The requirement for the development of strategic plans at all three public institutions of higher education was established by the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education in 2003. In addition, the development of PLAN 150 addresses a number of issues of importance noted by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the College's accrediting agency, that requested a 5-year interim report due in the Fall of 2005 that addresses the institution's success in "engaging in comprehensive and participatory strategic planning."
The four-month process of developing Plan 150 emphasized broad representative participation from all sectors of the College community. As described below, numerous opportunities for exhaustive and detailed participation were provided to every member of the College community:
- November-early December, 2003: Strategic planning approaches discussed/considered by the President's Executive Committee. (The President's Executive Committee also acts as the Strategic Planning Cabinet.) Personnel appointed to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
- Mid-December, 2003: Strategic Planning Steering Committee Convened. Agenda included: (a) Consideration of a set of planning assumptions (derived from the current literature in planning and higher education); (b) Review of the College's mission statement; (c) Adoption of a draft of a College vision statement; (d) Completion of an exercise to identify the College's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT); and (e) identification of a proposed set of goals and objectives as an "advanced organizer" to facilitate the planning process.
- January - February, 2004: Two rounds of a modified-Delphi technique survey of all faculty and staff (a) to determine the degree of consensus on the proposed goals/objectives, and (b) to identify and to determine consensus on additional proposed goals/objectives. (Over 175 faculty/staff personnel participated in one or both rounds of the survey.)
- Late-February, 2004: Three college-wide open meetings were held to refine goals and objectives; and to engage further the College community in determining consensus on objectives to be incorporated into the plan.
- Early-March, 2004: Development of specific action steps intended to achieve identified objectives. Appointment of personnel to the Strategic Plan Monitoring Task Force.
- Late-March, 2004: Strategic Plan finalized and forwarded to Office of Higher Education.
While PLAN 150 represents a strong and comprehensive starting point, it is intended to be a living document that will evolve based upon the findings of those who are entrusted with carrying out those Strategic Actions that comprise the core of the plan. In addition, the need to evaluate the success of the Plan and to add to the Plan in succeeding years will require the continued participation of the College community.