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

The process depended on five grounding principles, which included:

• 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 involved 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 performed a SWOT analysis and key stakeholder analysis.

Phase II: Data Gathering and Engagement

March – June 2019

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

The CPT also developed and distributed an online survey to key audiences, which collected additional feedback from those unable to attend listening sessions.

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

Phase III: Making Sense of the Issues

June – August 2019

During this phase, we convened the sense-making meeting and identified the strategic themes that surfaced during the stakeholder listening sessions.
From there, in small groups, the PTF developed concept papers that each focused around a key theme and provided 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 was attended by both the PTF members and additional stakeholders from our key audiences. The Vision Conference allowed 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 hosted 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 allowed members of the CPT to create a strategic plan draft.

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