Strategic Compass 2018-2028

Compass image
Chancellor Susan Koch announced the initiation of the next strategic planning process at the University of Illinois Springfield during the Fall Chancellor’s Convocation.  Chancellor Koch identified the Strategic Framework developed under the auspices of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees as the umbrella under which the University of Illinois Springfield will develop a Strategic Compass. This Compass will guide the university community in reaffirming and revitalizing its unique mission, vision, values, and goals, and it will guide the institution for the next ten years.


The goal of this project is to develop a Strategic Compass for the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) that will guide the university for the next ten years beginning in 2018. Unlike traditional strategic plans, the concept of a strategic compass is to produce a less rigid guide that will focus organizations 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.

Why Now?

There are a number of compelling reasons to launch a strategic planning process the University of Illinois Springfield at this time, including, but not limited to, the following points:

  • The University of Illinois System has recently completed and implemented a system-wide strategic plan entitled “The 2016-2026 Strategic Framework”. This document is intended to serve as a broad umbrella under which each of the universities will pursue strategic planning.
  • The University of Illinois Springfield’s original strategic plan implemented in 2006 entitled “UIS Strategic Plan: Creating a Brilliant Future,” was later modified to extend some of the core goals into what became the Strategic Planning Update (2013-2016). This updated plan has now served its purpose.
  • Regional institutional accreditors and academic program accreditation bodies have an expectation that every university will be guided by a strategic planning process of some type.
  • The University of Illinois Springfield and the state of Illinois have undergone a series of important and transformational changes that make this an ideal time to reflect on our identity and our role, both real and aspirational, within the landscape of Illinois public higher education.

Scope and Steering

This effort will follow a collaborative approach by engaging the entire university community and external stakeholders in the creation of a strategic compass.  The UIS Strategic Compass will be used by all units, both academic and support, to inspire the formulation of more specific tactical plans at the local level.

A Strategic Compass Steering Committee (SCSC) will guide this effort. The SCSC will be co-chaired by Dennis Papini (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost) and Jorge Villegas (Associate Professor and Chair, Business Administration). The process will be collaborative and extensive, reaching across all divisions of the university and into the Springfield community and State of Illinois. View the full membership of the SCSC

Throughout the planning process, the entire university community will have opportunities to become actively engaged in the study of issues, provide feedback about the Compass as it evolves, and participate in the shaping of our collective aspirations for the University of Illinois Springfield.

Planning Model

UIS will be assisted in the planning process by faculty consultants affiliated with the Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness (COHRE) at Middle Tennessee State University. A description of COHRE with profiles of the consultants is available for review. As faculty with extensive consulting experience in the area of organizational change and strategic planning, these individuals offer a planning process specifically aligned with Jeffrey Buller’s (2015) Change Leadership in Higher Education: A Practical Guide to Academic Transformation. Buller contends that,

“the strategic compass, is particularly useful in highly dynamic environments like higher education.  The value of a strategic compass is that although it points the institution in a general direction, it doesn’t do so in an overly detailed and costly manner of most strategic plans.  Since what our environment will be like in the future is inherently ambiguous, how can we best position ourselves so that we’ll be prepared to take advantage of unexpected opportunities when they arise, to remain resilient in the face of unanticipated challenges, and to adapt in a way that will keep us relevant in the years to come?” (p. 122)

Following this year of planning, we will create intentional links between the UIS Strategic Compass and planning processes in both academic (Colleges, Departments, and Centers) and support units (Student Success, Enrollment Management, and Campus Master Planning, for example).


  • The UIS administration is in full support of the strategic planning process and is committed to providing the professional resources and guidance needed to meet the timeline expectations set by the SCSC.
  • The SCSC and identified stakeholders have the capacity needed to meet the needs of this project in addition to their daily workload.
  • There is a desire from the UIS university community and external stakeholders to be active participants in the development of the strategic compass.

Decision Making Model

The decision making model for this project will be a general consensus model. The SCSC is charged with the development of the Compass. They will make recommendations based on co-chair assessment of general consensus.

Issue Resolution Procedures

If a logistical or procedural issue arises, the co-chairs and the Chancellor will work to resolve the issues using available human and organizational resources.

Strategic Plan Approval Process

The SCSC will work with the COHRE consultants to develop a draft strategic compass that includes statements of the UIS Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals. As the consultants prepare draft sections of the Strategic Compass they will be shared with the university community and put online for comment. Once the entire Compass is drafted it will be presented to the UIS community and select external partners for comment. After all comments have been addressed and accounted for to the satisfaction of the SCSC, the final draft will be submitted to the Chancellor. The Chancellor may decide to pose additional questions to the SCSC and/or to put the final draft back out for comment. Once the Chancellor is satisfied with the Compass, it will undergo all required formal approvals.