Institutional Research & Effectiveness


The college planning processes include three major types of planning. The College engages in a continuous, repeating cycle of assessment, evaluation, planning and implementation. The Strategic Plan goals and objectives are used to guide annual planning for three years. The College’s Strategic Plan is broadly vetted in the college, with economic development leaders, community leaders, and public officials within the College’s service area, and is subsequently approved by the Cabinet and Board of Trustees. The Cabinet and the Senior Leadership Team periodically engage in in-depth evaluation of programs, reviewing data, program needs, and improvements noted from a program’s 3-year program review. This process informs the annual and strategic planning processes. Planning units draft their annual plans each year in support of the achievement of the goals and objectives in the strategic plan. As part of the planning process, each planning unit links their goals and objectives to strategic plan goals and objectives, establishing outcomes; a designated approver reviews and ensures that it appropriately aligns with and supports the accomplishment of strategic plan objectives.

The following recaps each process and its role in shaping the organization, allocations of staffing and budgets.

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning is initiated by the Cabinet and involves the establishment of institution-wide goals and objectives in a strategic plan that provides imperatives for a 3-year period. Using the strategic plan to provide direction, the various divisions are responsible for establishing strategies to accomplish institutional objectives that are reflected in the program’s 3-year plan or in the annual plans. Established goals and objectives guide the allocation of college resources.

During the 3-year planning process, the Cabinet vets the Purpose Statement, Mission, Vision, and Values. Changes to the mission statement, Mission, Vision and Values require the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees’ approval.

Unit Planning

Unit Planning, sometimes referred to in academic areas as Program Planning, is used by units to establish goals and objectives for the next three years. For academic areas, planning generally occurs at the program level. In the administrative support units of the college, a unit is established below the division level and generally represents a department within a division. Therefore, while the strategies are defined by the division heads through the strategic planning process, the units and programs establish goals and objectives to achieve the strategies defined at the division level.

At the end of the 3-year cycle, a review is undertaken to assess achievement of outcomes, address findings and identify needed improvement, and establish objectives and outcomes for the next three year cycle.

Annual Planning

Annual Planning also occurs at the unit level. Goals and objectives are established each year for each unit which supports the achievement of the 3-year unit goals and the strategic plan. Units identify objectives, assessment criteria, critical documentation for evidence and findings. Unmet objectives are identified for action planning and improvement. Budgetary needs, facilities, and other necessary resources noted in annual planning help to inform other critical processes such as annual budgeting, allocation of space and hiring of appropriate staff and faculty.

Documentation for planning processes reside in an online system that serves as the database of record for goals and objectives from the strategic plan individual 3-year unit and program reviews, and annual plans. Goals at the program or unit level are linked to the strategic plan.