Process Overview

Initiated by President Frederick M. Lawrence, the Brandeis University strategic planning process was designed to engage a broad spectrum of Brandeis stakeholders and result in a plan that would set the institution’s 10- to 20-year trajectory and lay out a five-year framework for moving forward.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee was chaired by Provost Steve A.N. Goldstein, and was comprised of faculty (one each from Heller, IBS, and the four divisions in Arts and Sciences); the academic deans; undergraduate and graduate student leaders; trustees; and members of the senior administration.

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee was at the center of the process. This group worked to: synthesize internal and external information including interview data collected throughout the process; form subcommittees as needed and receive recommendations from those groups; deliberate on strategic questions and, ultimately, propose a long range vision and five-year strategic plan to start on the path to that future for Brandeis. The steering committee was made up of a highly principled group of leaders — respected across Brandeis for their interest in the entire university community and trusted for their ability to guide the institution toward success. Several of the members of the committee were individuals who were also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plan. The committee was supported by the planning consultants of Cambridge Concord Associates, in particular, Elaine Kuttner, principal.

A Strategic Planning Financial Task Force was convened to consider the financial implications of the emerging vision and plan. That work significantly informed the continued evolution of the plan and provided the critical linkage to a future capital campaign.

Similarly, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee convened a small number of additional subcommittees to delve more deeply into priority areas that emerged from the process. These included members of the steering committee and engaged others with appropriate expertise.

It was expected that the steering committee would produce a preliminary framework for the plan by June 2012 and a more fully developed draft plan by October 2012. The draft plan was discussed by the full campus community and the board of trustees, and planned to be final and confirmed in December 2012.

The Deliverables

This process produced a strategic plan for Brandeis University that:

  • Articulates a clear mission, long-range vision, and five-year framework for moving forward
  • Enhances the institution’s ability to raise and leverage its resources toward mission-related activities
  • Contributes to the “case’ for an upcoming capital campaign
  • Provides a mechanism to measure progress over time and revise the plan as needed

The Approach

The planning process at Brandeis was carried out in a way that:

  • Embraced the values of Brandeis University and builds on its strengths
  • Enabled meaningful campus-wide participation and input while ensuring the appropriate decision-making role of the Brandeis University leadership
  • Engaged, in ways appropriate to each constituency — trustees, faculty, administrators, students and staff — and created widespread ownership of the plan itself
  • Ensured that everyone’s time was used productively, and kept everyone informed as the plan evolved
  • Culminated in the development of a clear and succinct planning document that will be used throughout the institution for ongoing planning and decision-making