Strategic Execution Superstars: University of Georgia’s College of Education

We are honored to shine a spotlight on the University of Georgia’s College of Education, for ranking in the top 10% of OnStrategy customers for goals completed. Founded in 1908, the College of Education is one of the largest and most diverse institutions of its kind in the nation, offering 14 undergraduate majors and more than 30 graduate programs. Their graduate program is perennially ranked among the top of the nation’s public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings.

Thanks to University of Georgia representatives Laura Bierema and Ronald Cervero—Both are professors who steward the College of Education’s strategic management process. In their roles as strategic leaders, Bierema (an instructor for Adult Education, Learning and Organizational Development) represents the faculty stakeholder group, and Cervero (an Associate Dean for Outreach and Engagement) represents the administration.

Q: What do you think are the top reason(s) that your strategy efforts are succeeding?

A: We have attempted for the strategic plan to be a living document. The plan was derived through a highly participative process that involved the college’s key stakeholders. Once the plan was developed, we appointed a Strategic Plan Implementation Monitoring Committee representative of college leadership and governance bodies that developed a tracking matrix. The matrix examined the strategic action items, key people responsible, others involved, key data needed for measurement, and a timeline. This committee refined the plan further and attempted to build in specific accountabilities for all items. The revised plan was approved by the college in 2012.

The Strategic Plan Monitoring Committee recommended moving the plan to the OnStrategy format as a means of making the plan easily accessible through our website. The committee is next charged with evaluating the 5-year plan cycle we are currently in and planning for our next major planning period of 2015-2020. We also have a new Dean, Dr. Craig Kennedy, and the committee will be seeking his input to understand how he would like to proceed with the plan.

Q: Of your strategic accomplishments, what are you the most proud of?

A: As one of the largest and top colleges of education in the U.S., we have a daunting task of meeting our public land grant mission to teach, research and serve. The college is complex with a wide variety of actions underway to help us accomplish our goals. Given the size and complexity, it can also be challenging to communicate the strategic plan and progress to the college and our stakeholders. We strive to make this a priority in our meetings and written and virtual communication.

Q: What are your biggest challenges in staying on track and how are you overcoming them?

A: Accomplishing a strategic plan requires diligence. It entails regular assessment of how we are doing respective to our key goals and action items, and making necessary adjustments. We have also found that it involves the effort to bring the stakeholders together to review progress. Having the OnStrategy format makes this process much easier, with multiple ways of examining our progress.

Much thanks to Bierema and Cervero for helping us showcase how they make the strategic plan a working, living document!

Click-worthy: For more tips on keeping your plan on the fast track to achievement read “Ten Things to Keep Your Strategic Plan from Hitting the Shelf.”


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