Definition of Terms
Sanaghan, P. (2009). Collaborative strategic planning in higher education; 1st edition. Washington, DC: National Association of College and University Business Officers.
Vision: A description of a desired future state. The best visions are vivid, compelling, and well-understood and build on the institution’s strengths and values.
Values: The core beliefs and guiding principles that govern daily behavior, communication, decision making, and leadership within an organization. These are considered non-negotiable.
Mission: Articulates the institution’s purpose and major activities in which it is engaged. By incorporating its particular values, an institution differentiates itself from other organizations engaged in similar activities.
Goals: Large-scale efforts that, when accomplished, move the organization closer to its vision. Effective goals are subject to assessment.
Strategy: A particular approach in pursuit of an organization’s vision in support of a goal.
Strategic Plan: The narrative map that communicates where an organization wants to go and identifies how it intends to get there.
Outputs: The services or products provided by an institution. Relevant measures related to outputs typically focus on efficiency (for example, the number of annual graduates).
Outcomes: An organization’s impact on the external environment or the value it provides through its products or services. Relevant measures related to outcomes typically focus on effectiveness (for example, the percentage of students obtaining a job in their educational field or admitted to medical school).
Additional PSC Specific and HLC Terminology
Initiative: Specific step identified to accomplish a strategy. Initiatives are subject to specific assessment.
Transformational Goal: The 2 to 4 institutional-changing goals identified to accomplish the college’s vision.
Quality Initiative: The Open Pathway process of the HLC requires the institution to undertake a major Quality Initiative designed to advance the institution. The Quality Initiative is intended to allow institutions to take risks, aim high, and if so be it, learn from only partial success or even failure.