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Higher education planning for a strategic goal with a concept mapping process at a small private college

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deborah P. Driscoll (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Terry Ackerman

Abstract: Faculty, staff, and administrators at a small independent college determined that planning with a Concept Mapping process efficiently produced strategic thinking and action plans for the accomplishment of a strategic goal to expand experiential learning within the curriculum. One year into a new strategic plan, the college enjoyed enrollment growth as one indicator of the success of the Strategic Plan. However, no progress on the strategic goal to expand experiential learning was evident. Planning literature cautioned planners to adapt planning techniques to fit the particular traditions and expectations of the individual campus. Should a planner advise administrative intervention as a hierarchical approach to planning might indicate, or would an alternate planning model, such as a Concept Mapping process better engage key leaders to devise strategy? The college opted to invite local experiential learning experts and practitioners to work together in a four meeting structured planning process. The participatory and democratic aspects of the Concept Mapping process (Trochim, 1989) fit the traditions of the campus, as did the group component. Qualitative data (the key leaders' brainstormed ideas) and quantitative data (key leaders' sorting and rating of those ideas) provided input for multivariate analyses (multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis). The analyses produced visual displays or maps to show the collective result of the groups' input. The visual displays aided group discussion and decision-making to prioritize actions related to the strategic issue of expanding experiential learning. This process produced a Concept Map of strategic action areas supplemented by specific action plans to address the goal of the expansion of experiential learning for students.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Concept mapping, Experiential learning, Planning, Small college
Subjects
Experiential learning $x Education (Higher)
Strategic planning.
Concept mapping.