Thinking about the future of your institution
I am working with several institutions on developing a vision and strategic plan. One of the first steps in this process is to really understand where you are today. A reference that I have found very useful is a book written by Martins and Samuels titled "Turnaround: Leading Stressed Colleges and Universities to Excellence" published by John Hopkins Press in 2008. In this book they describe their research into the factors that contribute to universities and colleges being "stressed"--exhibiting financial, enrollment or other difficulties. The end result of their work are 20 indicators that signal that an institution is at risk. From their book "A fragile college may not demonstrate all 20, nor does the presence of three or four guarantee vulnerability. But a preponderance of them means that an institution has slipped from its founding vision and strength, and that some form of surgery will most likely be required to return it to health." The next time you are in a planning process take a look at the 20 indicators. It is impossible for us to envision tomorrow if we can't make it past today.