Unlike traditional strategic plans, the concept of a strategic compass is to produce a less rigid guide that helps organizations focus on intentional and evidence-based decision making when confronted with challenges and opportunities during pursuit of their full potential. The strategic compass is particularly appropriate in highly dynamic environments such as higher education.

Development of the Strategic Compass involved a collaborative approach and engaged the university community and external stakeholders. The Compass is intended to be used by all units, both academic and support, to inspire the formulation of more specific tactical plans at the local level.

The UIS Strategic Compass was developed with a “bottom up” approach involving all University stakeholders. A Strategic Compass Steering Committee (SCSC) comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, students, alums and community representatives guided the effort. Throughout the planning process, the UIS community had several opportunities to become actively engaged in the study of issues, provide feedback about the Compass as it evolved and participate in the shaping of the University’s collective aspirations.

UIS was assisted in the planning process by faculty consultants affiliated with the Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE) at Middle Tennessee State University. The SCSC worked with the COHRE consultants to develop a draft Strategic Compass report (PDF) and technical report (PDF) that included preliminary versions of the UIS Mission, Vision, Values and Goals, which were presented to the UIS community (PDF) in Fall 2018. The SCSC then worked in subcommittees to develop a revised version of the Mission, Vision and Values, which were open to comments and adapted based on campus feedback. After all comments were addressed and accounted for to the satisfaction of the SCSC, the final draft was submitted to the Chancellor, who formally approved the new Mission, Vision and Values in January 2019.

Planning and Goal-setting

The Unit Operational Planning Guide is intended to help all units at UIS make the Strategic Compass the foundation of their strategies, plans and goals. When properly executed, the Strategic Compass offers UIS the opportunity to fully achieve its overarching strategic goal—to provide students with a Premier Educational Experience.