The Strategic Plan at Work

Melanie Gottlieb |
September 21, 2021
  • AACRAO Leadership and Governance
  • President and Executive Director Updates
  • Strategic Planning

When we embarked on our strategic planning exercise in late 2019, we envisioned a process that would engage the whole of the AACRAO stakeholder group -- our members, our board of directors, and our staff -- informed by the current state of higher education and the best practices in the management of member associations available to us. The process was led by Tim Amyx, chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board of Directors, and supported by Associate Executive Director Tom Green and myself. 

Over the course of the slightly more than a year it took to develop the plan, we engaged a larger share of the AACRAO membership than ever before, as evidenced by the more than 400 of you who participated in the strategic planning session at the 2021 virtual annual meeting, using jamboards and the chat function to give your honest feedback on the goals and strategies. Frankly, we were surprised and thrilled that so many members were interested in the process. I am not sure that we would have had so many people engaged if the session had been in person, so the virtual meeting was a blessing in disguise for our planning process. The result is better than we could have imagined. 

The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 could have stalled the process, but it did not. In fact, like so many other processes during the pandemic, it possibly may have accelerated the plan’s development and implementation. 

The national office staff is deeply engaged in developing tactics and action plans to meet the goals. But even as we have been finalizing the aspects of the plan, which we will share with the Board of Directors when they meet in mid-October, we have already embarked on a number of key pieces of the plan you helped create. On-demand courses, AACRAO-endorsed microcredentials aligned with our competency and proficiency framework, more virtual gatherings, and lower cost meetings to expand access to more of our members, strengthening our ties to our state and regional organizations by helping them grow leadership and advocacy in their organizations. The pandemic has accelerated our ability to take these seed ideas from our members and grow them into full-fledged programs.

I hope you have noticed the new on-demand courses, some free, with their accompanying badges or the many free webinars and  coffee breaks. Nearly 500 of you attended the virtual Transfer Summit, recordings are available here, and many of you are coming to our virtual Tech Summit next week, where we will talk about transfer and data exchange technology. These exist because we heard you. We are making our resources more accessible to more members, and we’ve only just begun.