ERIC Number: EJ943829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 19
Viewpoint: Planners as Sensemakers and Sensegivers--Reshaping Austerity in College and University Planning
Harris, Nathan F.
Planning for Higher Education, v39 n2 p51-54 Jan-Mar 2011
Many planning offices are experiencing an identity crisis. Before the recession, their role was clear: provide colleges and universities the analytical support needed to develop academic programs and expand facilities. For more than a decade, planning offices were the workhorses supporting ambitious growth strategies. New and improved programs and facilities, often funded by donations from partnering corporations and wealthy alumni, were solutions to such intersecting challenges as declining resources from federal and state governments, diverging student demographics, emerging accountability and assessment expectations, transforming teaching and learning technologies, changing workforce skills, and increasing competition from traditional rivals and for-profit institutions. Planners accepted the charge of operationalizing visions and strategies--the future--for colleges and universities. Despite these new resources and higher stakes, planning offices assumed a familiar and essential role: defining the limits of the possible for senior administrators by translating ambitions into action. The author stresses that while the economic and political environment offers few financial resources, it creates an institutional need that planners are uniquely positioned to address--the role of sensemaker and sensegiver. In essence, planners can sustain the ambitious spirit of earlier visions by helping leaders frame modest program development and facilities expansion as essential to the institution's future amid the new austerity.
Descriptors: College Planning, Administrators, Administrator Role, Educational Finance, Retrenchment, Organizational Change, Strategic Planning
Society for College and University Planning. 339 East Liberty Street Suite 300, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Tel: 734-998-7832; Fax: 734-998-6532; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.scup.org/PHE
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A