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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 February 2011

Transformational plan

Transformational plan Plan is also template for accreditation.

Its' a dense document, 22 pages long, with criteria, core components, embedded key goals, even key goals from 2005 and 2008 (p. 21-22).

The new transformational plan is also a roadmap for the fall 2012 re-accreditation process.

The idea, said Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for academic affairs, who's responsible for updating the plan, is to create a plan so detailed that, when fully fleshed out, it will be the re-accreditation report due in fall 2012.

The plan details almost every facet of the college's operations:

• Current academic requirements ("All baccalaureate degrees require a course in ethics")

• Faculty expectations ("Faculty members are evaluated for tenure based on their performance in the areas of teaching, advising, professional development, and service to college and community;" "Faculty members are required to maintain at least five office hours each week")

• True transformational goals ("A stand-alone School of Graduate Studies will be created")

• Sports ("The Southwell Complex, Southy and Owens Soccer Field have been extensively upgraded and renovated;" "Intramurals have been expanded and women’s basketball has been added as a varsity sport")

• Departmental initiatives ("Each unit of the college will have a mission statement," "The position of business development officer will be created")

• Very nice proposed employee goodies ("Employees will be allowed to take graduate courses tuition-free")

• Calls to action, such as enrolling more male students.

"These are desiderata," said Smith of some of the plan's more ambitious goals. "Many have not been vetted for full consensus [by the Administrative Council, or AC, the college's senior leadership], but AC has agreed on all key goals."

Smith said the process began in 2000, when Columbia College used an off-the-shelf strategic planning model to establish key goals. In 2005, AC revisited the plan and found the college had made substantial progress or were actively working on 85 percent of these goals – an impressive track record.

But, Smith said, it wasn't very satisfying because the 2000 plan wasn't higher education-specific. So the board of trustees approved the creation of a new transformational plan using accreditation criteria.

During the 2009-10 school year, the entire college then created an institution-wide strategic plan. Each AC member was responsible for getting their portion of strategic planning done; this effort trickled down to almost every college employee. These new goals were then added to the transformational plan. They are the bolded items you'll see in the plan.

The final step, Smith said, requires the five re-accreditation committees take their section of the plan, update and flesh it out. When complete, the college will have a re-accreditation report.

The first draft is due from committees in April. Stay tuned!