Back See this section in context: Criterion 2 Core Component 2A
2A.2: Environmental Scanning Identifies Emerging Factors
Sauk has experimented with and modified its environmental scanning during the past few years in conjunction with developing and improving its strategic planning system:
- FY05: In the first version of the planning system, Internal and External Review Teams were responsible for conducting an annual SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis and presenting it to OPIC, which was charged with developing planning recommendations.
- FY08: Early in the year, the Internal and External Review Teams were disbanded after OPIC rejected the SWOT analysis as not being data-based. OPIC assumed responsibility for the SWOT and participated in training in the method. However, the committee members remained dissatisfied with lack of data in the SWOT it conducted and with the lack of mission focus in the actions that resulted from it.
- FY09: Under a revised planning system, OPIC was reorganized to focus exclusively on planning, and all responsibilities not directly related to planning were removed from its charge. OPIC began preparing a new Strategic Plan, replacing SWOT with an environmental scan of institutional, regional, and state data:
Summaries of the data and OPIC’s conclusions were presented to and discussed by faculty, administrators, and the Board of Trustees. OPIC’s data-based findings became the basis for the Strategic Directions implemented in FY11.
- Comparative data with peer colleges and statewide averages provided by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB);
- District demographic data generated from a variety of state and federal data websites;
- Data concerning Illinois’ financial status obtained from various State of Illinois websites.
- FY11: OPIC finalized the procedures and a timeline to create a rolling plan, which will enable Sauk to annually evaluate progress toward achieving the Mission and Vision, conduct a mini-environmental scan, and adapt the Strategic Plan as necessary.
The goals and objectives of the FY11 Strategic Plan address the factors that emerged during the environmental scan as being the most important to the college.
- Demographic shifts: Sauk discovered that the total population of the college district has been slowly shrinking; the proportion of Hispanics is increasing; the overall population is getting older; and the number of school-age children is declining. In response to these shifts, the Strategic Plan includes objectives to increase the enrollment of high school graduates, minority students, and non-traditional-age students ( Profile).
- Globalization: The college has a long history of involvement with local and regional economic development. Sauk views local and regional involvement as being crucial to staying abreast of emerging globalization factors. Further, as the college obtains new information and conducts planning activities, it is presumed that globalization issues as well as local community needs will be addressed by objectives to expand alternate delivery methods, assess community needs, and work more closely with organizations “that have a strategic importance to the college.”
- Technology: Technology is not only a subject to teach, but an administrative and instructional tool for the institution. Sauk strives to keep instructional technology updated so students’ skills and knowledge are current. To make sure all technology decisions are wise ones, the Strategic Plan includes an objective to use technology “to improve the quality and efficiencies of programs, services, and operations.”