During the fall of 2014 Northeastern Illinois University undertook an initiative to refresh the 2008 Strategic Plan. This was both good planning, since Goals and Action Steps are intended to guide the University for five to seven years, and good preparation for the 2017 visit from the Higher Learning Commission for reaffirmation of accreditation. Given that Northeastern’s Guiding Statements of Mission, Vision, and Values should guide the University for a longer time, they were not considered for revision in this process.
The Initiative was led by the University Planning and Budget Council (UPBC). The Steering Committee of 15 members was co-chaired by UPBC Chair Dr. Marcelo Sztainberg and President Sharon Hahs, and consisted of UPBC members and the vice presidents. The 39-member Planning Team, gathered from nominations and self-nominations, focused on reviewing, revising, eliminating, and creating Action Steps under each of the six Strategic Goals. The members of these two groups are listed in the Acknowledgements. The University expresses its gratitude for their hard work, creative ideas, perspectives, and commitment to the process and the University.
The process was designed to be inclusive. Throughout the process there was opportunity for electronic input, and all materials were placed on the University’s intranet, NEIUport. Steps included University Day, addressing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and reviewing the wording of the Goals; an Open Session to propose initial revisions to the Actions Steps; six working groups, one for each Goal, to refine Action Steps; overall refinements by the Steering Committee; presentation of the final draft in Open Sessions at the Main Campus, the Carruthers Center, and El Centro; final adjustments by a small meld group; and agreement by the Steering Committee to convey the document to the UPBC for endorsement. The new Goals and Action Steps document was endorsed by the UPBC on January 9, 2015. It was approved by the President on the same day. The document was endorsed by the Board of Trustees at the February 5, 2015, meeting.
A brief explanation of the elements of the plan follows, as does the entire document with the various components. The 2015 Strategic Plan will continue to provide guidance as the University embraces the future.