A college cannot serve a community without knowledge of its constituents’ changing needs. Sauk has developed planning processes which rely on information from annual environmental scanning as the basis for determining its Strategic Directions (2A.2). These environmental scan results are regularly incorporated into operational planning and program review processes as the college assesses its capacity to respond to emerging needs, expectations, and desires of stakeholders.
The Office of Institutional Research and Planning is responsible for collecting the data needed to support the environmental scan, which includes district demographics, socio-economic data, and occupational data gathered from a variety of local, state, and national sources. The data collected is also used in creating planning documents such as the Campus Master Plan for facilities and in guiding the development and enhancement of individual programs and services.
Sauk understands that a structured system of engagement is essential to building relationships and that it cannot serve the community without knowledge of its constituents’ needs. Many approaches are used to learn from external constituencies, including formal and informal communication, collaboration with organizations, connection with advisory groups, and grassroots discussions. The college applies information from these sources into its operational planning and program review processes as it assesses its capacity to respond to emerging needs, expectations, and desire of the stakeholders it serves.
The FY11 Strategic Plan objective 4.3 calls for Sauk to systematize the collection and use of community information: “Maintain communication with organizations that have a strategic importance to the college, and act upon information received from those organizations.” Although the primary thrust of this initiative is to glean information from formal and informal relationships, it also serves to encourage employees to continue to be public ambassadors for Sauk. The objective was developed during the self-study when it was discovered that no formal process exists to channel information collected from community involvement into the college:
Several college entities have formal roles in connecting Sauk to its district: