A strategic plan connects an institution’s mission and vision to its priorities, aligns the work among its people (faculty, staff, and the board), and guides the development of its resources and facilities – all through a purposeful yet flexible system of evaluation, decision-making, and action.
Strategic planning is a process that defines an organization’s goals and the actions needed to accomplish them, usually over a three-to-five-year period. Here is an informative article about strategic planning: https://www.scup.org/planning-type/strategic-planning/
MICA needs to have a strategic plan in place in order to:
- Carry out our institutional mission, vision, tenets, and values
- Comply with mandates and regulations of our accrediting bodies
- Ensure our educational relevance, operational effectiveness, fiscal health, and community wellbeing, now and into the future
Almost all colleges and universities have strategic plans that are at least three-to-five-years in scope, or are in a planning process between plans. Effective strategic planning is required by accrediting bodies (in MICA’s case, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and National Association of Schools of Art and Design) because it demonstrates institutional commitment to principled operation and thoughtful self-improvement.
MICA's last strategic plan sunset in 2020. Productive planning work with wide campus participation took place from 2018 to 2020. If not disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic beginning in early 2020, that planning process would have yielded a strategic plan for 2021-2026. The updated Plan now covers 2022-2027.
The volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of our times make it imperative for us to engage in thoughtful, adaptive, and bold planning if we are to thrive in the post-pandemic future. Effective strategic planning produces near-term results, as well as long-term outcomes.
The 2022 strategic planning has built on and updated the pre-pandemic planning efforts. A strong strategic planning framework – with one institutional goal and four themes – was developed in 2019 and early 2020 through a highly inclusive and participatory process, and it served as the basis for a streamlined framework – with one institutional objective and two themes – for the updated Strategic Plan 2022-2027. In addition, the 2019-2020 campus community input shaped a set of draft objectives and foci, which were re-examined and revised with campus-wide input in 2022.
When the pandemic hit with full force in March 2020, our strategic planning was put on hiatus, but the work of the campus community gave us a solid foundation to build upon.
In reviving strategic planning in 2022, the administration was mindful and realistic about the campus community’s capacity to undertake another big project. The 2022 current strategic planning effort was streamlined with the goal to meaningfully engage campus members without adding further work assignments and additional meetings for staff and faculty.
Broad and deep input from faculty, staff, students, and trustees is essential. All MICA campus members have had multiple opportunities (through surveys, pan-college convenings, and meetings, etc.) to participate throughout the planning process since late 2018. Other key MICA stakeholders such as alumni, parents, donors, and trusted partners have been consulted in the planning process as well.
In Spring 2022, a Planning Process Advisory Group – consisting of the President, select vice presidents, faculty (including a Faculty Executive Committee leader), staff (including a Staff Empowerment Council leader), Student Voice Association leader(s), and a trustee –was formed to guide the 2022 planning process as the 2018-2020 Strategic Planning Steering Committee did in pre-pandemic times.
For area leaders whose input was required, their participation in the strategic planning process dovetailed as much as possible with their existing meeting structures and ongoing planning work.
A multi-constituency Summer/Early Fall 2022 Strategic Plan Drafting Workgroup was formed to conduct plan drafting work. Compensated faculty, staff, and student positions were filled through an open application process to represent the campus constituencies on the workgroup. The Planning Process Advisory Group developed the application process and selection criteria.
The inclusive planning process has solicited many voices to shape one coherent plan. To ensure the success of the planning process, there are defined roles and duties for the following groups and individuals:
- Planning Process Guidance for Spring 2022 = Planning Process Advisory Group, a multi-constituency group that include administration, faculty, staff, student, and trustee members
- Primary Input & Feedback Providers = Campus Community (faculty, staff, students, trustees)
- Additional Input & Feedback Providers = Extended family (e.g., alumni, donors, parents) and key external stakeholders (e.g., institutional partners, community leaders)
- Plan Drafting Team for Summer and Early Fall 2022 = A multi-constituency Summer/Early Fall Plan Drafting Workgroup and President’s Council
- Chief Editors = President and Provost
- Process Management & Logistical Support = President, Executive Assistant to the President, Director of Strategic Projects
- Final Approval Authority = Board of Trustees
The strategic planning process officially re-launched in February 2022. The goal is to bring the formal plan to a close in Fall 2022 to become the MICA official Strategic Plan2022-2027 (“Plan”).
While a strong foundation for this effort already existed, the updated strategic planning work will has included reassessment and reimagination by the MICA community. Campus input for the update was collected through: 1) a February 2022 survey to prioritize MICA’s 2022-2027 objectives; 2) a March 2022 virtual pan-college convening on strategic planning to help shape collected ideas and insights into more focused planning work; and 3) various existing constituency meeting formats.
After collecting community input over the Spring 2022 semester, a multi-constituency team did focused strategic plan drafting work over the Summer and into early Fall 2022. In September, faculty, staff, students, trustees, and other key MICA stakeholders will review and provide feedback to the Plan draft in an open process.
The final Plan draft, informed by community input, will be presented to the Board of Trustees on October 21, 2022. Once adopted by the Board of Trustees, the Plan will serve as MICA’s roadmap for institutional development over the next five years, guiding the College through its bicentennial celebration in 2026.
The Plan will identify the budget needed for initiatives that are not already supported or that require additional support. A comprehensive fundraising campaign is planned on a parallel course and will raise the necessary financial resources to support the priorities in the Plan.
A diverse and aspirational community like MICA’s naturally has many things that its constituents could do and would like to do. The Plan prioritizes and organizes the College’s work into a finite set of achievable projects and initiatives that are most significant to MICA as a creative and academic community. The Plan transparently unites and focuses actions across MICA with a one-team understanding.
With a commitment to diligent and effective implementation, the Plan observes the SMART principles: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Resourced, and Time-bound.
It is a living plan that will be monitored, evaluated, and adjusted annually. Each goal and task in the Plan is attached to an accountable party at MICA who will report on the actions through a standard work plan. These work plan reports will be the basis for continuous plan assessment
The finalized Strategic Plan 2022-2027 will be properly designed to reflect MICA’s artistic nature and will be presented in a variety of user-friendly formats, both text-based and interactive. The look of the Plan is yet to be developed
Specific, transformational commitments embraced by the MICA community were incorporated into the 2021-2026 schematic plan draft for institutional action. Some key examples are:
- Adaptability and innovation
- One-MICA team workplace and culture
- DEIG (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Globalization); and
- Shared governance.
All have informed MICA actions even when the planning process went into hiatus between March 2020 and end of 2021. Some notable strategic planning-related progress to date includes:
- Planning and February 2022 board approval of a $112M fundraising campaign to build institutional capacity
- Relaunch of Human Resources as People, Belonging & Culture in 2021
- Ongoing work of shared governance building at MICA since 2020
- Academic planning to launch an online undergraduate degree program through Open Studies
- Development of actions for a DEIG-driven MICA such as an online complaints platform, the building of an Organizational Ombuds System, full scholarships for Baltimore ADCAP students, etc.
- Enrollment and Marketing task forces in Summer 2022
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