Core Work of Planning Groups

The Practice of Shared Governance

This process will embody the principles of effective shared governance and transparency regarding decision-making authority. 

  • The president sets the tone and vision for the process, empowers the community to work in meaningful ways on the plan, and provides feedback and consultation on the plan along the way. She also approves the major deliverables, as outlined in the charts below.
  • The provost and the chair of the plan design team are co-chairs of the steering committee, which sets the direction for the working mission, vision, values, and core themes. 
  • The senior leadership team empowers their respective divisions to enable full participation, consults on concepts, and provides feedback as requested throughout the process.
  • The Board of Trustees charges the president, the senior team, and the community with ensuring that an effective and inclusive strategic planning process is taking place. At board meetings, the board has the opportunity to offer feedback on developing ideas and directions. The executive committee of the board receives more frequent updates about the work being done and will have the opportunity to offer feedback on developing ideas. The process may engage individual board members with specific and relevant expertise as appropriate. The board formally approves the strategic plan framework and plan at the conclusion of the process.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee co-chairs:

  • La Jerne Terry Cornish, provost
  • Jason Freitag, associate professor of history, chair of strategic plan design team, and vice chair of Faculty Council

Selection of Members

Members were chosen by the president and the co-chairs of the Steering Committee from among a pool of individuals. A variety of nomination opportunities were designed to access the largest array of possible participants in the process. Between August 23 and September 15, 2018, individuals were invited to self-nominate, or nominate other members of the community, through the Strategic Planning website.  The Steering Committee co-chairs also reached out to the governance councils and other campus bodies for names of potential nominees.

Primary Charge

Committee members should have a commitment to the design principles as well as sufficient legitimacy with the campus community to work through potentially difficult (but hopefully ultimately empowering) conversations about making choices as a community.  The Steering Committee also helps to set the tone of collaborative responsibility within the Working Groups, and across the campus as the primary ambassadors of the Strategic Planning process.

  • Coordinate the overall activities of the Strategic Planning Process 
  • Ensure the timely progress and completion of the Strategic Planning process.
  • Communicate with the IC community on a schedule defined in the communications plan
  • Seek advice and counsel from the Strategic Planning Partners
  • Produce the final report of the planning process

Anticipated Time Commitment

  • 2-hour meeting each week

  • Membership on Working Groups (for some)

  • Possible work outside meetings
Membership Inputs Deliverables

12-15 members selected based on expertise.

  • Provost (Chair, to co-chair with design team chair)
  • One vice president (in addition to chair)
  • Three faculty members
  • Two staff members
  • Two students
  • One representative from Student Affairs and Campus Life
  • One alum
  • Two current trustees
  • One Ithaca/Tompkins County community member

School strategic plans developed in 2017-2018

Previous campus-wide reports (e.g., Middle States, Campus Climate)

Community feedback

Examination of new paradigms /best practices in strategic planning

Resources on future orientation (e.g., Future Ed at Georgetown)

Current vision and mission statements

Guiding vision statement

Guiding mission statement

Guiding values statement (either at start or as final process product)


Working group membership

Logistics Team

During the community feedback period about the planning process, the co-chairs recognized the need for a group that supports the steering committee's work by operationalizing ongoing needs such as project tracking and follow-up, events planning and  management, and communications strategies.


  • La Jerne Terry Cornish, provost, steering committee co-chair
  • Jason Freitag, associate professor of history, steering committee co-chair
  • Jennifer Campbell, associate vice president for college relations and communications
  • Melissa Daly, chief of staff, office of the president
  • Michelle Rios-Dominguez, associate director for faculty recruitment, office of the provost

Susan Baldridge, strategic plan consultant and professor of psychology at Middlebury College, is advising the team.

This team is not a part of the steering committee but acts as an adjunct to it, in order to ensure the work remains timely and clear. They draw upon the expertise and resources within their departments and elsewhere at the college to execute this responsibility.

Working Groups

Working Groups have ownership of their themes, and are responsible for creating opportunities for campus engagement. The Working Groups choose the channels, frequency, and mechanisms for collecting input.  The groups are responsible for scheduling these events, and collecting and organizing all feedback.

Selection of members

Members will be drawn from faculty, staff, students, and other relevant stakeholders. Each group will have two co-chairs. One will be a member of the Steering Committee, and one will be a member of the campus community, identified either through the general nominations process or based on expertise in a theme.

The co-chairs of each Working Group will select the remaining 6-8 members. They will review their membership with the Steering Committee co-chairs to ensure the groups are working consistently and that membership supports the planning process goals.

Primary Charge

Although the Steering Committee will set basic guidelines for the operation of Working Groups, they will have freedom to be creative in establishing themselves and determining how they will engage the community. Key responsibilities:

  • Own the planning work around their theme
  • Create opportunities for campus engagement
  • Choose the channels, frequency, and mechanisms for collecting input
  • Identify key stakeholders/audiences in advance of events
  • Schedule events, and collect and organize all feedback
  • Report results of events
  • Create goals and objectives for themes

Anticipated Time Commitment

  • 1-2-hour meetings each week, January-April
  • Possible work outside meetings
Membership Inputs Deliverables

Co-chaired by two people:

  • One co-chair of steering committee
  • One faculty or staff member as appropriate to theme

Six to eight additional members:

  • Selected for expertise/stake in theme
  • Mix of faculty/staff/students
  • Other stakeholders as appropriate
  • Alumni, trustees, community as appropriate

Themes identified by steering committee

Community (campus and external) events

Community feedback on work products

Goals and objectives

Partners and Delegates

The Strategic Planning Partners and Delegates are a people from across the college community (faculty, staff, students, and others) who will meet with the Steering Committee and Working Groups at scheduled, key points in the planning process to provide feedback and critique of the evolving strategic plan.  This group provides a mechanism for ongoing conversation between the participants in the planning process and representatives from a cross section of the community, especially those people who do not feel adequately represented through existing governance processes.  It also provides a mechanism to increase participation in and increased ownership of the planning process and outcomes.

Primary Charge

  • Provide a mechanism for ongoing conversation between the participants in the planning process and representatives from a cross section of the community
  • Act as stakeholders providing feedback; not serving in an an approval capacity

Anticipated Time Commitment

  • 1-2 meetings per semester
Membership Inputs Deliverables

Governance Councils (Faculty, Staff, and Student)

Strategic Planning Delegates

Senior Leadership Team

Working groups’ goals and objectives

Critique and feedback


The Consultants group is made up of subject matter experts within the IC community, who will be involved in executing the final strategic plan. They lend their specific knowledge and expertise to help inform parts of the plan where their work plays a key role. They will be chosen by the president and provost.

Primary Charge

  • Provide advice and guidance to Working Groups on the development of goals and objectives 
  • Evaluate/validate thee feasibility of goals and objectives
  • Assist in execution of the agreed-upon strategic plan

Anticipated Time Commitment

  • Variable, as needed
Membership Inputs Deliverables

Representatives from units across the institution that would be involved in executing parts of the plan, selected based on their expertise and knowledge.

Working group queries

Periodic review of the working group outputs

Advice and guidance

Feasibility assessment

Budget, resource and time estimates

Board of Trustees

With fiduciary responsibility for the college, the Board of Trustees votes on final approval of the plan. The board does not dictate the plan's development process, content, or details. They will be kept up to date at key moments during the process. Members will also participate along with the campus by offering feedback and generating ideas.

Primary Charge

  • Charge the president, senior leadership team, and campus community with ensuring that an effective and inclusive planning process takes place.
Membership Inputs Deliverables

Current trustees

Working mission, vision, and values

Goals and objectives drafts from committees and action groups

Approval of mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives

Strategic-level feedback at key intervals