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Strategic Planning Session Thursday, April 12, 2018


Judy Korb


Jay Neal, Associate Vice President, UH Sugar Land
Kathryn Tart, Dean, College of Nursing
Tony Ambler, Dean, College of Technology
Bob McPherson, Dean, College of Education
Dick Phillips, Associate Vice Provost
John McKee, Technical Services Manager
Williard Brewster, Facilities Management Zone Manager
Tim Mock, Student
Beth Johnson, Exec. Director, Public Relations and Community Partnerships
Marisa Ramirez, Senior Director of Communications

Meeting Notes

When we are finished, what will it look like?

  1. An infographic, one to two pages, digestible, useful
  2. One that allows users to click to find out more
  3. Ability to drill down to get more information

Chart, action items, timeline—things that are not for public consumption.

How many strategic initiatives?

  1. 3-5
  2. We can’t answer that without having a mission, but need it for our framework. If you know in the beginning that we are targeting a set number, we’ll know not to go overboard with the initiatives that ultimately may not get to what we really want.
  3. You don’t want more than 5.

What is the shelf life?

  1. 3-5 years
  2. It’s a living document
  3. Nursing’s is one year, that as later changed to 5 years, but we’ll go back every year.

But how many goals is digestible at one time:

  1. Nursing has 4, as provost will hold you accountable for each one you listed.
  2. Start with 3-4 to make it manageable
  3. If it’s a living document, with expectations that go out beyond a year, you can set some stakes knowing we’re heading in that direction, but narrowed to have an operating plan for a year, but it should be reviewed annually/quarterly.

Vision should reflect the excitement of the process. Groups want to know how we are going to do things, how are we special, why is UH at Sugar Land special? Forward focused enough that people want to be involved. People need to be inspired.

How will we measure success?

  1. Doesn’t it depend on our initiatives? Enrollment, development has specific ways to measure enrollment
  2. Is it wise to have numerical goals…increase enrollment by a specific number
  3. How much of an aggressive goal to you set
  4. Nursing had a 10 year plan, what programs to bring on board, how to do interpersonal education, what do we want to do globally. We had a plan for each of these, but we did it as a team, writing it as a game to find out what our number one goal was. Did game with faculty, advisory board and students, where those things aligned we visualized it. Can we sketch a timeline for UH at Sugar Land? That gives you some sort of measurement.
  5. You need something that tells you that we’re making progress or we’re not.

Aspiration goals are scary and it depends on how you are held accountable, and who will hold you accountable. We will want to have a way to measure. We don’t know what that will look like just yet.

Who are our stakeholders?

  1. Students
  2. Faculty and staff
  3. Community
  4. Business community
  5. Donors
  6. Legislators
  7. Accreditors
  8. Alumni
  9. UH
  10. ANY community college
  11. Tenants (WCJC)

UH at Sugar Land should represent a select group of academic programs and research initiatives that are of Tier One quality. What is the value-added quality to the colleges who are being asked to relocate programs to Sugar Land? If there isn’t one, it is a distraction to the college.

Must add to what the colleges already offer.

IF the target is the stakeholders, Wharton College is of some importance but not major importance. It’s more of a hurdle. That serves to create a sense of urgency on the main campus. If deans can see how the location of a program here will accelerate the performance metrics colleges will have to meet.

Who is our target market? That is something we need to define. IF you recruit in high schools, you’re asking them to go to school elsewhere until they are upper level (to take classes as UH at Sugar Land).

Programs with a workforce connection. These things need clarification. We need to know who we serve and where we’re headed and who we’re trying to attract.

If students don’t want programs we’re bringing, there’s no point. Students have to be part of what we’re aiming for.

WCJC has to be in the conversation about a strategic plan. We have to have conversation about alternatives otherwise it changes the dynamic of what we are. What kind of authority do we have to discuss what it should be? We have an obligation to WCJC, they helped start all this. Can we help them elevate themselves, like Blinn College is recognized at A&M?

With Houston GPS, that seamless transition of community college students to 4 year universities, there may be a bigger picture for WCJC. Perhaps outside of the UH at Sugar Land site.

From an outside perspective, how do we work with them and leverage them is a better discussion. On the surface, this should be an amazing pathway, but it isn’t. Three percent is the reality.

Coenrollment model is what works. If students coenroll and take one class at UH, they are UH students..

If that’s a market to go after, we’d go after strategies to go after them. Or decide we’re going in a different direction. WCJC really is a stakeholder..

What is the approval process for goals/initiative?.

  1. Provost
  2. Stakeholders? Or a subset
  3. Advisory Board review

These will have to be vetted before the Provost can approve it. The Chancellor will need to approve it with BOR presentation. May require Coordinating Board, SACCS. We want to avoid a situation where we’re done, but it comes back denied. We need to build into the communication plan that we are getting feedback at each step.

Communication needs to happen at each step of the process. What did we decide and who else needs to know about this---we always need to ask these questions, could be nobody or could be a number of make sure we are communicating out of the right spot. If we have focus groups they’ll expect to have something later. This will be built into the process.

We have decided that the overall UH Mission statement will be at the top of what we’re doing. We’ll review that when we start.

If the process failed, what would have happened, what would be the reasons why this would fail?

  1. No agreement.
  2. Operating too much in Sugar Land loses bigger picture of UH as a whole (it needs to look and feel like UH)
  3. We didn’t develop a sustainable economic plan to keep us moving forward
  4. If we didn’t get enrollments (generating student credit hours that are in line with Tier One)
  5. Not getting buy in to the plan from stakeholders
  6. Not anticipating what kind of programs would attract students
  7. Making assumptions without data to support it (adding programs, dedicating resources)
  8. Funding stream for ideas
  9. Assumptions that UH will support our planning

Strategic plan is always based on some assumptions.

Timeline, Process and Communication

What should the process look like?

  1. This group lays out the basic architecture of the plan, expanding to include key stakeholders, finish out the plan.
  2. Vision/Mission and things fall into place after that
  3. Data gathering, SWOT analysis
  4. Need to decide the structure of the plan
  5. What will we call the goals/strategic/initiatives
  6. Read the mission statement/write a vision statement, not in conflict
  7. 3-5 goals, strategies
  8. Vision—who do we want to be, what do we need to achieve that

Vision has to fit with UH bigger picture. This is not a competing entity. We are part of UH.

There are 3 parts of the UH mission statements: offer nationally and internationally recognized opportunities for diverse students, offer full range of programs and broad research opps, build partnerships.

We have a huge international population and we haven’t tapped into it (in UH at Sugar Land).

We need to craft a defining statement that fits within the mission of UH, need then strategic goals to reach that vision, strategic initiatives that are more specific action steps, then under that a chart of who is responsible for what.

We’ll target 3-5 strategic goals, with multiple initiatives if we want.

Who needs to be involved in crafting the goals?

  1. The steering committee
  2. Parcel these out to subcommittees
  3. Research—SWOT analysis—how are we going to frame our own thoughts around what is the most important thing
    1. Start with what we have
    2. Current enrollments (where are they, where are the zip codes)
    3. Enrollment analysis
    4. Demographics of high school graduates/comm college grads
    5. EDC research
  4. Craft questions for focus groups/stakeholder

With SWOT analysis, who is involved?

  1. EDC
  2. School districts
  3. Not just Sugar Land, but what are state of Texas needs
    1. THECB document 30x60

What background info do we need?

1) Brainstorming to find the data we will need 2) People will be responsible for pieces of that data, presenting to the group later 3) Questions for focus group and then info from those focus groups It’s up to us how much we want to get. Who will need to touch this plan in order to create/maintain buy in? Faculty, staff, students, advisory board? College of Technology has its own focus group. Need to expand that to include nursing and other programs.

Do we need an economic impact study? Have an external agency who could do that? College of Engineering did this in Katy.

We’re getting to the point that we have excitement in the community, but developing a strategic plan may help with support in key projects. Communicating the plan is essential. The mechanism needs to be effective to convey the correct message. SWOT analysis is beneficial to ID what data is missing. How do we quantify our Strengths, Weaknesses, etc. to find what data is missing. Could do more than 1 SWOT analysis. We need to know who will feel like they need to be part of this process. What perspectives do we need to have? Students-current and prospective students. Don’t want to create a false impression of what will be done with the info. Conveying how that will be used.

SWOT with:

  1. Our team
  2. Faculty
  3. Students

See what themes overlap and what the outliers are. Good exercise to work through. Like the idea of getting multiple perspectives. Need to take a deep dive in the data to know where it comes from. Where did 10K enrollment goal come from…what data supported that number.

How long do we think it would take to complete the entire process?

    Several months
  1. By the Christmas holidays
  2. Maybe take the summer to collect data, fall to create goals/initiatives after
  3. SWOT with 3 groups
    1. Steering committee with a couple more faculty and/or students
    2. Reach out to Advisory Board for feedback
    3. After SWOT release to stakeholders
  4. Draft goals 6-10
    1. Put it out there, maybe allow some stakeholders to have a vote on which goals will be pursued (3Dot game)
    2. Build breathing space

Judy /Jay will meet to discuss the structure and next steps.

Marisa will draft a vision/defining statement for group to consider.

We need to decide on faculty member (Margaret Kidd from SCLT).