Planning steering committee to recommend W&M roadmap

  • Strategic planningPresident W. Taylor Reveley III announced the formation of the Planning Steering Committee, which will be co-chaired by Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Jim Golden. The committee's charge is an ambitious one--to work with the campus community to research and recommend a strategic plan report by April 2009.

    By Stephen Salpukas

    Strategic planning

A committee of faculty, staff and students will steer what will become an annual strategic planning process for the College of William and Mary.
William and Mary President W. Taylor Reveley III announced the formation of the Planning Steering Committee, which will be co-chaired by Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Jim Golden. The committee's charge is an ambitious one -- to work with the campus community to research and recommend a strategic plan report by April 2009.

"It has been nearly 15 years since the College last produced a comprehensive strategic plan," Reveley said. "It is time to take another look at who we are, where we hope to go during the next five to 10 years, and how we plan to get there."

The College's last comprehensive strategic plan was produced in 1994. Reveley emphasized that the committee’s work would be part of an ongoing process that will be revised, updated and enhanced each year. The new strategic planning process will feed directly into the annual budget planning process and be the first of a series of plans revised every year through a new, continuous planning process.

"We should challenge ourselves to excel while also taking realistically into account our likely financial resources and the strength of our competitors,” Reveley said. “Further, rather than producing a large document that receives little attention once written and is rarely updated, our planning effort this academic year should simply be 'act one' of what becomes an annual fine-tuning of the plan. Our plan should be a living, evolving roadmap for the university."

The committee will work closely with the Board of Visitors and engage the college community throughout the process, Reveley said. The committee will give a progress report to the Board in November.

“The Board fully supports this new process and looks forward to taking an active role with members of the campus community,” said Michael K. Powell, Rector of the College. “Strategic planning is essential for the future stability and continued excellence of this great institution.”

The steering committee, which consists of 25 members of the campus community, including instructional and professional faculty, administrative staff and students, will build its agenda off the research and work of the "Planning to Plan" group, which met this past summer in preparation of the strategic planning process. That campus group, also co-chaired by Feiss and Golden, worked to collect and document as much background as possible on previous strategic planning efforts and to assemble information about peer institutions.

Feiss said a Web site has been established to serve as a clearinghouse of information on the committee's work and progress. The Web site includes goals of the strategic planning efforts, background information from the “Planning to Plan” group and a timeline for the process during the 2008-09 academic year.

"There are few initiatives as important to a university's future stability than identifying priorities, goals and aspirations and then establishing a strategic planning process to address and meet those measures on an annual basis,” Feiss said. "This will be a community conversation that we will continue to build on. I encourage the entire campus to participate in this process."

Golden said the steering committee's principal function will be to facilitate a broad campus discussion that will assist the committee in preparing its report to the Board. Those discussions will include campus conversations this fall with faculty, staff and students that focus on the College's vision and the "grand challenges and opportunities" facing William and Mary over the next five to 10 years. The committee will then summarize those conversations and arrive at a consensus on six to eight challenges and opportunities that will be presented to the president by December 2008. In January, the president and the provost will task the deans, vice presidents, and others on campus to develop plans for meeting the challenges. The committee will then review planning goals established by various units on campus in response to the grand challenges and opportunities, and translate those into university goals and objectives.

The committee will also work to make sure that both on- and off-campus audiences have an opportunity to discuss and review the planning documents throughout the process. The steering committee will present a report to the president that proposes strategic actions in response to the challenges and opportunities.  In April, the president will propose a plan at the Board meeting.

"This is a daunting but critical task," Reveley said. "Our planning effort will be one of the most important initiatives the campus community undertakes this academic year."

For more information on the Steering Planning Committee and the College’s strategic planning process, please visit www.wm.edu/strategicplanning.