What Is a University Strategic Plan?

Before we get familiarized with their respective strategic plan, let’s take a closer look into what a university is all about. In its most basic definition, a university is an institution of higher learning that generally consists of a college of liberal arts, sciences, graduate, and professional schools and has the ability to issue degrees in a variety of disciplines of study. It was initially known as student and teacher groups with common legal rights typically protected by charters given by the communities in which they were based. Nowadays, in modern times, the interpretation of this phrase has evolved, and now it refers to a higher education institution that primarily teaches non-vocational courses and generally confers degrees.

In order for a university to stay on track and properly evolve to effectively cater to its students, faculty, and anyone who works in it, and to achieve its respective goals, a comprehensive university strategic plan needs to be involved. This is considered to be a business document that lays out the course that an institution should follow. In other words, this document usually lays out the logical processes that the organization must take to go from the beginning to the completion of its goals. This document often highlights the necessity of strategic planning at a university, that can contribute to long-term success for the institution. Creating this document normally necessitates a lot of thinking and planning on the part of a university’s senior management, and it’s regarded as crucial since, without it, the institution may lose out on new chances, and the absence of it could even hinder their own growth.

What’s In a University Strategic Plan?

Since this document is considered essential for the growth of a university, it needs to be effective. And in order for the university strategic plan (or any type of strategic plan) to be effective, it needs to have the following key components in place:

Executive Summary. The executive summary section of this document is the first key component that a reader sees when this document is being read. Even though this is the first one that appears in a strategic plan, this is written last. The important aspects of the university strategic plan should be summarized in an executive summary. It should repeat the aim of the whole document, emphasize the key aspects of the strategic plan, and provide the reader with an overview of the university’s accomplishments and goals (usually long-term goals). The most essential thing to remember here is that, because this is an executive summary, it should be brief but concise at the same time.Mission Statement. After the executive summary, this key component of the university strategic plan comes next. The mission statement of this document is a long-term explanation of why the university exists and what it aspires to be. It outlines the institution’s objectives as well as how the university plans to achieve them. A strategic plan must include a clear description of the university’s mission and rationale for being. It might include answers to queries like why the university was founded and what the institution hopes to achieve by developing it and making its knowledge and services available to the public.Vision Statement. This key component of the strategic plan will usually come after the vision statement. In contrast to the mission statement, the strategic plan’s vision statement will be shorter and more concise, and it will give a picture of how the institution should resemble in the future. As a result, it should inspire the appropriate individuals (students, teachers, staff, and even stakeholders) to achieve their goals. It should be highlighted that, while this aspect of the strategic plan may take some time to implement, it nevertheless serves as a crucial basis for expanding the strategy.Core Values. Right after the vision statement, the core values section of the strategic plan comes next. When writing this component of the strategic plan, keep in mind that the fundamental values should define the university’s key do’s and don’ts. To put it another way, the core values must include the critical concepts that must guide executives and workers in their daily and long-term decision-making. In addition, while defining core principles, consider honing ideas that are already part of the university’s culture. It also helps to establish the university’s basic ideas in the eyes of all stakeholders by stating them on paper.SWOT Analysis. This key component of the university strategic plan comes right next to the core values section. What does SWOT mean, you may ask? Well, it simply refers to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis summarizes the present state of the university from these four main aspects. By conducting this analysis, the university gives itself a glimpse of the options available to them, as well as the potential pitfalls they may face, as well as the resources available to assist them along the road. This section of the strategic plan must also contain an analysis of the university’s competitive edge, also known as the unique selling feature that puts them ahead of the competition.Long Term Goals. This section of the strategic plan comes after the SWOT analysis. Long-term objectives are statements that dig deeper into the vision and explain how the university intends to accomplish it. These are generally the benchmarks that the institution establishes to drive operations toward its long-term goals. This collection of objectives generally begins in the near future and progresses through time, matching the university’s purpose and vision statements. In other words, these are the areas where the institution should focus in order to realize its mission.General Strategies. After the long-term goals section of the university strategic plan, the general strategies will come next. The institution should group the general measures that they will utilize in order to attain their objectives, and hence their vision, in this portion of the university strategic plan. With it in place, the university may establish the institution’s shorter-term goals and performance initiatives, which define the most critical resources that will be used to achieve them. To go even more detailed on operational matters, the university will have to dig deeper and address the question of how they plan to achieve the goals they’ve established.Action Plans. This key component of the university strategic plan comes after the general strategies section. This section of the university strategic plan says that each goal that the university sets should be accompanied by an action plan that outlines how the goals will be met. The degree of information included in the action plan is mostly determined by the level of flexibility desired by the university’s key individuals and team. It should be remembered that the more specific the action plan is, the less freedom that the individuals who implement it will have.Operations Plan. This section of the university strategic plan usually gets written after the action plans and is usually the last important bit present in this document. An operational plan essentially lays out the actions and goals that the university will pursue in order to achieve the goals and objectives that they’ve set in the strategic plan. The foundation for the university’s day-to-day activities is often provided in this portion of the strategic plan. This component normally spans a year’s worth of time. This is a necessary component because the strategic plan must be backed up by annual operational plans. A university’s operations plan is usually produced by senior employees, but it must be approved by the board.

Steps in the Strategic Planning Process

Here are the necessary steps that should be undertaken during the strategic planning process in order to ensure that the goals that the institution has set will be achieved which will serve as a solid stepping stone for solid growth and success:

1. Determining the Strategic Position

This is the first step that needs to be one in the strategic planning process. Here, everyone at the institution should be aware of their current situation in order to identify where they have to go and how they can get there. Include the appropriate stakeholders from the beginning, taking into account both internal and external sources. Hold discussions with the university’s key people to identify significant strategic concerns. This will provide everyone with a clear image of where they are in relation to their competition. Creating mission and vision statements may also assist everyone to understand what success will look like for the university. Review the core values as well to remind people of how the institution intends to achieve its goals.

2. Sort the Objectives

After determining where the university stands in relation to its competitors and strategic position, it’s time to sort the objectives that the university has set. Keep in mind that the objectives should be in line with the university’s purpose and vision. Remain aware of factors like which initiatives will have the strongest role in accomplishing the university’s mission/vision, what forms of impact are regarded to be the most crucial, how the competition will respond, which initiatives are most essential, what needs to be undertaken to accomplish the objectives, and how progress will be evaluated to ascertain if the goals have been achieved or not in order to properly prioritize objectives. Furthermore, the objectives should be unique and quantifiable in order to assist the institution in achieving its long-term strategic goals and ambitions.

3. Develop a Plan

After sorting out the objectives that have been set by the university in the previous step, it’s time to develop the strategic plan. Creating a strategic plan necessitates identifying the strategies required to achieve the goals, as well as establishing a schedule and clearly outlining responsibilities. Strategy plans are seen to be excellent tools for visualizing the university’s overall plan. Additionally, be prepared to utilize the company’s values, mission statement, and stated goals to say “no” to efforts that will not improve the university’s long-term strategic position.

4. Execute and Manage the Strategic Plan

After creating a strategic plan that is tailor-made to the university’s objectives, it’s time to proceed to this step. The most important step in implementing the strategic plan is to convey it to the institution by distributing necessary information. Employ a granular approach to effectively convey team responsibilities by illustrating the plan’s completion process for each step along the road. Regular evaluations with key people may be set up to verify that the university is on schedule with the goals they’ve established while managing the strategic plan.

5. Review and Revise the Strategic Plan

After executing and managing the strategic plan, the final step that needs to be done is to review it and revise it accordingly. The university can examine its goals and course-correct based on past achievements or failures by reviewing and amending its strategic plan. Determine which targets the team has fulfilled and how they can continue to meet them in the short term, adjusting the strategic plan as needed. Reevaluate the goals and strategic positions on a long-term basis to ensure that the institution is on course for long-term success. The university’s established mission and vision may need to evolve over time. An annual assessment is an excellent opportunity to think about those changes, make a new strategy, and put it into action.


What does strategy mean?

Under uncertain conditions, a strategy is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term or overall goals. It comes from an ancient Greek phrase “strategia” which refers to the art of preparing military resources for battle. This is particularly crucial in some firms since the means available to fulfill objectives are typically restricted. Setting objectives and priorities, defining steps to reach the goals, and mobilizing resources to carry out the activities are all part of a strategy.

Can strategy planning empower the employees of an organization?

Yes, it can. The employees’ perception of efficacy and involvement in the company’s overall performance is strengthened through enhanced conversation and communication at all stages of the strategic planning process. As a result, decentralizing the strategic planning process by incorporating lower-level managers and people throughout the business is critical.

Who participates in the strategic planning process?

The top executives who participate in the first strategic planning process are usually the ones that are participating in the entirety of the strategic planning process. Following the creation of the first plan, leaders would frequently contact their teams, sometimes to solicit feedback and many other times to advise them about forthcoming policy changes. All the company staff is typically responsible for executing the strategic plan initiatives and monitoring progress once they have been developed. Although specific offices may keep track of their sub-goals, formal, continuous performance monitoring is normally the duty of senior leadership.

Strategic planning is increasingly used by universities (as well as other establishments or companies) to formulate and implement an effective decision-making process. Having a document such as a strategic plan will help the said establishment maintain a long-term overview and will also guide them in making decisions that will serve as a solid foundation for their long-term growth and success. In this article, there are plenty of sample templates that can help you in creating this document should you need to do so for your university.