On Strategic Planning and the “Vision Thing”
My school is in the midst of developing its strategic plan. As I understand it, strategic planning is the process of figuring out where an institution wants to be at a certain point in the future as well as how to get there. In this effort, we wasted, er, spent a whole Saturday talking about what we want to become. And, of course, we want to be a first-class school, recognized for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service to the global community. Who doesn’t?
I’d like to hear from two groups of readers: First, to those of you academics who have gone through strategic planning in the past, has the process ever induced you to change your individual priorities, or has your school focused attention on achieving a particular goal, to the detriment of others? I.e., does strategic planning frequently lead a school to say, “We are proud of our teachers, but we really want to make a mark with scholarship,” or does strategic planning tend just to find a new way of stating a commitment to be all things to all people? And if the former, does that change the way individual faculty members approach their jobs?
Second, do students considering which law school to attend care about these statements? I remember reading statements of this type and all but ignoring them because they made the same unverifiable claims about the quality of teaching. Occasionally certain emphases could be discerned, but that was rare. I may be an exception, though, and I would be interested to hear others’ impressions of the importance of these statements from a marketing perspective.