Announcing Bentley’s Strategic Planning Process
As we begin a new year, a new presidency, and Bentley University’s second century, it is time for all members of our community to come together, share ideas, test our limits, and develop a new and comprehensive strategic plan—one that will move Bentley to the next level of excellence and recognition in business education. Our view of business education is more expansive than many of our peers because it is fully grounded in the humanities, natural and social sciences, and the ongoing role of technology in changing our world. We have developed this type of education because we understand that our role as a university is not only to train graduates to succeed in their first jobs but, more importantly, to develop graduates into leaders who have a broad, multidisciplinary perspective and the ethical insight and moral courage to address the business and societal problems not only of today, but of tomorrow.
What’s the process?
This will be a fully inclusive process, providing opportunities for faculty, staff and students to help shape Bentley’s future direction, and to offer important input along the way. Throughout this process, we will focus on scholarly and teaching excellence, our commitment to student learning and success, and on building a shared vision of the role we want to play in the broader landscape of higher education.
To begin the first phase of this iterative process, I have asked EAB, an educational consulting firm well-known and respected for its work in higher education, to visit Bentley and lead two days of facilitated campus dialogues. EAB will synthesize what we learned in these dialogues, and those results will be shared with all of you. Building on the input you provide, the Cabinet will design the next step in the process (for example, we might need to collect additional data about the feasibility of a set of ideas, or we may need to form a small, short-term working group to suggest ways that we might approach a particular challenge).
Each step in the process will include an opportunity for the members of our community to provide feedback on the emerging elements of the plan so that we can build the plan collectively. This will include consultation and updates with the Provost’s Council, the Faculty Senate, and each of our divisions. The results of each step in the process, summaries of any data we collect, and status updates will be posted on a strategic planning website so that you can see what we have already done and what we are currently working on. Ultimately, I expect we will have a clear overarching direction, a small set of focused strategic goals, and related operational tactics in place by May 2019, so that we are prepared by Fall 2019 to begin implementing the plan.
Engaging in the Year Ahead
I invite you to engage fully throughout this strategic planning process. The year ahead will be filled with teaching and learning inside and outside of the classroom, scholarship and research, important community celebrations, and fun annual traditions. But this strategic planning process is the only activity that will determine the shape and direction of our university for years and even decades to come. Please join your colleagues from across the university in charting our course toward the future. If we are to achieve our aspirations for what Bentley can and should be, the work begins today—and it begins with all of us. I can’t wait to hear more from each of you.
All information and data from the university’s strategic planning process will be posted to this page. We will also be sharing updates with the community by email. If you have any questions, ideas, or feedback, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll follow up.
Strategic Planning Kickoff: September 20-21, 2018
Over 400 faculty and staff attended 10 separate sessions over two days with representatives from EAB. The sessions asked each participant to think about Bentley’s newspaper headlines of the future. Then, each group was tasked with identifying three key success factors that would be required for Bentley to achieve the stated headline.
The EAB presentation used at these sessions is available to download HERE
At the conclusion of these sessions, EAB consultants Davis Attis and Joe Infantino, based on their very preliminary review of the data, provided President Davis-Blake and Provost Rosansky with early impressions of the major themes that emerged from the group discussions. Those were:
- Our Values: there was a sense that our values are not only very important to us but that they are a mark of distinction that differentiates our students from other students who study business, as well as our campus culture from other campuses.
- Undergraduate Curriculum: there was a strong desire for a revised undergraduate curriculum that is (a) more fully integrated across Arts and Sciences and Business; (b) much more flexible; (c) innovative in content and structure and also includes preparation in newer areas of importance to our graduates (e.g., artificial intelligence, FinTech); (d) provides a foundation for lifelong learning for our students; and (e) involves our alumni in some parts of curricular design and delivery.
- Philanthropy: there was a sentiment that Bentley deserves strong philanthropic support. The specifics of what might motivate a philanthropic gift were not always articulated.
- EAB will fully analyze the data, looking more rigorously and in more detail for common ideas and themes across the 10 sessions. The raw data, including all of the headlines and key success factors generated by each group, will be posted to our new homepage for strategic planning within two weeks, along with various ways to group and visualize the data in an aggregate form.
- Because values emerged as a theme and our shared values should guide all that we do during the strategic planning process, while we are waiting for the data to be analyzed, we will invite our entire community (including students) to explore and comment on our values. Look for an email announcement with details soon. That information will also be posted on this website.
- Based on the “headline exercise” in the Strategic Planning process which identified our aspirations for the future, we will begin crafting together and sharing for comment some early thoughts about what the clear overarching direction for Bentley might look like. This will require some time to fully emerge and will need to be informed by later stages of the process, so I would not expect an initial draft of these overarching directions for a while.
- Based on the critical success factors that emerge from the Strategic Planning kickoff, we will design a process to explore those in more detail.