St. Cloud State University
Strategic Planning Committee Minutes
December 13, 2001, 7:45 a.m. Watab/Sauk


Members Present: John Burgeson, Jeanne Hites, Pat Krueger, Glen Palm, Mary Soroko, Karen Thoms, Addie Turkowski, and Jay Vora

Members Absent: Diane Decker, Bassey Eyo, Theresia Fisher, Bonnie Hedin, Balsy Kasi, Mohammad Mahroof-Tahir, John Palmer, Fred Walker, and Brenda Wentworth

Support Staff: Subimal Chopra and Lucie Schwartzkopf

Guest(s): Diana Burlison, Judy Foster (Faculty Association), Lisa Helmin-Foss, Dennis Jones (NCHEMS), Andrew Larkin (FA President Elect), Steve Ludwig, and Ken Mortimer (NCHEMS)

1. Dennis Jones and Ken Mortimer from NCHEMS Management Services, Inc. gave a presentation.

2. Management Cycle. (See attached 4-4, and 4-5)

Planning, resource allocation, and assessment must be linked to connect the budget and the plan. The tighter the resources, the more the budget dictates what is done.

Success Factors

  • Administrative Commitment
  • Organization-Wide goals
  • Climate of Understanding and Acceptance
    • Institutional Leadership
    • Departments
  • Capture Control Systems
    • Information
    • Reward
    • Budget

Decisions about organizational priorities that specify what changes in intentions, competencies, or behaviors the organization will pursue must be made. The mechanisms/methods through which organizational values are identified and prioritized need to be determined. These decisions will change the process.

Three past approaches have been utilized. While the first two are not utilized, the third is still around.

Linear: Long Range Planning. Analogy: Speed boat racing.
Adaptive: Market Driven. Analogy: Bath tub racing - staying afloat is acceptable.
Interpretive: Strategic. Analogy: Sail boat racing - can be easily done in 10 pages. The rest of the approach consists of operational plans. This strategy takes winds into account. The course is to keep your eye on the future and make progress in the short term. Plan in the large and implement in the small. Implement at every opportunity you get.

3. Strategic Decision Areas. (See attached 2-1.)

Identify the Basic Mission by asking: "Who are you?" "What are the basic purposes of the enterprise and its guiding principles for behavior?", and "What makes it different?"

Identify Clientele by asking: "Whom do you serve?" "How many bodies?" "What are the target audiences of the Institution?"

Identify the Program/Service Mix: Program Offerings and Priorities of the Institution.

Identify the Comparative Advantage: "Differential advantage" is sought over other organizations engaged in similar activities.

Identify Assets: Changes needed in human, physical, information, or intangible assets of the enterprise.

Identify Objectives: Identify what the organization must accomplish in order to move from existing to desired state of affairs. Ask "What makes you special from the different folks around?" "What kinds of people do you have?" i.e. Technology is an asset here. "What's the bottom line?" "What do we need to change?"

4. Strategic Plan. (See attached 1-10)

Start at assessment baseline instead of planning. Ask: "Who Are We?" "Do you really understand whom you serve right now?" "How many student bodies do you have right now?" The purpose is not to look for a statistical answer. That masks other clumps of people. These put other different academic service loads and academics on the system. NCHEMS starts with data from the institution. Then NCHEMS shows the institution some things. Ask: "If you're going to serve them, what does it take to meet their needs?"

These three are the SWOT analysis:

  1. External Environment
  2. Match
  3. Internal Environment

This is the washtub method. Don't throw away the traditions which are strengths and weakness. There are cultural elements that are strengths and weaknesses. "Do we know the answers?" "How do you describe yourself to the outside world?" "Is there outside evidence that you're walking the walk?" If the mission, clientele, program mix, comparative advantage, and assets take two years to figure out, it's not in the strategic process. It should only be a couple months. The goal is to determine a big picture understanding of the place.

Then ask: 1. "Do we want to change?" 2. "Must we change?" 3. "Can we change?" Sometimes outside forces dictate that changes must be made. It is a culture question. "If we set out to change, is it possible?" Education verses training.

5. Major types of external forces. (See attached 1-4 and 3-2)

  • Economic
  • Social
  • Technological
  • Political/Legal
  • Demographic
  • Competitive
  • Educational i.e. Certification now since baccalaureate doesn't have a meaning anymore
  • Institutional Priorities

Questions to ask about external forces: "In what areas are we the most vulnerable to a shift in environmental condition?" "Where are we most insulated from such shifts?" "How can we take advantage of external changes when they occur?"

Each institution has a unique set of circumstances. If an institution insulates itself from those circumstances, it will be run over when it happens. Flexible things survive. Real change is incremental. Change must be made a step at a time. An environment where change is controlled and acceptable needs to be created.

The places that have string IR shops make it work. They offer data for interpretation and present it to people like this group for decisions. Then ask: "What would we like this information look like in 5-6 years?" "What do we have to do to make it different?" "Can we do that?"

Most institutions say, "Here is what we offer." Technical colleges do better when they look at the needs and design their program to meet the needs. "How much responsibility do you assume for the region around you?" "How connected are you to your region?" Two-thirds responded that they are not really, even though "region" is implied in their name.

Information from five years ago that needs to be done the following year is too late. A group needs to be appointed to look at things that are anticipated to happen to facilitate implementation.

6. External Factors.

  • Number and Type of students expected be served
  • Anticipated economic conditions
  • Changes in the workforce that may affect needs for education/continuum education
  • New areas of knowledge that affect need for revision in current programs

Nationally, the cost per student has gone up over the 20 years to educate a student. In most states, the state share has remained almost flat. A few states have disinvested. Increasing costs have been born almost entirely by the student. The institution must look at offering a different experience if almost the same amount of money could go to a private institution. It is hard to get others to buy into higher education even though the argument may be used that it lessens problems in other parts of society. That is not a selling point.

Is there anything else going on in the environment that is important to you that we need to pay attention to? Demographics. Recent changes in visa policies affect internal students which makes this area a problem. Increasing graduate programs is a disaster because they are the most costly.

Students are going to school closer and closer to home and over a lot more years of their lives. How do you change the paradigm? It raises the question of strategic allegiance perhaps.

7. Strengths and Weaknesses. (See attached 3-1)

  • Mission
  • Clients
  • Programs/Services
  • Comparative Advantage i.e. Location
  • Assets
  • Organizational Culture

"Academically, what's your comparative advantage?" "If you have one, what do you do with it?" "Compared to whom?" "How large do you want to be as an institution?" "What are your academic and physical distinctions?" The importance of these answers cant can't be stressed enough.

There is a tug between critical thinking and job training. Where SCSU stands has to be taken into account for strategic planning. It cannot be just based on what is believed. "How do you organize your delivery?" The answer for why people are getting an education is changing. Now 90% are looking for a job. The link to budget starts as an academic exercise.

Employers hold students to an application piece that academics doesn't always allow for. It's a link that gets missed often, even though it is implied that it is there. Examples were given of not being able to sift out a problem that needs to be solved, even though they may be good problem-solvers.

8. The Produce of the Strategic Planning Process-Institutional Priorities/Strategic Themes.


  • Organization-Wide Issues
    • Cannot be addressed by a single unit
    • Cannot be identified by finding common elements in unit plans
  • Long term - Cannot be resolved in a single year
  • Require responses through basic organizational process-are not programmatic "add-ons"

9. Planning Format for Outcomes Data Collection.

  • Outcome Dimensions
  • Goals: What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Behavioral Outcomes: What concrete changes will result for whom? i.e. Not long lines on registration days. Not 6 lines for students to solve a problem.
  • Indicators/Sources: How do you know? Where did the data come from?

These conversations need to be had. Everyone then needs to understand it in the same way. The results of this will be spread throughout the campus. i.e. When courses are offered. Themes are not in any way centralized. Going back to analogy. This is a canoe so that everyone is rowing in the same direction.

10. One set of trade-offs. (See attached)

There are two kinds of decisions. One says it's about the basic asset structure of the institution itself...The way an asset is built that doesn't cost a dime. The other is to determine job requirements that hold to the philosophies being maintained. Once the institution knows what it wants to do, the task becomes how to do it. This can be answered by asking: "How do we connect the budget to it?"

Planned meeting times

Thursday, January 17, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, January 31, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, February 7, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, February 21, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, March 7, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, March 21, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, April 4, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, April 18, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi
Thursday, May 2, 2002, 7:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Mississippi