Background of SVCC Planning

Sauk Valley Community College has conducted strategic planning for many years.  Built on the theme of excellence, the College’s first strategic plan covered the five-year period of 1987 – 1992.  It was modified a year later for the period 1988 – 1992.  The next plan was for 1992 – 1997, and it also was updated a year later for 1993 – 1998.  In 2002, the visiting HLC team examined the 2000 – 2003 Strategic Plan, which reflected the first attempt to link various component plans.  It included the Facilities Plan, Technology Plan, and Marketing Plan with the Strategic Plan in a single publication.  There was also a stand-alone ten-year financial plan.  Linkages among the plans were minimal. Reference

These component plans have been updated and improved regularly.  Departmental operational plans have been written for many years.  As early as the 1997 – 1999 period, the College’s strategic goals were listed as a part of the operational plan heading, but planned activities were not linked to specific objectives until 2003- 2004.  In that cycle, departments also reported at year’s end on the outcomes of their operational plans.

  While well intentioned, the old planning processes had numerous weaknesses.  The plans were intended to set the College’s course and maximize the effectiveness of its actions.  However, since the plans were often prepared in isolation from one another, it was difficult to gain a clear view of all of the planned activities in order to prioritize and link them.  Individuals did planning in isolation from their colleagues, and departments did planning in isolation from other departments.

Departmental operational plans were frequently prepared by administrators with only minimal input from their staff.  The plans did not always include activities identified through other initiatives such as program review and curriculum development.  Many employees played only a minimal role in the planning process.  As a result, the operational plans often received attention when they were written and when the year-end reports were completed.  Little was done with those reports.  In fact, year-end summary reports were written twice without anyone else in the institution being informed that they had been done.

The SVCC planning system also failed to incorporate formal planning into the budgeting process.  While operational plans would assign responsibility for the completion of activities to individuals, getting those activities into the budget was a hit-or-miss endeavor because there was no formal broad-based mechanism to determine priorities or to determine which projects would be funded.