Standard for Accreditation

An institution conducts ongoing planning and resource allocation based on its mission and utilizes the results of its assessment activities for institutional renewal.  Implementation and subsequent evaluation of the success of the strategic plan and resource allocation support the development and change necessary to improve and to maintain institutional quality.



Improving and maintaining institutional quality is the function of a tightly interwoven relationship among mission, planning, resource allocation, assessment, and renewal.  A clearly defined mission is central to an effective planning model which both flows from the mission and facilitates the refinement and development of the College’s goals and objectives.  This in turn allows for reevaluation of the mission itself.  By utilizing the results of its assessment activities, the institution can then determine whether or not its goals were achieved and objectives were met and ultimately why specific outcomes did or did not occur.  Results of institutional assessment are also useful indications of how resources are being utilized and where they can be used most effectively.  The outcome of such a planning process is to effect renewal and growth that ultimately reflects the changing needs of both the College and the community it serves.  Renewal often brings about changes in an institution’s underlying assumptions and priorities, and a reassessment of core values.  This in turn brings about a renewed frame of reference which serves as the basis for reviewing and reinterpreting the centerpiece of the planning process: the Mission Statement. 

Many planning activities have been undertaken in the years since the last Middle States Self Study, and the strategic planning process has formed the cornerstone of planning efforts at all levels of the institution.  This section focuses on the most recent major planning efforts in several areas and evaluates those efforts with respect to the inclusiveness of their processes, flexibility, and effectiveness as an instrument of institutional renewal.


            The charges to the Committee on Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal focused on evaluating the use of the College’s Mission in institutional planning and analyzing recommendations from various planning efforts to determine whether their objectives and outcomes were clearly stated and reflective of conclusions drawn from assessment results.  The Committee reviewed the use of data in planning and analyzed the overall scope of planning to determine its level of congruence with the Mission.  Approaches to planning were analyzed to determine how effective the College has been in utilizing the results from assessment activities for planning, resource allocation, and institutional renewal.  Mechanisms for establishing priorities were also reviewed as were methods for communication of planning processes.  

 Planning processes were examined and existing planning documents deconstructed to determine if they defined and prioritized how to improve services and how resources would be allocated.  Planning documents were reviewed to determine whether they included an assessment mechanism that would allow the College to evaluate institutional effectiveness in regard to the objectives, goals, and allocated resources stated in the plan.  In addition, survey results were analyzed and interviews were conducted with the College’s President; the Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Planning and Finance, and Marketing and Government Relations; and the Deans of Liberal Studies and Educational Support Services.  The backgrounds of the Committee membership also played a dynamic role in allowing the members themselves to serve as valuable resources throughout the course of the study.  The Committee carefully analyzed all major College plans including the Strategic Plan, Technology Plan, Facility Master Plan, and drafts of the Diversity Plan and the Workforce and Economic Development, 2003-2005 Business Plan.


The Strategic Plan

The five Principles which comprise the Strategic Plan clearly provide direction and focus for the College and serve in defining its direction and position in the realm of the higher education community.  The College’s shift from a planning approach responding to critical internal issues to one that is more externally and environmentally focused is a positive and futuristic one which positions the College to meet the challenges at hand. 

In the preface to the Strategic Plan , the College’s President stated, “We must know where the puck is going to be, not where it is now.”   This simple statement very eloquently summarizes the challenges the College will be facing over the next ten years.  With the City and the world in a process of increasingly rapid change, the College must be able to change and adapt quickly to new environmental conditions if it is to successfully achieve and enhance its Mission.

 The Principles are proactive and boldly stated, declaring that the College will achieve the articulated goals, and indicating that the College thinks in large, ambitious, and very optimistic terms about what can be accomplished.  For example, the Principles state that this College will be a leader, not a follower, in the Philadelphia educational community.  In sum, the Strategic Principles define the College’s aspirations.  The community can see what the College stands for in these Strategic Principles, making them a potentially effective tool for marketing the College to external audiences.  They constitute a clear statement of the College’s goals for the 2000-2004 period.

         In reviewing the College-wide scanning and planning documents, it is evident that the College puts forth a great deal of effort to assure that representation from among the various constituencies is included in the planning process.  The data presented in the Internal Scan provided the College with the opportunity to assess the status of its academic effectiveness and the quality of programs and services, to enhance or change programs that empirically demonstrate non-success, and to re-evaluate budgetary/resource allocation appropriately and accordingly.  The College publishes annual progress reports related to the Strategic Plan.  This is a critical step in the planning and renewal process at the College.  Although the updates do not fully assess the success or lack of success in achieving the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan, they depict the valuable activities in which the College is engaged as well as subsequent accomplishments that aimed at achieving the strategic goals.  

            The College has effectively communicated the existence of the Strategic Plan.  The results of the Faculty/Staff Survey, for example, indicate that most staff have reviewed the Strategic Plan and feel that they understand the strategic planning process.  Faculty and staff were found to be positive about the College’s ability to respond to the needs of the external environment and positive about the College’s ability to respond to the changing needs of programs and students in the College.

The Technology Plan

The 2000-2003 Technology Plan was the result of a coordinated effort that involved a comprehensive representation from the College community. This Plan in particular designed clearly stated goals that address the College’s aspiration to provide education which responds to the changing needs of both its students and external constituencies.  The Plan’s activities and updates are coherently tied to the objectives of the Strategic Plan, specifically Principles I, III, and V, and are presented within the context of a year-by-year time frame.  There is evidence of budgetary considerations and restraints and, whenever possible, the Plan clearly addresses funding sources and how monies will be utilized.   Many of the initiatives in the Plan were designed to create the opportunity for the type of assessment and feedback necessary for making critical change decisions and prioritizing resources relative to initiatives.

The Clarus Report

       Interviews with the President and the Vice Presidents for Marketing and Government Relations, Student Affairs, and Academic Affairs revealed that efforts have been made to coordinate implementation of some aspects of the Clarus Report, an outside consultant’s report that was issued in February 2001.  This Report was the product of a coordinated collaborative effort among several College committees and the consultant to develop a marketing plan for the institution.  The Report presented the College with a comprehensive marketing plan that was intended as the foundation for future decision-making, and called for further analysis and planning on behalf of the institution.  The Clarus Report is excellent in terms of its design, specificity of goals and objectives, assignment of responsibility, implementation of time frames and assessment/evaluation criteria.  The Report also demonstrates an overall recognition of the need for concomitant resource allocation.  

The Facility Master Plan

The development of the 1997 Facility Master Plan extended over a period of one year and involved a wide range of participation from among the College community along with the support and expertise of a professional architect team.  Based upon significant input from all constituent groups including the Board of Trustees, a specific set of goals and associated projects were developed for inclusion in the planning document.  The Plan appears to have strategically evolved out of a set of assumptions about what changes were necessary for institutional growth and quality.  The Vice President for Finance and Planning has stated, “during the period of time between 1997 and 2003, approximately 40 million dollars were committed to achieving the goals of the 1997 Facility Master Plan.  These included numerous projects which were accomplished out of annually available capital and operating dollars, as well as two major building projects: the relocation and expansion of the Northwest Regional Center and the construction of the new Center for Business and Industry.  These were the two highest priority major projects in the 1997 Master Plan” (Hawk, T. June 5, 2003).  An update of this Plan was published in 2002.

The Workforce and Economic Development, 2003-2005 Business Plan (Draft)       

            This Plan sets clear goals for what the Business and Technology Division hopes to achieve in the next two years.  It contains a useful internal scan that identifies major strengths and weaknesses in areas of the College that impact the Division’s purview.  The goals very closely match and elaborate on those of Strategic Principle I.   It should also be noted that under the leadership of the newly hired Dean for Business and Technology, a new Plan for this area is underway and is expected to be completed during Spring 2004.

The Diversity Plan (Draft)

The President has set forth the Diversity Plan as a major initiative for the College.  This Plan establishes a series of diversity goals including increasing diversity in hiring, developing training programs for staff and faculty in cultural competence, and increasing diversity awareness among students.   The Diversity Plan is commendable in that it is based upon broad participation from College constituencies.  Focus groups were held and a survey of a limited number of students was undertaken to study the current state of diversity awareness and tolerance at the College.





              The scope of the Mission is so wide that it is difficult to imagine any planning activity that would not be justified at least by some part of the Mission Statement.  The current Mission Statement does state and reflect the values of the College.  However, while the Mission covers a wide range of activity in which the College engages, it is difficult to discern the institution’s core values, priorities and direction.   This is not an inherent weakness in the Mission itself; rather it reflects weakness within the College’s planning process relative to utilizing assessment activities for decision-making and priority setting and subsequent renewal.   Without clarity and institutional consensus as to the current values and priorities of the College today in regard to addressing outcomes of and accountability for programs and services, the current Mission Statement presents as a document that does not establish institutional priorities which provide clear direction for growth, but rather embodies a duty to be “all things to all people”.  This generality may be a factor that has led to the perception, as described in the Environmental Scan, that the College’s image remains “unfocused” (2000 Environmental Scan, p. 6 ).

In many ways the College’s Mission Statement, as perhaps do most mission statements, provides a broad framework for the College to set priorities and guide decision-making.   This is not necessarily a problem as long as the goals and objectives set forth in the planning documents (particularly the Strategic Plan) address the institutional ramifications of specific outcomes of the internal/external scanning and reflect decision-making and setting of priorities regarding these outcomes.  

The Strategic Plan


The Strategic Plan does not systematically address the internal issues brought to light in the Internal Scan prepared in preparation for the strategic planning process.  (For a more complete discussion of these internal issues, see the section relating to Mission, Goals and Objectives).  The Plan is successful in delineating and prioritizing for the College community the structures and resources necessary for achieving the Principles.  Although the Principles appear as effective tools for marketing the College to external audiences, the Plan appears to have been less successful at motivating the internal audience.

            One cannot ascertain from the Plan itself the primary bearers of responsibility, target dates, or budget/staffing details, and it is unclear as to how success at achieving the goals will be measured.  This is not problematic as long as such details are subsequently delineated.  It is problematic, however, that the Strategic Plan appears to confuse outcomes with activities and accomplishments.  These should be clearly distinguished if effective outcomes assessment is to take place; hence, outcomes should be measures of student success and/or programmatic success while activities and accomplishments should describe the specific tasks that the College has undertaken to help students or programs achieve success. 

The information provided by the Strategic Plan Progress Report does not provide the College community with a type of assessment that measures the success or non-success in achieving the goals and objectives of institutional planning.   What is reported are accomplishments.  These accomplishments do not define the effect (outcomes) the planning activities are actually having on students, programs, service delivery, facilities or instruction.  To achieve effective renewal, the measurable outcomes need to become part of the overall planning and reporting process.  This will then provide feedback that is essential for knowing what is working and what is not in order to make sound decisions for setting priorities and appropriating resources accordingly.  

The Faculty/Staff Survey conducted for this Self Study indicated while the majority of respondents are aware of the Strategic Plan, this awareness does not equate with familiarity with College priorities.  Also of concern is the fact that a majority of respondents reported that their input into the process was not valued.  Interviews with middle level administrators and faculty showed similar findings.  Furthermore, only a third of staff agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that the College has effectively communicated the planning process to staff and students.  It is significant that over one third of the staff believe that the College does not value their input in the planning process and that half report that budget allocations do not reflect the College’s stated priorities.   These results give objective support to an impression that consistently emerged throughout discussions and interviews: a good number of faculty and staff feel alienated from the College’s planning process.   Interviews showed that while the senior administration was very positive about the planning process, faculty and middle level administrators were much less so.  There are substantial numbers of staff disagreeing with the statement that the College effectively responds to the changing needs of the external and internal environment.

Other Planning Initiatives

The Clarus Report constitutes the College’s most comprehensive marketing document. Adequate staffing/budgetary resources and the current administrative structure were identified as major impediments to implementing a number of the planning initiatives outlined in the Clarus Report.  While there is agreement that a marketing plan would be beneficial to the College, the concomitant human and financial resources were not assigned, so the recommendations were not implemented fully.

The Draft of the Workforce and Economic Development, 2003-2005 Business Plan lacks a clear route to achieve its goals and objectives.  There are no specifics in terms of staff, budgeting, timelines or outcomes.  These should be developed in the next version to ensure that it results in a complete and operational plan.

The Diversity Plan also sets clear goals, but does not specify the measurable outcomes that would determine achievement.  Therefore, the Plan does not include a mechanism by which one could assess when and if the goals of the Plan are reached.  For example, the Plan calls for guest speakers and for faculty/staff development, but lacks a budget and target dates for implementation.  According to the Plan, College employees will be held accountable for acquiring cultural competence.  It is not clear how this is defined or how accountability will be enforced.  These elements need to be developed before this can be considered a complete and operational Plan.


·        Develop a statement of core values and priorities.

·        Implement a clearly articulated Marketing Plan and Enrollment Management Plan.

·        Include in all future plans clearly articulated priorities, sufficient resource allocation for implementation, and a mandate for projected outcomes that enable the measurement of the achievement of goals.

·        Make resource allocation an integral part of the planning process in terms of further establishing and addressing institutional priorities and core values for the College community.

·        Clearly articulate and prioritize an Academic Affairs Plan with clear goals and priorities.

·        Use an approach to planning that recognizes the interrelatedness among intra, inter, and extra organizational structures and the role that each will play in achieving the goals and objectives set forth in planning documents.

·        Undertake an in-depth survey of staff and discourse to ascertain why staff maintain a sense of non-inclusion in the planning process.

·        Effectuate continual renewal and revitalization of the College by:

 (a) using institutional effectiveness measures, such as internal scanning, better and more regularly to assist in decision-making, establishing priorities, resource allocation, and renewal. 

(b) improving communication within the College community regarding the purposes of a specific plan and what is being referred to in the plan.  In addition, plan outcomes should not present evidence of the institution’s activities, but rather evidence of whether or not those activities are fulfilling the goals of the plan. 

(c) establishing new planning processes that spring from an ongoing and effective assessment of outcomes of prior planning efforts.

Resource LIST

A.                  Institutional Research Reports Related to Standard 2:


·                     IR Report #130B - Responses to Middle States Self Study Faculty/Staff Questionnaire (4/03)


B.                   Office of the Vice President for Planning and Finance, 1995-2000 Strategic Plan (3/17/97)


C.                   Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Community College of Philadelphia, 1993 Institutional Self Study (10/93)


D.                  Office of the Vice President for Planning and Finance, 2002 – 2003 Fiscal Year Budget (2002)


E.                   Office of Institutional Advancement, College Grants 1995 to Present (9/16/02)


F.                   Office of the Vice President for Planning and Finance, Facilities Master Plan and Appendices (3/97) and 2002 Facility Master Plan – DRAFT (4/3/02)


G.                   Office of Planning and Finance, 2000 Environmental Scan and 2000 Internal Scan (3/16/00)


H.                  Office of Information Technology Systems, 2000-2003 Technology Plan (5/4/01 version)


I.                     Office of Communications, Clarus Report (2/01)


J.                    Office of Communications, Community Scan Results Provided by Clarus Report Corporation (12/00)


K.                  Office of the Vice President for Planning and Finance, 2000-2004  Strategic Plan and Progress Reports


L.                   Community College of Philadelphia, The President's Diversity Council, Diversity Plan – DRAFT (2003)


M.                 Division of Business and Technology, Workforce and Economic Development, 2003-2005 Business Plan - DRAFT (12/19/02)


N.                  Office of Communications, College Catalog, Mission Statement (p. 5)


O.                  Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Goals 2002 - 2003


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