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Strategic Plan for Excellence

2015-2018 Strategic Plan

Parkland College continues to experience significant change in terms of technology, pedagogy, student needs and preparation, and community employment needs and expectations. A college-wide planning process enables Parkland to better respond to changing external and internal needs. Parkland College must strengthen ties to the community it serves to enhance its premier community college status in the state, region, and nation.

In order to be a premier community college, quality must imbue every process, every system, every classroom, every program, and every service provided by Parkland. This philosophy will result in the highest standards of teaching and learning; unmatched customer service to students, to constituents, and to each other; greater creativity and innovation; and an institution-wide climate of excellence, second to none.

The Parkland College planning process is based on its mission and purposes statement and continues to evolve and be reviewed and refined. The following three objectives, however, remain constant:
  • To develop a participatory, consensus-based planning process that involves the internal and external college community.
  • To integrate the vision, goals, and strategies of the college’s strategic plan into budget and operational planning.
  • To develop the capacity to identify, collect, and interpret significant information about important influences on the college’s future
The strategies in Parkland College: 2015-2018 will enable the college to address and achieve these objectives. The result is a consensus-driven, integrated, and efficient planning process. The Parkland College Association College Planning Committee sincerely thanks the many community and college members who provided their input.

This plan reflects a deepening awareness not only of how much Parkland College has accomplished since its formation in 1966, but also of the many opportunities that lie ahead. This plan builds on these accomplishments by focusing on continuously improving the quality of teaching and learning and the services that support them.

A Vision of Parkland in 2018

Parkland’s Core Values will guide the direction of the college and the decisions made on a daily basis and it is well known that the mission of Parkland College is to engage the community in learning.

The faculty and staff are engaged with and supportive of our students, recognizing that learning happens in different places, at different paces, and in different ways as the teaching and learning process is equal parts art and science.

Our students are supported by a carefully constructed first-year experience that connects academic and student services. Our Center for Academic Success is well known and all students are directly connected to a full range of support services.

Parkland students, no matter where they are in the world, will have access to these same support services, including library resources, online technical assistance, tutoring, financial aid, career planning, and mentoring. Individuals who are not yet ready for college-level learning and who have minimal career opportunities will be supported by a training continuum in which they can access adult education, short-term skills training, job-readiness skills, life-skills training, and connections to employers.

All are familiar with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning because it is the place where professional development occurs; instructional skills workshops, seminars, and courses that effectively address the professional needs of faculty and staff are delivered regularly and open to all. Our desire to sustain and grow Parkland’s reputation as a premier learning institution continues to support ongoing professional development of both faculty and staff.

Continuing our service as a key resource to our district in terms of economic and workforce development, we understand the pressures facing businesses and industry. We understand our role in supporting organizations that need skilled employees that move quickly into jobs and advanced education. Parkland College remains the first, best option to provide employees with opportunities to attain certifications that meet worldwide quality standards.

Nearly every aspect of the college is reviewed and evaluated in order to streamline procedures and to be more responsive to emerging needs. As the call for accountability at the federal and state levels grows, our staff and faculty continue to embrace the philosophy of using data aggressively — and sharing it. We know that “hard numbers” can be persuasive with many audiences: legislators, high school administrators, Trustees, our community, and others.

Programs and services will remain agile and innovative based on the needs and demographics of our community. As demand for technology-assisted instruction increases, Parkland will remain a leader in making learning available at anytime and in anyplace.

Diversity and inclusiveness will permeate Parkland’s learning culture, our hiring practices, pedagogy, programs and services, curricula, and policies. Parkland will continue to be a convener and a safe, common ground for solving our community’s most challenging problems and embrace our role by fostering a more sustainable campus through management of our physical resources, curricular development, and in outreach to the community.

Derived from a desire to better serve our communities and students and to improve the college’s financial stability, Parkland College will continue to assess long-range fiscal health. It is common practice to look beyond conventional sources of income and partners as well as conventional instructional methods and program structure. We seek to adapt to change and to streamline our processes.

We will demonstrate the highest return for donors interested in providing a stable, reliable funding source that enhances development, promotes economic growth, and affords access to higher education for Parkland College students.

Finally, our reputation as a premier community college will be based on our commitment to support and care about each other, to grow together professionally, and to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.

Goal A
Quality - Parkland College will maintain the highest educational standards for the delivery of quality instruction and services to meet the needs of its diverse population.

A.1 Implement policies and practices that promote academic rigor, transparency, and accountability.

A.2 Employ the Voluntary Framework of Accountability and the National Community College Benchmarking Project Performance Indicators to measure student learning and completion.

A.3 Cultivate the practice of sustainability principles and their integration into curricula.

A.4 Develop and support student data systems, predictive analytics, educational diagnostics, learning management systems, and institutional research, as well as professional development that enhances the understanding and use of these tools.

A.5 Continue improving the design and delivery of developmental education, creating evidence-based pathways that accelerate students' progress toward successful college-level work.

Goal B
Completion – Parkland College will fully implement enrollment development and management plans that maximize enrollment, student persistence, course retention and progression, and completion.

B.1 Continue to measure Parkland's student persistence, course retention, and completion rates, and improve performance where needed to ensure students are successful in achieving their educational goals.

B.2 Prepare and orient newly admitted students before instruction begins, creating the essential foundation for their success in college. *

B.3 Prioritize the student’s first year across all areas of the college. First Year Experience programming will be infused into the classroom, staff/faculty-student interactions, fund-raising, and alumni outreach. *

B.4 Promote success and sustain students through key milestones in achieving completion or vertical transfer. *

B.5 Dramatically increase the completion rates of students earning community college credentials (certificates and associate degrees) while preserving access and enhancing quality.

B.6 Devise strategies to identify students who have earned 30 credit hours and assist them in earning credentials.

B.7 Develop and implement degree completion and reverse transfer agreements with Parkland College’s top transfer destinations.

B.8 Fully implement an enrollment management plan that aligns enrollment, course retention, and staffing in each career program with the employment needs of the community, as well as in each transfer program area with the baccalaureate needs of students.

B.9 Dramatically reduce credential attainment gaps associated with income, race, ethnicity, and gender.

Goal C
Collaboration – Parkland College will continue its regional leadership in developing and delivering career, technical, training, and workforce preparation programs in partnership with business and industry and District 505 schools.

C.1 Align explicit expectations defining readiness for college-level work with enhanced expectations for high school graduation, while collaborating on implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

C.2 Implement effective collaborations with K-12 districts at both the leadership and faculty levels that develop a college-going culture, build students' college success skills, and expand dual/concurrent enrollment and other strategies for accelerating the progress of students on the college pathway.

C.3 Develop technology-based tools that will access available labor market data to identify and monitor skills gaps in our district.

C.4 Market the mission, programs, and services of Parkland College effectively so that constituents fully understand the comprehensive programs offered, as well as the role of these programs in the support and development of District 505 communities.

Goal D
Engagement – Parkland College will build capacity for accurately identifying unfilled labor market needs and for ensuring that career education and training programs are streamlined to address those high-need areas.

D.1 Expand Parkland College's role in economic and workforce development by developing local, regional, and global partnerships with business and industry, government agencies, health providers, and the agricultural community, and by providing and coordinating the majority of training in District 505.

D.2 Mobilize partnerships to accomplish a collaborative agenda that ensures that program planning targets skills gaps; promotes the associate degree as a desired employment credential; and establishes alternative models for completing skills-based credentials, including classroom instruction, online learning, credit for prior learning, and on-the-job learning.

D.3 Provide credit and non-credit life-long learning and other educational opportunities to members of the District 505 community.

D.4 Further develop partnerships with the University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University, and others to better serve students.

Goal E
Responsibility - Parkland College will maximize the development and efficient use of its human, technological, and fiscal resources to maintain its financial vitality.

E.1 Communicate and implement Parkland’s established core values to guide conduct and practices of Parkland College students, faculty, staff, and administration.

E.2 Continue to give high priority to maintenance and replacement of instructional and institutional equipment, and to the completion of an infrastructure capital improvement plan.

E.3 Continue to systematically monitor institutional effectiveness and accountability and make continuous improvements in the quality of educational and student services.

E.4 Enhance efforts to identify Parkland College Alumni and connect them to opportunities for fundraising, mentoring, business partnerships, and providing technical expertise.

E.5 Develop and implement external funding plans through the Foundation to support key College projects and offset declining government support through public/private partnerships, fund-raising, and alumni outreach.
E.6 Implement the key components of the Parkland College Technology Master Plan of 2014.

* From the 2012 Student Success and Completion Plan

Our Process
Initiated in 1991, Parkland’s institutional planning process is an evolving process committed to using data based projections and knowledge regarding the impact of known future events to anticipate opportunities and threats that will require responses. The College Planning Committee (a standing committee of the Parkland College Association) continues to refine a consensus-based planning process that involves the entire college community and to connect Parkland's planning priorities with the college budget.

Institutional planning consists of three component processes: strategic planning, annual planning and budget planning.

Strategic Planning
The College’s Strategic Plan is a projection of the most important directions in which Parkland must move during the next five years. In even-numbered years, these directions are reviewed and adjusted, as needed, based on the following factors: evaluation of planning effectiveness for previous years; college performance indicators and environmental scanning of key data and trends; input from faculty, staff, community leaders, and organizations that have a stake in the College’s future. These results are used by the College Planning Committee to revise Parkland’s 5-Year Strategic Plan, which is presented to the PCA Senate and the Board of Trustees for approval. The College Planning Committee and all departments and units use this plan as a basis for developing the next college and unit Annual plans that, in turn, drive budgetary priorities and initiatives.
The strategic planning process begins with a situational analysis, both internal and external to the college.
Internally, the College Planning Committee may utilize the following plans and inputs:

  • College Strategic Plan
  • Focused Strategic Plans
  • Department Strategic Plans
  • Annual Plan
  • Technology Master Plan
  • ADA Plan
  • Drainage Master Plan
  • Facilities Master Plan
  • Facilities Maintenance Master Plan
  • Enrollment Management Plan
  • Retention Plan
  • Marketing Plan
  • Staffing Plan
  • Disaster/Crisis Management Plan
Other Inputs:
  • Performance Indicators
  • Environmental Scanning Data
  • College Surveys
  • Student Occupational Follow-up Survey
  • Transfer Program Graduate Follow-up Survey
  • Community College Student Survey of Engagement (CCSSE)
  • Faculty/Staff/Administrator Climate Survey
  • Program Review
  • Academic Assessment
  • Institutional Effectiveness
  • Externally, Parkland has made use of Futures Conferences, Bus Tours, School Board meetings/surveys, and town hall meetings as part of our external situational analysis.
Other potential external sources of data:
  • Employment or job availability
  • Economic health or vitality indicators
  • Demographic changes at the local, state, and national levels
  • Employer need and satisfaction surveys
  • Technological developments
  • Economic development activities
  • Budget projections and contributing factors
  • Federal, state, and local support
  • Federal and state programs and services
  • Availability of grants and other external funding resources
  • Curriculum and program development in state colleges and universities
  • Changes in district educational services that might enhance or detract from future enrollments
  • Factors affecting attendance by potential traditional or nontraditional students
  • High-school enrollment and graduation rates
  • Comparative analysis with other community colleges, in terms of salaries, full-time: part-time faculty ratio, programs/services, class sizes, credit hour production, unit costs, etc.
  • Follow-up studies of Parkland graduates
  • Financial support of Parkland College Foundation
  • Program Advisory Boards
Annual Planning
The College’s Annual Plan is developed, using a one-year planning model. During the fall of each year, an annual plan is developed for the following fiscal year. This plan includes specific action plans to be implemented in the next academic/budget year and beyond, where appropriate.
The components of the Annual Plan comprise an outline of actions that will implement the goals and strategies of the 5-Year Strategic Plan. Each fall, faculty, staff, and administrators use the college strategic plan and focused strategic plans, such as those in Agriculture, Information Technology, Industrial Technologies, Health Care, and Workforce Development, to develop tasks or “actions” to be accomplished in the next fiscal year. This task list, or “action plan” is submitted online (http://cold.parkland.edu) to the appropriate administrator, who synthesizes the proposals into an Annual Plan for his/her area of responsibility.
These plans are forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Services and combined into a college-wide Annual Plan.
The results of program advisory committee meetings, academic and support assessment, and the program review process required by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) are also used to develop action plans.
These action plans are submitted to the appropriate administrators, who then develop annual plans for their areas and submit them to the chair of the College Planning Committee, who prepares an initial draft for the committee’s review and discussion. The chair of the College Planning Committee distributes the revised draft to all faculty, staff, and administrators via e-mail for comment. Revisions based on these comments are made, and the College Planning Committee approves final drafts of the plan. A status report for the current year’s Annual Plan is developed presented to faculty and staff each August.
Budget Planning
Each annual college and department/unit budget is built using the Annual Plan as a guide. The action items submitted to the Annual Planning process are separated into four categories: personnel requests, instructional and equipment requests, remodeling and renovation requests, and other action proposals.
The annual staffing plan consists of the full-time faculty plan and all other personnel and is submitted to the Board of Trustees each December. The full-time faculty staffing plan is developed by the Vice President for Academic Services and Department Chair Council, using course enrollments, faculty load, known/projected faculty retirement/vacancy, and new program-development information. The Board of Trustees authorizes a given number of full-time faculty positions through the staffing plan.
For remaining personnel requests, the President and Vice Presidents consider the annual plan requests and make recommendations for the annual staffing plan. Each unit in ranked order based on strategic goals, annual planning goals and department/unit needs, submits equipment requests. The equipment requests are separated into those that can be grant-funded and those that must be college-funded. The Vice President for Academic Services and the Vice President for Administrative Services, who manages the budget, set an annual total-available-equipment-budget allocation amount that the Vice President for Academic Services, in consultation with each department chair or unit director, then allocates to units based on their prioritized requests.
Department and unit budgets are prepared and included in the initial college budget, using the action plans as a guide. Contract-based items and basic operating costs are included. All approved full-time positions included in the staffing plan are budgeted at approved salary levels. Part-time salary projections are based on historical cost and enrollment projections.
Once the department/unit budget is prepared, the Vice President for Academic Services meets with each department chair/unit director to review the budget and the action plans. Any action plan proposal for which budget resources are not available is marked as such on the department/unit action plan. The action plans become the annual plan for the department/unit and are returned to the department/unit in the fall for review and implementation. In spring of each fiscal year, department/unit administrators update the status of the implementation, indicating whether the action plan item has been completed, in-progress, etc.
Early in the budget process, the President determines an allocation from the budget to be set aside for funding annual planning initiatives not included in the initial budget (the Innovation Fund). The Vice President for Academic Services, Vice President for Administrative Services, and other Executive Team representatives then review the annual plan and action items and indicate those not included in the initial budget (e.g., funded through other resources) for the following fiscal year. The College Planning Committee places these items on a list of possible annual planning initiatives submitted for review. Initiative developers are invited to make presentations to the Committee.
Following discussion of the proposed action plans, the College Planning Committee members rank all presented items. The activities are then funded, according to their ranked order, within the constraints of the budget. Funded initiatives are budgeted within the annual planning section of the college budget and do not necessarily carry over to the succeeding year’s department/unit budget.
The College Planning Committee and Executive Team will review any continuing initiative for possible inclusion in the following year’s budget, based on its own merits. Any action plan proposal for which budget sources are not available is deleted from the one-year Annual Plan. These plans may be submitted in the next Annual Planning cycle.
The resulting Annual Plan is sent to the faculty and staff each fall and to the Board of Trustees. The executive team, department chairs, and unit directors are responsible for completing their respective action plans, to the best of their abilities, during the following fiscal year.
Definition of Strategic Planning
A systematic, formally documented process for deciding the handful of key decisions that an organization, viewed as a whole, must get right in order to thrive over the next few years. The process results in the production of a strategic plan.
The key components of 'strategic planning' include an understanding of the vision, mission, values, strategies and objectives.
  • Vision:
    A vision statement is a declaration of where you are headed -- a future state -- to formulate a picture of what the colleges’ future makeup will be, and where the organization is headed. In other words, it is an "idealized" view of the world.
    It is a long-term view and concentrates on the future. It can be emotive and is a source of inspiration. The creation of the vision statement is generally the responsibility of the president.
  • Mission:
    Defines the fundamental purpose of an organization or an enterprise, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does to achieve its vision. A college-wide process is employed to revise the mission as needed.
  • Core Values:
    Core Values are the soul of our College. They are what we collectively stand for, what we hold dear, and what we believe. Core values inform both mission and vision and as such are indispensable to strategic planning. We cannot get people to “buy into” our values. We can only seek people who are predisposed to share them.
  • Strategy or Strategic Goals:
    Strategy, narrowly defined, means "the art of the general" - a combination of the ends (goals) for which the college is striving and the means (policies) by which it is seeking to get there.
    A strategy is sometimes called a roadmap - which is the path chosen to plow towards the end vision. The most important part of implementing the strategy is ensuring the college is going in the right direction, which is towards the end vision. Strategies describe a general approach or method; they don’t describe specific activities or projects.The College Planning Committee is responsible for creating 4-5 broad strategic goals that form the basis of our strategic plan. Goals typically address teaching and learning, student support, fiscal and physical viability, workforce development, and partnerships with district constituencies.
  • Action Plans (Operational/Tactical):
    Statements of how the organization deploys resources to accomplish specific objectives. They include measureable objectives, tasks, and milestones.
    Action plans are the programs, projects, or activities, prioritized annually, which must be accomplished in order to achieve a stated strategic goal. Individuals, groups, departments, and offices are the sponsors of action plans and responsible for their advancement.
    Action items are entered into the annual planning database.
  • Performance Indicators (KPIs):
    Key Performance Indicators are measures of an essential performance outcome of a particular organizational performance activity or an important indicator of a precise health condition of an organization.
    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide the foundation that allows strategic planning to answer these fundamental questions:
  1. What measures will our stakeholders (both internal and external) use to determine whether we are being successful? Put another way, what are our obligations as an educational institution and how can our successful achievement of these obligations be measured?
  2. What are the most important outcomes of performance that will demonstrate our success?
  3. What are the institutional factors of which we must be continually aware and attempt to control (e.g., budget allocations, grants, public relations, retention, recruitment)?
To be of legitimate use in strategic planning, performance indicators must be clearly defined, measurable, have an identifiable and consistent method of measuring over time, and must clearly articulate and connect to a specific goal that the college wishes to achieve or a direction it wishes to head.
Each performance indicator should have an associated benchmark. Benchmarking is the process is used in strategic management by which colleges evaluate various aspects of their processes/performance in relation to others, usually within a peer group defined for the purposes of comparison. This then allows the college to develop plans on how to make improvements or adapt specific best practices, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance.

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2400 West Bradley Ave | Champaign, IL 61821 | 217.351.2200 | 888.467.6065
The Mission of Parkland College is to engage the community in learning.