CELT Strategic Planning Process

CELT Strategic Planning Process

Strategic planning is a process that provides short- and long-term direction to an organization. When done well, strategic plans are the map outlining overall goals as well as paths for achieving these aims. Articles posted online to provide guidance for necessary steps of strategic planning. These articles present step-wise directions including: “1) articulate a vision….3) analyze current situation and performance, 4) set strategic priorities….8) conduct evaluation and progress checks” (Bart, 2009). Even with these steps delineated, centers of teaching and learning often find themselves re-creating the process; spending time, energy, and resources creating documents that could be easily shared and adapted by other centers. 

In 2017, in preparation for an external review, CELT developed the following processes for informing the strategic plan development:

  • Prior to the strategic planning process, staff from our center of excellence in learning and teaching created an internal self-report. The self-report included key sections: the history of the center, an overview of the center in relation to the university, current initiatives, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the initiatives, and statistics of program usage.
  • To ascertain stakeholder feedback from faculty, staff, advisory board members, users of our program, and various levels of administration, we created a 7-question survey that asked participants to qualitatively state the purpose for our center, and rate the importance and satisfaction of our programs, resources, and services.
  • To process, reflect, and make sense of the above data, center staff spent an all-day retreat together. We reviewed the history of the center, determined a desired near future, accessed the current reality, and then created a “victory statement.” The actions to create the victory statement were clustered to create a strategic direction for the organization. View the work in the following images victory statement (left), and current reality (right).

Key outcomes of our strategic planning process resulted in

  • documentation of how our center’s current offerings relate to the university’s mission statement
  • hiring of two faculty fellows focused on key areas of need
  • developing a new one-sentence mission statement
  • creation of new marketing pieces and re-design the web presence
  • identifying areas of collaboration between center staff
  • elimination, and creation of programming to fit within our center’s goals and strategic vision.

By sharing these materials of our strategic planning process that included sufficient data from stakeholders, significant buy-in from center staff, and achievable goals identified and achieved, we hope that other centers can use and adapt this information so that they can focus on the strategic planning content, rather than on the process.

International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Conference, Atlanta, Georgia


Bart, M. (2009, February 9). “Tips for a smooth strategic planning process.” Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/academic-leadership/tips-for-a-smooth-strategic-planning-process/.

Educause. (2019). “Open Educational Resources.” Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/topics/teaching-and-learning/open-educational-resources-oer.