faculty members and staff and over 5,000 students, the College of Health and Human Services’ (CHHS) expertise extends across so many areas of allied health and human service disciplines. CHHS cannot be all things to all people. Therefore, focus is vital to achieve impact as CHHS moves forward.

Shortly after my arrival to WKU, I put plans together to work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, and constituents to develop a strategic plan for CHHS. A strategic plan develops a series of goals and a time line for achieving them; it integrates the strategies and the tactics that are most likely to accomplish the goals and then stages them across a time line[1]. A nimble strategic plan is imperative as CHHS transitions into the next phase of development. For purposes of communication, fundraising, and allocation of scarce resources, it is essential that we identify high-priority focus areas that deserve special attention, where additional resources could help us accelerate an even more significant positive impact upon allied health and human service providing professions, and where our impact could be transformative. These areas should be cross-cutting, interdisciplinary, and they should have the potential for inclusion of all units within CHHS.

Across this academic year, our strategic plan will consist of two stages. My blog today will focus on the first stage.

In the first phase of our strategic planning process, we held a one day retreat on August 11, 2015 that included the CHHS Administrative Council (Department Heads, Institute Directors, Associate Deans, Assistant to the Dean, Senior Development Officer, and myself). Our facilitator was Dr. Dan Pesut, Professor of Nursing in the Population Health and Systems Cooperative Unit and is the Director of the Katharine Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Dan introduced us to some key materials that set the stage for our strategic planning processes not only in August, but throughout the year. He introduced us to strengths and values-based leadership (so that core strengths can be extrapolated and values identified), the Primes© (describes user friendly universal patterns of high performance, for example change vs. transformation), and the principles of liberating structures (rules governing how we choose to relate to others), including one important component of it: eco-cycle planning. Eco-cycle planning invites a leader to focus on creative destruction and renewal in addition to typical themes regarding growth or efficiency. The Administrative Council retreat day was very productive and informative. Dan worked with the group on several strategic planning exercises. I tasked each Department Head and School Director to initiate dialogue and discussion within their units regarding what each wants to create and contribute to the overall vision of CHHS. The information developed in each department will inform the overall CHHS strategic plan.

CHHS Administrative Council Retreat
CHHS Administrative Council Retreat

At the end of the CHHS Administrative Council retreat, we developed a values statement that will assist in the overall development of the strategic plan: Collectively, we are challenged to be human change agents by creating a community of scholars dedicated to the education of next generation health and human services practitioners who are committed to enhancing the quality of life and health where people live, work, and play.

[1] Conboy K. 2014. Establishing and implementing your vision: Strategic planning in academic affairs. Pp. 149-154 in The Resource Handbook for Academic Deans (3rd edition). Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

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