CALS 2010 Planning Background Summary

This summary describes how we developed the 2010 CALS strategic plan and why we believe the future will be very different from the past. Links are given to other sources if more detail is desired.

Why Update the 2005 Plan—and What is Different in the 2010 Plan?

Some sections of the 2005 plan were updated, some are similar, and some areas are quite different. There is a new vision, a refinement of the six focus areas, creation of a new "signature focus" and a change in overall approach (less specific goals and more guiding principles). The plan was made smaller by eliminating details such as assumptions and challenges. These relevant details are available in a background document.

Our Planning Process:
Involving Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and Stakeholders

Our planning process built on a number of relevant studies, both internal and external. It soon became clear this plan revision was going to result in a different plan. It would be important to build a plan we could understand and follow and one that was realistic relative to the changing world. Accordingly, we did not try an reinvent the wheel, but instead used the best parts of studies that were well done, modified for our particular situation. We used studies and assessments done by CALS in the last two years as well as reviewing the background material for the 2005 plan. The 2010 plan was also made smaller, including a one-page version, and there were no metrics or goals to be achieved (because of future uncertainties). Rather, we focused on mission, vision, values, focus areas, overall focus, challenges (redefined as strategic directions), and guiding principles for assessments and resource allocation.

Various versions were prepared and reviews were done with administrative units most affected by the changes, including the CALS Executive Council and employee advisory councils (staff, appointed professionals, faculty). We then discussed the plan at an administrative retreat attended by all college administrators, including unit heads and county extension directors. An announcement was placed in the CALS Weekly Bulletin (electronic newsletter sent to all employees) for review and feedback, and a similar announcement was sent to a number of CALS client groups. The final draft was then reviewed by the Dean's Advisory Committee.

Recent College Assessments Used for CALS 2010 Strategic Plan

Arizona Cooperative Extension Strategic Planning

This site contains stakeholder surveys completed in June 2009 as well as individual planning reports completed in 2008 for the areas of Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Family, Consumer, and Health Sciences. The top 10 issues identified by the stakeholder survey "that Arizona needs to address" are: Water, Youth, Agriculture, Health, Plants, Family and Child Care, Leadership, Community Vitality, Natural Resources, and Financial Management. (Note: this site is password protected for CALS faculty and staff).

2010 UA Combined Research and Extension Plan of Work

This report is required each five years by the US Department of Agriculture. It includes a summary of the Arizona economic situation and specific comments and plans for agriculture, family and youth, and health topics. In addition, CALS reports resource expenditures for each of the six focus areas and indicates how they relate to USDA "knowledge areas." The Plan of Work describes the stakeholder process used by CALS to connect with clients (advisory committees, focus groups, surveys, and needs assessments). This report is used in the CALS budgeting process, priority setting, emerging issue identification, and specific action plans.

CALS Academic Program Reviews

Two or three CALS departments undergo a university academic program review each year (each department is reviewed approximately once every seven years). This review is done jointly with a representative of the USDA and the results are used by the department, college, and university for departmental assessments. In addition, the associate dean for academic programs prepared a position paper on curriculum enhancement in March 2009 and the college established the CALS Curriculum Enhancement Working Group to make recommendations for curricular change.

Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station Reports

This site includes the last 12 years of reports and shows the trends in how research has changed. It includes annual summaries of research funding sources and amounts.

CALS Impact Reports

These brief reports (undertaken in 2008) describe the impacts of research, extension, and academic programs. An impact statement is a brief summary of the economic, environmental and/or social impact of a land-grant program. It states accomplishments and their payoff to society. Selected activities are listed for each of the six CALS focus areas.

Arizona Delivers

Brief summaries for a range of subjects on how CALS programs address Arizona community and citizen needs by identifying the programs, their relevant activities, and their effects on the state.

Environmental Scans, Higher Education Studies, and the Future

Environmental Scans from CALS, UA, ABOR, and Other Sources

All scans and the associated conclusions or identification of specific driving forces give the same general conclusion—the future will be different whether we are talking about world changes or those related to a specific university. However, the specific approaches and formats vary widely and by the mission of the group preparing the scan. The most significant observation for us can be summarized as: changes will be in many areas and significant compared with past years and will affect all parts of society, including universities. We conclude there will be a new normal after the current economic crisis runs its course. We have to discover what that is and how we will modify our programs and approaches to fit the "new normal."

Scenarios for the Future of Higher Education

Scenarios are useful when the future is complex and unclear, so they are especially useful at the time of preparation of the 2010 CALS Strategic Plan. This section has scenarios about higher education for Arizona examples or for other locations. Reading scenarios not only stimulates your thinking about future possibilities, it also raises questions that should be answered when preparing a strategic plan.

Arizona-specific Futures Studies

There are a number of relevant studies done by groups within Arizona in the last 10 years or so that are useful to planning. Some of these are directed at higher education, some at research areas for university involvement, and some address potential changes in the state that will affect all institutions.

Building on Previous CALS Strategic Plans and Plans of Other Universities

Planning materials were used from the following institutions: CALS 2005-2009 Plan, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Arizona Board of Regents, University of California (including its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources), University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and Clemson University.