Purpose. Promise. Possibility.
In March of 2019, Chancellor Robin Cummings appointed Dr. Mark Milewicz, professor of Political Science, and Ms. Christie Poteet, director of the Office of Community and Civic Engagement, as co-chairs of a 27-member Strategic Planning and Resource Council (SPARC). The SPARC committee, whose membership represents different key constituencies of the university, was charged with developing a new strategic plan for the university.
The strategic planning process, spanning over 13 months (March 2019 – April 2020), was a comprehensive, time-intensive and inclusive effort. Drawing on structures from the previous planning cycle, the 2020-2025 strategic planning process was based on five distinct phases: (1) Organization; (2) Data gathering; (3) Making sense of the data; (4) Developing goals and objectives; and (5) Review, revision and approval. Through all five phases of the strategic planning process, the SPARC committee met over ten times.
The process formally began in March 2019 with SPARC developing the organizational components of the process such as developing a timeline and communication strategy. Prior to any data collection, and upon review of the existing strategic plan, SPARC determined that the existing Vision, Mission, Values, and Institutional Distinctiveness statements in the existing plan were not in need of revision; however, significant time and energy would be needed in support of revisions to University Goals and Objectives.
Throughout the summer of 2019, the committee planned a detailed data collection effort that involved campus-wide forums, focus groups, community engagement efforts, and an online survey instrument. In all, 12 focus groups and forums were held from September to October 2019. The survey, which closed in early October, yielded over 1,700 responses and 300 pages of response data.
In October 2019, the committee began the third phase of the planning process, which involved data analyses. All members reviewed a significant volume of data and coded for themes that would help inform the goals and objectives, ensuring that they would also align with UNC System expectations. Common themes were identified, distilled into draft goals and objectives, and shared with the Cabinet in November and December 2019, after which more advanced drafts were developed.
In the spring of 2020, a full draft of the 2020-2025 UNCP Strategic Plan was shared with the campus and campus governing structure. This process included review by the SGA, Staff Council, Faculty Senate, Chancellor and Cabinet, and finally the Board of Trustees in April of 2020.
SPARC’s proposed involvement in the strategic plan’s five-year implementation, most specifically in monitoring proposed strategic action plans that emerged from the data collection effort in the fall of 2019, was communicated to the Chancellor’s Cabinet in January and February of 2020. Understanding that strategic plans also need to be flexible and adaptive to changing environments, it is possible for alignment needs at the system level or long-term needs of the university to result in some adaptation of this plan’s goals and objectives. An implementation report and the re-establishment of the SPARC committee to revise the plan for the 2025-2030 strategic planning cycle is expected in 2024.