Edmonds College’s comprehensive approach to planning is an integrated one that allows the college to strengthen its existing functions (i.e., operational planning), while simultaneously leaning into the future (i.e., innovation [i.e., strategic] planning). Weaving long-term planning with annual operational planning allows the college to focus on meeting its mission, while working toward realizing its vision.
Edmonds College’s comprehensive planning model is designed to include a broad range of participants and to help them more easily identify, achieve, and assess short-term and long-term outcomes for programs and services. The planning model’s mechanisms for data analyses and stakeholder discussions inform decision-making processes for resource allocations and for institutional changes that promote continuous improvement.
The college’s operational plan (formerly known as the SIMPLE Plan) is organized around four overarching goals of Access, Success, Community Engagement, and Capacity/Operational Excellence. Each of these goals has multiple strategies, and each strategy has multiple specific, measurable actions that are assigned to different individuals at the college. In this sense, the operational plan is tied to the college’s organizational chart.
Updates on actions are regularly provided by the President’s Leadership Team, and formal updates are presented to the college’s Board of Trustees. The plan is refreshed each year, as completed items roll off and new actions are added.
To assist with innovation (i.e., strategic) planning, the college created an Idea Lab, which is designed to be a permanent innovation structure at Edmonds College to brainstorm, incubate, evaluate, and mobilize innovative solutions to create a change-ready and adaptive college. The Idea Lab began during the 2019-20 academic year, with the first cohort of employees assisting the college with the creation of the college’s next innovation plan.
Ideas for the innovation plan may come from a variety of sources, but the ideas should also be forward-thinking. Once ideas are vetted, approved, and implemented, they will inform shorter-term operational plans, goals, strategies, and actions. In this way, the college’s innovation plan and operational plan are integrated. The diagram below illustrates the inherent relationship between the two sides of the college’s comprehensive plan.
Edmonds College has six (6) goals in its comprehensive plan: 4 operational goals and 2 innovation goals:
- Access: Edmonds College's Access goal aims to increase student and community access to college pathways. Increasing access to the college experience through outreach and marketing, high-quality academic programs, clear pathways; and student-centered course scheduling are included in this goal.
- Success: Success for all students is a driving priority for Edmonds College. Establishing an inclusive learning environment requires equitable support structures, quality student success resources, and inescapable pathway communication to guide students to attain their academic goals.
- Community Engagement: Edmonds College is committed to serving our community and partnering in creative and unique ways to solve problems, meet needs, and build futures. Investing in relationships with organizations, partners, and community leaders for shared outcomes is the intent of this goal.
- Capacity and Operational Excellence: This goal aims to build institutional, individual and professional capacity for excellence through focus on identified leadership competencies. Intentional pursuit of process improvement, operational efficiencies, strategic use of resources, and customer obsession will also drive progress toward this goal.
- Entrepreneurial Hub: Edmonds College will create synergies among the business community, our racially diverse and immigrant communities, and our campus community by creating access and opportunity through an entrepreneurship hub.
- Anytime, Anywhere: Edmonds College will commit to enhancing academic and service delivery to fit the modern student lifestyle: delivering personalized attention at mass scale.
Each year the college identifies priority strategies and actions for each of the six goals.
Lagging and Leading Indicator Framework
The concepts of leading and lagging indicators are utilized when Edmonds College assesses its comprehensive plan:
- Lagging indicators reflect the goals that the college focuses on; and
- Leading indicators reflect actionable measures that influence lagging indicators in order to provide information about progress on the college’s goals.
Within the leading and lagging indicator framework, leading indicators represent planned, measured actions (in the operational plan) that are designed to influence a lagging indicator. As a result, the leading-lagging framework allows the college flexibility in creating short-term plans, undertaking strategies, and implementing initiatives that can directly (or indirectly) influence the college’s long-term plans and goals.
The college has identified ten (10) lagging indicators, which are monitored not only to assess institutional health, but also to assess work toward the college’s plans. The ten lagging indicators include strategic targets that were developed after looking at multiple years of college data. These targets are stretch targets that the college aspires to achieve.
The status of each lagging indicator is annually reported in the college’s Institutional Performance Report, which is reviewed and approved by the President’s Leadership Team and the contents of which are presented to the Board of Trustees. Copies of the annual performance reports are posted on the college’s website.