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Chesapeake College new strategic plan approved

Posted on Monday, June 15, 2009

WYE MILLS– The Chesapeake College Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan for the college Thursday afternoon that will focus on five major strategic directions.

Sustainability, community collaborations, individual excellence, appreciation, and making Chesapeake the "college of first choice" for local residents comprise the new plan’s strategic directions. They were developed through a broad-based process that included participation from college faculty and staff, local representatives of business, education and government sectors, and civic and community leaders.

The planning took place using "appreciative inquiry," a process which attempts to identify what an organization does well and apply that knowledge to other areas where the organization wishes to excel.

"I’m pleased with both the process and the final product," said Chesapeake College President Barbara Viniar, who made developing a new strategic plan one of the top goals of her first year as president. "A truly meaningful strategic plan requires broad input that helps supply a clear direction for the future, and I think that’s what we achieved through this planning process."

Faculty and staff leaders agreed.

"Its greatest strength was clearly the inclusiveness of all members of the college community," Chesapeake College Faculty Assembly Chair John Haas said of the strategic planning process. "All of us had the opportunity to engage one another in conversations about what we do well, and how we can expand those best practices into more of our college’s efforts."

Eileen Bishop, co-chair of Chesapeake’s Staff Assembly Representatives (STARs), said the process was an "empowering" experience that used "positive outcomes from past years" to develop "innovative approaches" for the future.

"I think we can achieve a steady balance of our existing traditional goals intertwined with the new goals that will continue to represent our college as a nurturing and comprehensive learning facility," said Bishop.

The plan includes five-to-seven broad initiatives for each of the strategic directions. The college’s vice presidents are leading staff discussions this summer on how best to operationalize and assess achievement of the strategic plan’s initiatives.

Some of the highlights from the plan are outlined below.

  • Sustainability: The plan calls for the college to "promote and model environmental and social responsibility" while using budget processes that "ensure appropriate allocation of resources." It also emphasizes support of "green" business development and building "on the cultural heritage of the Shore."
  • Community Collaborations: This goal emphasizes "regional partnerships to respond to education, workforce training and social needs" while working with local school systems on curriculum alignment and a strengthened Dual Enrollment Program for high school students. It also emphasizes increasing options for four-year and graduate programs through the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center, which is located on the college’s Wye Mills campus.
  • Appreciation: The plan calls for recognizing regional partners and community volunteers, while internally promoting shared governance, open communication, and employee recognition. It also supports staff and faculty compensation "that allows the college to attract and retain talented, motivated employees."
  • Individual excellence: This goal focuses on promoting and supporting excellence among students, faculty and staff. Professional development opportunities that provide staff with tools for achieving the college’s strategic goals and a commitment to inspiring students "to challenge themselves and excel in their fields of study" are two key components of the goal.
  • College of first choice: Addressing the region’s educational and training needs, maintaining the college’s affordability and demonstrating the value of a Chesapeake College education are all components of this goal.

Final approved Strategic Plan

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