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Planning Strategies For Higher Education

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While the content of the individual phases of the strategic planning process is essential to creating the plan itself, it is no more important to a successful outcome than is the process by which that plan is developed. The need for the process to consider the perspectives of students and other key stakeholders, to draw on comparisons with peer organization and leaders within and outside the institution, and to focus attention on relevant environmental and economic factors. There is no doubt that the multiplicity of stakeholders and traditions of shared governance in higher education present leadership challenges and opportunities.


Discussion of a Creating Strategic Plan

Higher education is characterized by considerable breadth and variability within the industry. Institutions vary in terms of their history, size, populations served, and a variety of other factors. The following points are important for leading strategic planning initiatives in the higher education sector:

  • Planning should not be undertaken as a reaction to a change.
  • Heading a planning process requires both leadership (the vision) and management (the details: implementation).
  • The planning process and its stages should be clear to all from the external environment.
  • Meaningful engagement of faculty and staff is essential to commitment and follow-through.
  • Plans should be designed for internal use, but should also take account of external audiences for whom they will be important.
  • Multiple opportunities for input and iteration are necessary, but the process should also proceed in an efficient, logical, and time-sensitive manner.

Obviously many people or departments may be needed to implement a specific action. However, if a group is designated as accountable, each person in the group will believe someone else in the group is taking charge. The implementation plan needs to be directive, clear, and documented. The implementation of a strategic plan depends on the institution’s ability to turn strategic thoughts into operational action. For this reason it is necessary:

  • to document who is responsible for implementing an action
  • a date by which the action is expected to be completed
  • what measures will be used to assess completion of the action
  • to ensure the person assigned responsibility for the action has authority to make it happen
  • also wise to identify one and only one person to be the agent accountable for overseeing completion of the action.

Communication is an essential condition between organizations. Communication takes place in many different contexts including interpersonal, group, organizational, and community contexts. It may be accidental or intentional, planned or unplanned. Communication is so natural and fundamental. Figure 2. depicts the relationship aspect of communication in an institution.

Across any number of higher education contexts, communication problems can be costly for the individual, group, and organization, leading to one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Confusion and misunderstanding
  • Blame and defensiveness
  • Errors
  • Personal conflicts
  • Mismatched expectations
  • Loss of confidence in colleagues and leaders
  • Wasted time and resources
  • Dissatisfaction of those who use the service or program
  • Low morale
  • Adverse consequences for culture and climate
  • Disengagement

Higher Education institutions bring together a collection of bright, highly educated, and independent thinkers, who come with interests and expertise in a wide variety of fields and professional affiliations. The success of institution and fulfilment are multiple constituencies requires individuals not only to work both independently and collaboratively but also to forge strong campus. These are to maintain strong connections to their technical or disciplinary fields of training, and interdisciplinary linkage in order to work effectively with faculty, staff, students, and outside stakeholders.


Any strategy model for institutions should be consider three levels namely, Strategic Level, Operational Level and Tactical Level in action. A strategic plan for any individual institution should focus on whatever is necessary to help the institution reach its vision. If that vision is dominated by changes or improvements in academic activities then, it is the tool for that plan. Institutional planning leaders need to understand that the purpose of the strategic plan is to focus on how resources will be allocated for a specific period of time to achieve the vision.

A strategic plan is focused on academic planning. A planning process must be successful in taking a strategic view of the organization and weighing the relative demands for resources against the vision of the institution. To implement a strategic plan at functional levels within the institution the key is transform an institution’s vision, using operational and tactical planning.

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The advantage for the institution using its strategic plan to allocate resources is everyone knows ahead of time which activities have priority and which will be receiving the resources in any given year. Operational level is planning that takes place at the departmental level of an organization. In institutions where planning is not integrated, operational planning usually means the departments develop their own visions and, their own list of critical resource needs. Tactical planning involves the guiding principles and academic activities and services necessary for effective management, planning, budgeting, and assessing. The operational guiding principles and academic activities and services of offices and departments across campus are the unwritten legacies of institutional tradition and can be inconsistently applied or changed by anyone at any time, given cause.

Both the requirements and drawbacks of Higher Education make impact on the future employment of the students who have already accomplished the respective degree from the Higher Education institutions. There is a need to analyse and changed is that the assessment system which need to assured the international standard. Moreover, higher education policies need to be set up by focusing on the current issues and evidences.

Higher education has achieved an unusually high place on the public agenda in recent times. The data presented in Figure 3. track this rise by reporting the number of articles indexed as “university” or “college” in The New York Times over the last 50 years. One cause and effect of this increased media attention is an expansion in the scope of stake holders, industry partners in higher education and its mission [1].

The number of Higher Education institutions are increased 32 to 163 from 1988 to 2012. Before 1988, the curriculum across is not routinely revised and updated, and is not well informed by international content, models and standards. But the concept has transformed gradually after 2016 to develop curriculum frameworks that promote active learning by requiring problem-solving skills and the integration of workplace-based learning with the more conceptually-based learning of the university classroom. This practice has widely adopted in higher education systems is to arrange for undergraduates to obtain professional experience in the workplace as a component part of their training programs.


A well designed and implemented strategic planning process can provide an institution with a forum for campus-wide conversations about important decisions. The process can also be organized to make assessment, resource allocation, and accreditation easier, and be a source of information about progress and achievement with very real meaning to those associated with the institution.

Higher education can be reinventing itself to prepare students for societal challenges in both traditional well- proven ways as well as in new technology driven ways integrating expertise from multiple disciplines by developing a strategic plan in an institution. So, the institution will require to display greater responsibility and higher commitment to all the stakeholders continuously after becoming autonomous.

Strategic planning is important for success of higher education institutions since it allows an institution to analyse the present condition and forecast the future. It has significant implications toward shaping the institutional culture in higher education intuitions. Good strategic planning process at higher education institutions requires adequate time of leaders, faculty members, and other stakeholders. Evidently, institutions should determine their ability and be prepared to provide the proper amount of time in the strategic planning process.

The success of a strategic plan can be judged not only on the quality of the document and specific of the formal plan but also on the inclusivity of the process. The sense of engagement and ownership of the goals, plans, implementation, and outcomes that result from the effort are also required to analyse.


  1. B. D. Ruben, R. D. Lisi and R. A. Gigliotti, “A Guide for Leaders in Higher Education Core Concepts, Competencies, and Tools”, First Edition, 2017, Stylus Publishing, LLC.
  2. SAR-NBA, “Institutional Strategic Plan”, Malnad College of Engineering, Hassan.
  3. K E. Hinton, Bowman, M., Debray, S. K., and Peterson, L. L. 1993. “A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education”, 2012 by the Society for College and University Planning, ISBN 978-1-937724-13-9.
  4. Arlington, “Developing a Strategic Institutional Plan”, American Alliance of Museums, 2018.
  5. K. Edström, M. de Vries, L. Lemmens, R. Eising Christiaan Meijer, “4TU. Centre for Engineering Education Strategic plan 2017-2019”.
  6. T. Brown, “How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation”, First Edition, ISBN 978-0-06-176608-4.

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Planning Strategies For Higher Education. (2021, September 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from
“Planning Strategies For Higher Education.” Edubirdie, 21 Sept. 2021,
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