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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Ensure strategic plan endures

Published: January 27, 2012
Section: Editorials

In the strategic plan process, something is clearly amiss.

The entire affair has taken far too long. Case in point, in Student Union President Herbie Rosen’s e-mail to students this week, he reviewed the process for those—in his words—“new here, or for those who just plain forgot.”

While all indications make clear that the strategic plan has followed a set timeline, by the end of the process and no doubt soon after the process ends, new realities are sure to affect the implementation of the plans.

When The Hoot asked former President Jehuda Reinharz for advice for the Fred Lawrence administration this week, Reinharz answered reflexively: “They wouldn’t want my advice.”

But he also urged caution in the strategic planning process. Pointing to his bookshelf full of now defunct strategic plans from his 14 years at Brandeis, he said, “Our world is moving so quickly.

“The moment you finish, the circumstances have already changed.”

That does not mean strategic plans have no place. But they need not take as much time and gather as much input as is currently occurring. Strategic planning ought to be a constant process, one that does not presume to have all the answers but continually focuses community attention on the future of the university.

Community input is vital to the process, and we applaud the involvement of students in the planning. But we also urge caution: When circumstances change—as they inevitably will—administrators must be ready to discard old plans and adapt to new realities.