Market-Informed Strategic Planning

The vast majority of college and university strategic plans are more wishlist than roadmap. Most boil down to reaching agreement internally about what an institution hopes to achieve and which values it embraces. That is a critically important exercise, but it is only part of what is needed for an effective and powerful strategic plan.

Art & Science Group helps point clients in directions that are both “strategic” and “plans.” We examine which priorities and initiatives will resonate with the key constituents on whose support institutional success depends. And we work collaboratively to delineate steps the institution should take, distinguishing between strategic goals (such as pursuing academic excellence, geographic diversity, larger enrollments, etc.) and what it will take to position the institution to achieve those goals.

To the extent that strategic planning seeks to advance a client’s market interests, the leadership and community need to understand what strategic actions will serve those objectives. Will a new core curriculum positively affect the matriculation decisions of high-ability students to the degree needed to reach enrollment and net tuition revenue goals? How far must the institution push a major campus and facilities initiative in order to increase new student enrollment? Will efforts to position the institution around globalizing the student experience energize major giving and alumni support?

Art & Science Group is uniquely poised to enable institutions to weigh the market costs and benefits of pursuing both the individual components and overall thrusts of their strategic plans. While the market should never drive mission, wise institutions pursue their mission in ways that are market-aware, in order to ensure that they will have the resources needed to deliver on their priorities and live out their values.