THE STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS
The College of Community Health Sciences of The University of Alabama began a strategic planning process in the fall of 2012. The goal was to develop a five-year plan that builds on the College’s deep roots in primary care and family medicine education while responding to the changing health-care needs of the communities of Alabama. This plan was developed through an intensive nine-month long process led by a Core Team and focused by a Steering Committee comprised of faculty, administrators, and clinical staff (names of members of both groups can be found on page 28).
Dean Streiffer and the Core Team began the process by re-examining CCHS’s existing mission statement in order to focus the strategic planning effort. The Core Team drafted a new statement and consulted with the Steering Committee, as well as strategic planning retreat participants, to gather feedback and ensure that the voices of all relevant stakeholders were present in the mission statement. Throughout the process, the mission work and the strategy work informed and reinforced each other, creating a strategy and mission unified in their vision for what CCHS is and what it aims to be.
The strategic planning effort continued with 29 individual interviews of internal and external stakeholders. Based on the information and insights provided by the interviewees, the Steering Committee developed a survey that was administered to all faculty and staff of CCHS, select faculty of The University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Medicine, residents, medical students, alumni, and community members. The survey enabled the Steering Committee to test assumptions held about CCHS and to explore the organizational perception about a few distinct strategic options. More than 350 respondents completed the survey, including 100 percent of CCHS faculty members. The results of the survey, coupled with an in-depth analysis of the current state of CCHS, informed the development of two exploratory future scenarios. The Steering Committee then used those scenarios, representing very different futures for CCHS, as the centerpiece of a strategic planning retreat. The 100 plus attendees at the retreat advised the Steering Committee on CCHS’s opportunities and challenges as represented in the scenarios. The Steering Committee and Dean Streiffer channeled this feedback into the crafting of the resulting strategic plan.
STRATEGIC PLAN STRUCTURE
The strategic plan has three main elements: Strategic Priorities, the Initiatives under each Priority, and Core Value Expressions that cut across the organization. Each of these elements is briefly introduced below.
There are four overarching Strategic Priorities in the 2013 Plan. These Priorities function as the high-level visioning statements for how CCHS will pursue its mission. The Strategic Priorities are:
For each Strategic Priority, the plan outlines a Goal and a number of Initiatives that will guide the College’s day-to-day tactics to achieve the Priorities. The Initiatives are presented in three phases, intended to suggest the likely sequence of initiation. While Phase One initiatives have been started, to be followed by Phase Two then Phase Three initiatives, the plan is flexible and recognizes the need to adapt and change during implementation.
Lastly, the plan outlines a set of Core Value Expressions. These are activities that translate the College’s core values into more concrete action. They cut across the Strategic Priorities, reinforcing them by providing a strong organizational foundation upon which to launch mission-related work.
The four Strategic Priorities, goals and supporting initiatives follow: