Dordt develops strategic initiatives

Eric Rowe-Staff Writer

Dordt’s strategic planning committee is developing a three-year-long plan to help the institution focus on its goals and better serve its students. The purpose of strategic planning is to determine what the institution will focus on, said Bethany Schuttinga, vice president of administration.

Provost Eric Forseth used a picture of a pyramid with three sections to explain strategic planning. Educational task and framework is at the bottom, the strategic planning is in the middle and the mission or vision is at the top.

According to the faculty handbook of Dordt College, Dordt’s mission statement is “to equip students, alumni and the broader community to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.”

The bottom of the pyramid, the educational task and framework of Dordt, refers to the approach towards education, including biblical perspective. Both the mission and the educational task stay consistent from year to year.

Strategic plans, however, are open to change.

The strategic initiatives are designed to adapt and address changes in society. Every few years, the strategic planning committee outlines directions that Dordt needs to take in order to better equip students.

“Strategic planning is about being intentional on how we can help students with Christ-centered renewal,” said Forseth.

Being intentional begins with listening and understanding the concerns of others. The strategic planning committee meets with faculty, students, alumni, the board of trustees, stakeholders and local denominations to consider the areas that Dordt needs to develop.

The committee will then prepare a strategy map. This one-page document identifies themes common to all different circles of Dordt’s community and develops initiatives that fall under the different themes. It establishes targets or goals that provide concrete ways of measuring the effectiveness of the initiatives.

“A strategy map focuses the energies in an organization,” said Schuttinga. “These strategies shouldn’t be plans that sit on a shelf that no one looks at. They should be actively engaged in at Dordt.”

A key to this focus is transparency, meaning that everybody knows what part they play to reach the goal, which is to share the plan among all departments so that “we’re all pulling in the same direction,” said Schuttinga.

The developing 2014-2017 strategic plan is currently in the listening stage.

In August the committee met with staff and faculty. In September they met with the national advisory council. The month of October will consist of meetings with the academic senate, board of trustees, alumni council, agriculture advisory, student symposium, and officials from the city of Sioux Center.

The committee will develop measures and targets during the spring semester.

In the past, these strategies were planned 10 years in advance. Then they were shortened to five years. The current plan that the committee is developing is only three years long. The shorter window of time is to ensure that needs are still being met.

The committee is planning on sending a campus-wide email that will provide an opportunity for all students to provide

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