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By Fred M. Hayward

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If it is done badly, the strategic planning process may generate opposition from the outset, be seen as threatening to major stakeholders, fail to generate effective discussion of major issues, and prevent the necessary changes from being implemented. The resulting negative environment could sabotage the work of the committee. At the beginning of the strategic planning process, it may be useful to focus on past successes, their relationship to a creative vision for the institution, the resourcefulness of the teaching and research staff, the support of the campus community, and the vision of those who planned for the future in previous planning efforts.

The Fall and Rise of Strategic Planning’. Harvard Business Review, January/February. p. 109. The National Universities Commission (NUC) was legally established in 1974 to function as a buffer between government and the higher education institutions, with responsibilities for advising government on policy issues, setting norms for quality assurance, channelling block grants from government to the universities, and overseeing the balanced and co-ordinated development of the system. Maki, P. L. 2002.

For example, enrolment data will help the strategic planning committee assess student enrolment patterns, as well as dropout and graduation rates. These numbers have implications for income, housing and staffing needs, among other things. Failure rates will be reflected in income losses from state funding (50 per cent of the subsidy under the current South African Post-Secondary Education formula)1 – a cost that must be taken into consideration when doing long-term planning. Similarly, a review of data on staff gains, losses, promotions and benefits is essential to effective planning.

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