Appendix 4: Planning Process

In the fall of 2016, Rear Admiral Michael Alfultis initiated a new Maritime College strategic planning process. This process was designed to be an immersive, expansive effort in critical thinking about the College’s programs and future direction in the context of its current and anticipated environment. To obtain diverse perspectives and creative thinking, Admiral Alfultis committed the College to an inclusive, transparent process that engaged faculty, students, staff, alumni and industry partners.

Admiral Alfultis, in consultation with the faculty, appointed a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) to guide the planning process, the membership of which included individuals from across the College. The planning process included extensive interviews and focus group discussions with faculty, staff, students, alumni and industry leaders. These discussions were designed to tap broad pools of expertise and opinion on and off campus. Maritime College’s consulting partner AKA Strategy (AKA) conducted these conversations as an independent third-party. AKA developed hypotheses, suggestions and feedback from the discussions and analysis of trends in industry and higher education; moderated review and discussion by the SPC; and prepared a strategic plan framework that outlined six strategic goals and two to three objectives for each strategic goal.

As clear strategic goals for the College emerged and objectives for achieving the goals developed, the SPC established six subcommittees to advance specific actions in order to accomplish the goals and objectives of the plan. The subcommittees included members from the wider campus community. Their work was supplemented with ideas generated by focus groups held during the fall 2017 convocation that faculty and staff were encouraged to attend.

A steering committee of the SPC was also established to review the actions developed by the six subcommittees, identify overlaps and narrow down the number of actions to the three to five they felt were most important for each objective. This resulted in over 50 actions that the plan would commit the College to undertake.

In subsequent discussions, the SPC agreed that it would be preferable to examine the actions further and identify one action for each objective, combining where necessary the elements of several actions. The steering committee took this step to create the draft that is now the College strategic plan. However, the SPC also agreed that it would be important to retain the full list of prioritized actions developed by the subcommittees as a resource for those individuals and groups who would be involved in implementing the strategic plan.

In November 2017, a revised draft of the strategic plan was released to faculty, staff and external partners involved in the earlier stages of the planning process, together with a survey requesting feedback. The SPC took into account the feedback and oversaw the preparation of a final draft of the plan, which was posted on the College’s strategic planning web page in December 2017, with a request that readers share their thoughts about it with the SPC. In January 2018, Admiral Alfultis hosted a series of town hall discussions with faculty and staff to present the final draft and solicit final feedback. The SPC reviewed the perspectives and suggestions gained from the town halls to further shape the strategic plan. The Foundation, Maritime College Council and the Student Government Association endorsed the strategic plan, which was adopted by the faculty in February 2018.

Planning Timeline

Aug 2016

Strategic plan process and committee announced at Convocation

Oct 2016

Strategic Plan Committee (SPC) initial meeting

Nov 2016

Strategic planning consultant AKA Strategy (AKA) hired; initial timeline/strategy developed

Jan/Feb 2017

Focus groups and interviews with Maritime College faculty and staff,
alumni, and industry leaders

Mar 2017

Initial set of strategic goals identified based on interviews and focus groups

Apr 2017

Strategic goals finalized and objectives for each goal identified

May/June/July 2017

Preliminary draft of strategic plan developed based on strategic goals and objectives

Aug 2017

SPC approves preliminary draft of strategic plan

Preliminary draft presented to Maritime College faculty and staff at convocation

Faculty and staff focus groups brainstorm actions items for each objective

Sept 2017

SPC subcommittees review and refine actions for each objective

Oct 2017

SPC steering committee reviews, prioritizes, and consolidates actions

Nov 2017

Revised draft of strategic plan developed based on strategic goals, objectives, and actions

Revised draft released to Maritime College community with opinion survey

Revised draft shared with Maritime College Foundation Board and industry leaders for review and feedback

Dec 2017

Results of survey and other feedback incorporated into final draft of strategic plan

Final draft of strategic plan published and posted on Maritime College website

Jan 2018

Town halls held with staff and each academic department​
Feedback from town halls incorporated into final strategic plan

Feb/Mar 2018

Strategic plan approved by Maritime College Faculty, Foundation Board, College Council, and Student Government Association

Planning Resources

During the planning process, the committee was asked to review and use the following documents to guide and inform development of the plan:

  • A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education, by Karen E. Hinton

    This booklet provides a practical overview of what strategic planning should be at the post-secondary level. It defines the elements of a successful process and offers a brief overview of the history of strategic planning from a practitioner's perspective and a detailed examination of current practices.

  • SUNY Maritime Mission, Vision and Core Values

    These were developed and approved by the campus community during the 2015-2016 academic year.

  • SUNY Maritime Institution-Wide Student Learning Outcomes

    Developed and approved by faculty during the 2015-2016 academic year, these learning outcomes are designed to encourage intellectual and personal growth across all academic disciplines.

  • SUNY Maritime College Performance Improvement Plan 2015-2020

    To ensure accountability for the college and the public, each SUNY campus developed a comprehensive Performance Improvement Plan that includes a narrative about strategic priorities as well as data commitments through 2020-2021 based on a standard series of metrics.