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Phase 3 - Making Sense of the Issues

The main goal for the third phase is to identify and develop the dominant strategic themes that emerge from the planning exercises and discussions of the prior phase. Those discussions will have generated a tremendous amount of data regarding stakeholders' perceptions about the College and its future. The task force, after a thorough review and analysis of the data, will identify five to ten strategic priorities and write concept papers that will inform stakeholders about those issues and their importance.

The task force is responsible for distilling the information gathered from stakeholders into a manageable number of strategic priorities. Examples of strategic priorities that may emerge are themes like clarifying and strengthening our niche, revising general education requirements, and enhancing diversity. Identifying these strategic priorities serves to focus the subsequent phases of the planning process and helps prevent information overload.

The task force will then prepare a concept paper on each of the identified strategic priorities. These concept papers will distill the information gathered from the previous phase, provide concrete information for both internal and external stakeholders, and will present the relevant issues in a clear and understandable way. The concept papers should be no more than five pages in length, should focus on facts without lobbying for a particular viewpoint or opinion, and be written so that a layperson can easily grasp the essential elements. Topical areas contained in a concept paper may include historical context, regional or national trends, stakeholders' perceptions of the issue, strategic goals, and short- and long-term tasks.