College leaders decided that an external consultant should facilitate
a planning process, especially one that potentially crosses over many
aspects of the College. A consultant could perhaps avoid territorial pit
falls, keep the planning team on task, and reflect the team's work from
an unbiased point of view.
Planning Team Membership
Because academic technology intersects all disciplines, the chairs of
the six divisions were invited. Some are more heavily invested in technology
than others, so multiple points of view could be considered. It was also
important to have the executive manager - the Dean of Academic Affairs
- be a working member of the team. Thus, the Dean would have first-hand
knowledge of the curricular and teaching ideas emanating from the planning.
Similarly, two other key administrators were part of
the planning team. The Chief Information Officer advised the team in terms
of the IT feasibility of proposed academic technology ideas. In addition,
the Dean of Administration, who holds the collegiate purse strings, provided
a financial grounding for the planning process.
Since successful academic planning requires a coordinated
support effort, the LRC, Media Services, Student Services, Corporate Education,
and Technology Across the Curriculum were represented on the planning
A Tactical Approach
Because a great deal of strategic planning, had already taken place, it
was crucial that the academic technology plan have an action focus. Thus,
the concept of a set of "tactics" enabled the planning team
to push forward academic technology, which, out of necessity, had taken
a back seat to infrastructure development and administrative IT solutions.
Compressed Planning Period
To emphasis action, a compressed planning period was scheduled. The idea
was to meet more frequently over a shorter period of time. This approach
enabled the team to avoid an extended time commitment but also to participate
in a process that had a specific end point that yielded a specific product.