The Brown School will be using a Collaborative Strategic Planning (CSP) process, designed specifically for higher education by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It comprises  five phases that are designed to create commitment for the implementation of the strategic plan.

The process depends on five grounding principles, which include:

• Meaningful engagement of institutional stakeholders
• Transparency and information sharing throughout
• The role of an external consultant to build capacity and guide, but not direct the process
• Attention to external issues and trends
• Engagement of external stakeholders, such as alumni and community partners

About the Five Phases

Phase I: Getting Organized

January – February 2019

This phase involves establishing the Planning Task Force (PTF) and the Core Planning Team (CPT), determining the calendar of events for the year, and the initial launch meeting of the PTF. At this initial meeting, the PTF performs a SWOT analysis and key stakeholder analysis.

Phase II: Data Gathering and Engagement

March – June 2019

During this phase, the Core Planning Team (CPT) trains members of the Planning Task Force (PTF) to be listening session facilitators and recorders. They then lead sessions with identified stakeholders to assess the School’s current position and future opportunities through activities like SWOT analysis.

The CPT also develops and distributes an online survey to key audiences, which will collect additional feedback from those unable to attend listening sessions.

Listening session data and survey data is summarized by the CPT and utilized for Phase III.

Phase III: Making Sense of the Issues

June – August 2019

During this phase, we convene the sense-making meeting and identify the strategic themes that surfaced during the stakeholder listening sessions.
From there, in small groups, the PTF develops concept papers that each focus around a key theme and provide historic and current context from a regional, national and international perspective, taking into account all stakeholder audiences.

Phase IV: The Vision Conference

September 2019

This conference is attended by both the PTF members and additional stakeholders from our key audiences. The Vision Conference allows the larger group to review and discuss the concept papers and develop a draft vision statement for the School

Phase V: Goals Conference & Implementation Plan

October – December 2019

During this phase, the CPT hosts a goals conference for the PTF and select outside stakeholders to identify goals for each strategic theme and create individual goal action plans. Those combined action plans allow members of the CPT to draft the final, detailed implementation plan.


If you have questions about the process or want to provide feedback, please contact