That’s one of the questions the college’s leadership hopes to answer after a series of strategic planning conversations with an array of stakeholders were held this week.
“We’re really excited that we’re embarking on the strategic planning process,” Iowa Central President Jesse Ulrich said. “It was a natural time for us as a college to update our strategic plan. We just got done with our 10-year accreditation cycle on a national level and with a new president, obviously I wanted to make sure that we heard feedback from all of our stakeholders as we develop our vision for the future. ”
The strategic planning conversations welcomed students, faculty, staff and community members to Hodges Fieldhouse and were facilitated by outside consultants John Beranek, of Intersections Consulting, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Kristi Wagner, of Rushmore Center for Civic Leadership in Whitewood, South Dakota..
“How might we acknowledge and align the good work currently being practiced and incorporate new ideas that drive innovation and lead us into the future for Iowa Central Community College?” was the focus question posed by Beranek and Wagner.
Participants sat around tables throughout the gym where they talked with others at their table about topics like campus safety, student and staff retention, affordability, improving facilities, creating positive change and community involvement.
“All of this is to help inform the strategic planning team before they do the strategic planning, so that the group of people who are working on it have actual voices from everyone,” Beranek said. “One of the things we’re trying to eliminate is strategic planning done by a small group who make the decisions for everyone else, so we’re going to have all this data to inform that strategic planning team before they make any strategy.”
It was important for Ulrich to hear as many voices as possible during this strategic planning for the next few years of college.
“No strategic plan is going to be successful without getting all of our stakeholders together and allowing them a platform to say whatever they feel they need to say, to give us feedback on how we can improve,” Ulrich said. “The strategic plan means nothing if you don’t allow people to provide you with feedback in order to help develop it.”
Neely Scharf, a career navigator at Iowa Central, attended the strategic planning discussion on Wednesday morning.
“I always enjoy events like this because it gives us a chance to really step out of our comfort zone and our boxes,” she said. “We each work in a very specific area or department, and this kind of allows us to branch out.”
Scharf said she’s optimistic about the impact these discussions are going to have on the college.
“Overall, I’m really excited to see where Iowa Central is going,” she said. “It’s grown so much and I can really see it growing in the future. I think we’re really headed to new heights and new places and I’m just excited that they allow us to be so involved with this process, too. “
In the next few weeks, Wagner and Beranek will compile the information, data and feedback received during these sessions and present their findings to the design team and a strategic planning team, which will go through the information to hone down on what needs to be focused he.
“We hope to have a draft of our strategic plan completed over the summer, with a full rollout coming this fall semester,” Ulrich said.