LIBERAL Kan. — New Year's resolutions tend to bob to the surface at this point in the year and Seward County Community College is ahead of the game. With board approval of its newly crafted Strategic Plan for 2023-2025, the college is poised to make big, bold steps in the coming year.
"We've been talking about the strategic plan for several months, and that's because we worked hard to put it together much faster than is usually the case," said SCCC President Brad Bennett. "It was definitely time to get it done, but we also wanted to widen the scope. If just one person or a small group writes a strategic plan, great, it looks and sounds perfect but it's probably just going to end up in a three-ring binder gathering dust."
Bennett's vision was a plan that truly included many points of view, from the classroom to the campus to the community. The resulting plan meets the mark.
"I asked four individuals on campus to make a ‘plan for the plan,' and they put in tremendous work to do it," he said. The core team of Dr. Suzanne Campbell, Joel Figgs, Dr. Amber Jones, and Kyle Woodrow set up a plan to host focus groups across multiple sectors in the community, and eventually collected input from more than 250 people. Next, they evaluated the feedback and held additional large-group meetings to refine the results into key strategies.
The process included a re-evaluation of the campus core values, mission and vision statements.
"In a nutshell, we worked to clarify and simplify things," said Bennett. "The important elements are easier to identify and lock on to when there is less wordy material in the way."
The college's new, updated guiding principles are:
Vision: Seward County Community College will be recognized for excellence as a national leader in academic achievement and student success.
Mission: Seward County Community College provides opportunities to enrich and improve each person's life and the advancement of the community and those we serve.
Strategic Directions: Student Success, Institutional Advancement, Communication, and Community.
Core Values: Inclusivity, Diversity, Innovation, and Integrity.
It's common knowledge that resolutions are easy to make and hard to keep, so the college built in tools to stay on course.
"We will conduct an annual assessment to measure which goals have progressed and which ones need more attention," Bennett said. "As we created the strategic directions, we held ourselves to the standard of what's known as SMART goals — projects that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. So the focus is on getting things accomplished. I fully expect us to have several of our three-year goals completed within the first year."
The President's Cabinet will play a key role in keeping the strategic plan in motion. That group of SCCC employees from across the entire campus and from different levels of leadership, meets weekly to measure progress and look for ways to infuse the strategic directions into everyday work at the college.
"One thing I'm excited to work towards is a dynamic dashboard on our website, where we can track progress and goals," Bennett said. "That connects to the measurable and time-bound aspects of the SMART structure, and it will give anyone who is interested a chance to see how we're doing."
Core Values Definitions:
Inclusivity: Engaging all voices through practice and policy. Diversity: Celebrating the range of human differences. Innovation: Embracing the future through creativity. Integrity: Valuing others in all we do through honesty and respect.