UPCEA Strategic Planning Process: Maximizing Member Input

UPCEA Strategic Planning Process:

Maximizing Member Input

In past years, incoming presidents of UPCEA have used their first InFocus letter to outline their presidential priorities. Since I’ve already had the opportunity to describe those priorities (https://shaeffersforays.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/my-commitment-to-the-upcea-members/), I’d like to use this space to describe our strategic planning process. I think this is a once in a decade or two opportunity for an association to engage in a deep and thorough strategic planning process.

I have been a member of UPCEA and of the Board long enough that I remember very well the last time this association went through a strategic planning process.  I also know that each of us have been through more than one strategic planning process on our campuses.  Sometimes we approach strategic planning as a time to take the last strategic plan off the shelf, change the dates, and call it a day.

I think I can speak for the leadership of UPCEA and for Bob Hansen in saying that is not the intent of this strategic planning process.  Our field, our association, and quite frankly all of higher education are facing pressures and expectations unlike any we have ever seen before.  I see this strategic planning process as our opportunity to stake our territory in becoming the pre-eminent association for continuing and professional educators.

High expectations?

A doable and worthy project?

Our strategic planning process has been designed to maximize member input and at the same time develop a document that will provide specific directions and actions for our association.  Our planning process can be broken down in the following  areas:

Discovery Phase
We engaged McKinely Marketing Inc., to help inform our strategic planning process by getting a pulse on current UPCEA member experience,
needs and expectations, identifying opportunities to enhance UPCEA’s value proposition and operation, and benchmarking UPCEA with other organizations in the marketplace.

From this “Discovery Phase” seven key areas emerged:

Core identity
Professional development
Organizational development
Research and information
Advocacy and thought leadership
Running UPCEA like a business
Building Membership Value & Engagement

Focusing Direction
The next phase took place at the Leadership Summit at the Annual Conference in Toronto where  nearly 100 of our members joined together to provide input on these seven items and to suggest next steps for the Association.  Based on these discussions the following major directions emerged:

Core Identity
UPCEA should provide greater access to actionable information
Professional development
UPCEA should use technology for just in time training
UPCEA should consider developing a pool of member experts
Organizational structure
UPCEA should consider restructuring based on other models that enhance transparency and access
UPCEA should strengthen the role of regions with the national office
UPCEA should consider becoming a research clearinghouse
Advocacy and thought leadership
UPCEA should strive to be relevant nationally, institutionally, and in our careers
UPCEA should define its focus
Running UPCEA like a business
UPCEA should engage in a strategic analysis of membership services and benchmark itself with other associations
Membership value
UPCEA should strive for clear communication and transparent communication with members
UPCEA should strive for organizational transparency—helping members understand how to navigate the organization

For more information about this process see my previous post: What a great day for UPCEA! https://shaeffersforays.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/what-a-great-day-for-upcea/

Strategic Planning Committee

Tom Gibbons, UPCEA President Elect, has graciously volunteered to lead the Strategic Planning Committee, and we could not have asked for a better person to lead this effort.  We are also extremely lucky to have enlisted the help of the several UPCEA leaders to be on the Strategic Planning Committee, including Nelson Baker, Burt Bargerstock, Joyce Feuch-Haviar, Sue Maes, Rita Martinez-Purson, Robert Manuel, Bill McClure, Rich Novak, Emily Richardson, David Schejbal, and Karen Sibley.  The Strategic Planning Committee is very serious about this effort and will hold its first meeting on May 25 and 26 in Washington DC.  Each committee member will chair a sub-group that will be working on key strategic areas and submit these to the Strategic Planning Committee.   For more detail about these key strategic areas and the brainstorming process at the Toronto meeting, see What a great day for UPCEA! https://shaeffersforays.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/what-a-great-day-for-upcea/

One of the major outcomes we hoped for is to maximize the input of our members on the strategic plan.  With this in mind, drafts of the strategic plan will be shared with the membership and discussions will be lead at regional meetings by myself, Tom, and/or Bob.  Input will also be sought from COPs, Commissioners, as well as other groups.  The goal is to have the UPCEA Board be ready to take action on the Strategic Plan at our January meeting.

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