Stephen F. Austin State University

Phase III: Making Sense of the Issues

Phase I Phase II Phase IV Phase V
Phase III

Phase III: Making Sense of the Issues

November 2014 - January 2015 | The main goal for the third phase was to identify and develop the dominant strategic themes that emerged from the planning exercises and discussions conducted during the prior phase. Those discussions generated a tremendous amount of data regarding stakeholders' perceptions about the University and its future.

The Strategic Planning Team (SPT) conducted a thorough review and analysis of the data collected and identified six strategic priorities:

Identifying these strategic priorities focused the subsequent phases of the planning process and helped prevent information overload.

The SPT divided into six writing teams, with each preparing a concept paper on one of the identified strategic priorities. These concept papers distilled the information gathered from the previous phase, provided concrete information for both internal and external stakeholders, and presented the relevant issues in a clear and understandable way.

The concept papers focused on facts without lobbying for a particular viewpoint or opinion, and were written so that a layperson can easily grasp the essential elements. Topical areas contained in the concept papers included historical context, regional or national trends, stakeholders' perceptions of the issue, strategic goals, and short- and long-term tasks.

A list of the concept paper writing teams is available here.

The concept papers can be viewed from the links below:

Academic Innovation

SFA Identity

Make/Increase/Strengthen External Connections

Recruiting & Retaining High Quality Faculty and Staff

Transformative Experiences for Students

University Culture

[Note on Concept Papers: The goal was to create an non-academic paper for lay persons that is informative and doesn't try and steer the reader in a specific direction or have an agenda of some kind. It helped translate the data we had received through the engagement and data-gathering process for the participants of the Vision Conference.]