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Developing the Plan

Refreshing the Strategic Plan

In 2019, the Board of Trustees adopted a visionary five-year strategic plan, which went into effect in July 2020, and was intended to go through 2025. However, the arrival of the global coronavirus pandemic ended the routines we had known as a College. The pandemic led to immediate changes in how the College serves its students and community and supports its faculty and staff. The pandemic kept us home, changed how we connect with one another, and redefined our sense of self and community—but it was one of many critical changes affecting postsecondary education at the start of this decade.

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Therefore, in fall 2022, the College undertook an effort to refresh the strategic plan. Through listening and learning about the lived experiences of members of internal and external communities and their desire for transformation, it became clear that there is an opportunity for our strategic plan to reflect changes brought on by these unprecedented times. This “refreshed” strategic plan is designed to guide the College for five years through 2028. The timeline is no coincidence. It aligns with the conclusion of our next re-accreditation during the 2026–2027 academic year, so that—when composing the next strategic plan—the institution can take full advantage of what it learns during the accreditation process.

Our experiences during the pandemic have underscored the importance of technology in education and work. We are exploring and investing in advanced tools like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and learning systems to optimize teaching and learning outcomes and research, test, and adopt flexible learning models to cater to diverse student needs, preferences, and circumstances. We are also deeply committed to creating inclusive learning and working environments for all members of our community. Acknowledging the pandemic’s impact on mental health and wellness, we are promoting self-care and creating safe spaces for students and employees to address mental health and wellness concerns. Additionally, we recognize a shift to purpose-focused work and a transition from work-life balance to life-work integration.

We also recognize the power of collaboration and partnerships between Montgomery College, industry, and government to enhance higher education’s overall quality and impact. We are committed to cultivating adaptability and promoting lifelong learning through diverse credit and noncredit offerings and professional development opportunities. This commitment benefits individual students, faculty, and staff, and contributes to our community and society’s growth and development.

Development of the Refreshed Plan

This refreshed strategic plan was made possible by students, faculty, staff, community members, and employers who contributed ideas, shared their visions and their needs, and reacted to the draft plan. The work of researching, drafting, and sharing the plan was performed by members of the Strategic Plan Advisory Refresh Committee, also known as SPARC. The committee consisted of over 40 members and functioned through five subcommittees: (1) Student Success Subcommittee, (2) Employees Subcommittee, (3) Community Subcommittee, (4) Workforce and Partnerships Subcommittee, and (5) Mission, Vision, and Values Subcommittee. The work of the committee was reviewed and guided by a Steering Committee.

While the final refreshed plan lists Goals, Supporting Strategies, Intended Outcomes, and Indicators in that order, that is not the order in which they were developed. In fact, SPARC began with the end in mind and focused first on Intended Outcomes—what do we want to accomplish? Next SPARC focused on Supporting Strategies that would lead to those outcomes. From there, a Goal statement was developed. The Indicators depend on the Goal, Supporting Strategies, and Intended Outcomes being complete, so SPARC finalized them once the other components were complete.

Several key MC resources played an important part of the committee’s research and underscored the needs of our students and our community today. These allowed the committee to build upon what we have already learned through the following:

The book, The Great Upheaval, has received acclaim for its research and insight since its publication in 2022. One of its co-authors, Dr. Arthur Levine, spoke at an MC collegewide forum early in the refresh process. The book’s insights for institutions were considered by the committee in developing the refreshed plan. These include adapting to technological innovations within the higher education sector, considering the new array of content producers and distributors aimed at postsecondary audiences, preparing students for the knowledge economy through a focus on outcomes and learning, and reimagining the role of degrees, non-degree certifications and just-in-time education.

The first draft of the refreshed plan was posted on a College website in February 2023 and included an online form for feedback. During February, campus and collegewide forums were held for students and employees to discuss the plan with members of SPARC and give more feedback. A student focus group was assembled and provided input before the draft refreshed plan was written and engaged to react to the draft refreshed plan. In addition, forums for community leaders and employers were held as well. All of the feedback has been studied and considered in reaching the final refreshed plan.