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Strategic Planning in Higher Education

This page includes a collection of resources provided to assist University units in developing and implementing a strategic plan.

The Planning, Research, and Policy Analysis (PRPA) team is also available to assist with the process. Please send an email to if questions arise and/or assistance is needed.


The strategic planning framework guides an organization through the strategic planning process in creating a strategic plan from start to finish while explaining in detail each step of the process.

Template: Strategic Planning Framework


The communication plan serves several purposes and provides a framework to:

  • Ensure that stakeholders are provided consistent and timely information regarding the planning process and implementation
  • Engage the stakeholders in the process by communicating opportunities for involvement in the generation of ideas and to provide feedback on the draft

Template: Communication Plan

Mission and Vision Statements

This mission and vision statement guidelines provide step-by-step guidance in creating effective statements.

Mission statements capture the essence of an organization and includes the general values and principals that guides its goals.

Mission Statement Guidelines

Vision statements express what the University hopes to be and achieve in the long-term. It is future-based and meant to inspire.

Vision Statement Guidelines

Analysis Tools

A strategic planning process typically includes an information gathering stage to help determine the future direction of an organization. Information can be gathered from a variety of sources including an environmental scan, stakeholder surveys, and focused discussions. Below are two methods to analyze the information gathered in this stage. Typically only one method is utilized.

A SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results) analysis is a strategic planning technique that focuses on an organization’s current strengths and opportunities, and leverages them to create future aspirations with measurable results. It is completed after the information gathering stage of the planning process and guides the creation of strategic directions or goals that lead to plan objectives and actions.

Template: SOAR Analysis

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis examines an organizations strengths and weaknesses to determine how they can be leveraged to take advantage of the opportunities and threats. It is completed after the information gathering stage of the planning process and guides the creation of strategic directions or goals that lead to plan objectives and actions.

Template: SWOT Analysis

Plan Checklist

The strategic plan checklist below is an inventory of all the components that could be included in a strategic plan.

Chart: Strategic Plan Checklist


The Action Step Implementation template can assist in outlining how to achieve and measure actions within a plan’s strategic directions/goals and objectives.

Template: Action Step Implementation

Additional Tools

The Planning Integration Tool assists in tracking the progress of the strategic plan by aligning activities (contributions) to objectives and strategic directions.

Template: Planning Integration Tool

Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State Crosswalk

The Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State Crosswalk shows how the current University’s strategic plan aligns to the previous plan, Educating Illinois. Units with existing strategic plans that were previously aligned to Educating Illinois can use this tool to see the new correlating strategic direction/objective. For example, if a unit aligned a goal with Educating Illinois, 1.1.B, the corresponding Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State objective is I.A.1

Educating Illinois to Educate Connect Elevate: Illinois State Crosswalk

Integrated Planning Glossary

The Integrated Planning Glossary was compiled by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), an international organization for college and professional planners. The purpose of the SCUP Integrated Planning Glossary is to establish a shared understanding of planning terms, a key to successful planning.

SCUP Integrated Planning Glossary