The vision conference brings together diverse stakeholders, both internal and external, to review and discuss the concept papers the task force has written on the identified strategic priorities. The vision conference also serves as a vehicle to allow stakeholders to share their unique perspectives and to promote understanding of others' priorities and concerns. The outcome of the vision conference is the creation of a preferred future for the college that can be distilled into a college vision statement.
The vision conference has three main parts. During the first part of the vision conference, small heterogeneous groups review and discuss the concept papers. Cross-boundary discussion is encouraged to promote understanding of different perspectives of the issue. In the course of the discussions, participants learn about the essential elements of the strategic themes from each other.
The second part of the vision conference focuses on the perspectives of specific stakeholder groups. Each group is asked to develop and share what it believes is important for the institution's future and what issues it would like to be considered as the college’s strategic goals are developed. This process promotes further cross-boundary discussion and helps expand participants' thinking about the strategic priorities.
The third and final part of the vision conference lays the groundwork for determining specific goals for the future. Participants, informed by the previous discussions, craft a shared vision for the college’s future. The concept paper themes are used as the basis of focus questions that ask participants to envision what they want the college to look like five years from now.
The strategic planning task force then has the responsibility of condensing the preferred future described by the vision conference participants into a new vision statement for the university. This work also serves as the foundation to design strategic goals and implementation plans during the final phase of the planning process.