The example below illustrates one method for: 1) identifying strategic priorities at a small private liberal arts college (i.e., Lasell College), and 2) aligning the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments with these priorities.
Lasell College is a small (approximately 2,000 students) private baccalaureate college in Newton, MA. Lasell has a strategic plan with goals set for 2017. Given this plan is relevant for only for the remainder of this year, we would typically do a more extensive search for strategic planning materials that hint at or state new directions for institutional priorities. Sources might include presidential speeches, interviews with executive leaders, formal or informal meetings discussing new strategic planning processes, etc.
For the purposes of this exercise, we assumed the strategic plan was relevant for Lasell and conducted a brief mapping and alignment exercise.
Compiling Data Sources
To assess the values that may guide this planning effort, we developed a list of data sources, including presidential speeches and news releases. As stated above, this very brief analysis relies heavily on the strategic plan setting goals for 2017. Please note that the priorities below are the result of a brief and independent analysis and do not necessarily reflect the official views or priorities of the institution.
When priority mapping with a completed and relevant plan, we suggest drawing headings and subheadings for priority areas directly from the plan, honoring any strategic orientation presented within the documents. We used headings provided in Lasell’s plan (i.e., Facilities, Institutional, Students, Academic) in the map below and arranged these priority areas to best illustrate the overlap between categories and outcomes.
Next, we reviewed each priority to determine whether the Commitments or commitment-related activities can contribute or support that priority and, if so, how. Remember, each of these statements aims to answer the question: “What value do the commitments add to this priority?” These are scenarios under which Lasell stakeholders could:
- Make a case for the value of past, existing, or potential commitment-related programming to core institutional objectives;
- Identify connections with new stakeholders and strengthen sustainability or Commitment-related organizational structures;
- Collaborate with executive leadership on potential areas where sustainability or Commitment-related objectives could support and/or be integrated into strategic planning efforts; or
- Deepen stakeholder understanding of the role of the Commitments in supporting institutional priorities, among others.