Our lead article focuses on an idea that may raise the anxiety levels of campus planners; it explores what may be a downright ugly possibility to self-regarding consultants. When is it not appropriate to initiate a campus plan? We have some suggestions and thoughts that will produce positive outcomes for an institution. Curious? Read on.
Good and bad are not accusations, but choices. We share some tips on how to prepare for working with a planning consultant and how to be ready to plan.
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Not to Initiate a
The most productive campus plans are organic processes that require stable, sure leadership; an inspiring vision of the institution's future; accurate, current information; and meaningful, timely engagement by an active campus community.
you lack an internal advocate for the outcomes
Institutional planning is a continuous activity at well-managed campuses. Having the right person leading the effort is essential to producing meaningful, vibrant, successful plans, and eliminates the possibility of its becoming a going-through-the-motions routine.
When changing administrations
If this happens, design the process to go into hiatus when the campus and program analysis is complete and initial plan concepts have been drafted. The incoming administration can then get settled and take the leadership of the development of plan alternatives.
you have a micro-managing board
Effective campus planning is an administrative responsibility that the board needs to participate in, but should not direct.
you have agreement on enrollment projections or enrollment scenarios
you don't have adequate documentation of your physical assets
Whether or not the assignment is productive depends as much on the skills and experience of the consultants as on your preparedness and on the degree to which you are a responsible client.
Planning should be an on-going institutional endeavor. Bringing in a consultant to help your institution demonstrates good stewardship. However, the presence of a consultant does not eliminate your responsibilities -- setting priorities, making decisions, and becoming engaged.
planning effectiveness of a campus depends on the planning effectiveness
of its presidential leadership. There is no escape from this situation.”
As the institution's leader, you are responsible for describing the problem.
You are responsible for establishing priorities. Consultants can then help you understand the implications of your choices. Here are some useful rules-of-thumb.
If your project involves new construction, be realistic about the expenses above basic construction costs. For planning purposes, a new construction project can be 1.25 to 1.35 the cost of construction.
Be realistic about schedule. A campus plan, should take about 9 months to complete. A facility program usually requires a minimum of 3 to 4 months. New construction for an academic building will take 18 to 24 months.
If you set a challenging schedule, then you need to recognize the impact this will have on your institution. Consultants are experienced in meeting deadlines, but be sure the institution does not cause delays.
be shy about being a demanding client -- of your consultant and yourself.
You will both be more successful.
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