Stephen F. Austin State University

Phase IV: Vision Conference

Phase I Phase II Phase III Phase V
Phase IV

Phase IV: Vision Conference

January 30, 2015| On January 30, 2015 a Vision Conference brought together more than 70 diverse stakeholders, both internal and external, to review and discuss the concept papers the steering committee had prepared regarding the strategic priorities identified during the Engagement/Data-Gathering and Sense-Making phases. This vision conference allowed stakeholders to share their unique perspectives and to better understanding of others' priorities and concerns. The outcome of the vision conference was the creation of a preferred future for the university that was distilled into a university vision statement. You can see that Vision Statement here.

Stakeholder groups represented at the Vision Conference included:

The vision conference included three primary sections:

During the first section, small heterogeneous groups reviewed and discussed concept papers developed by writing teams from the SPT that translated what had been learned during the engagement and data-gathering phase of the process.. Cross-boundary discussion resulted that promoted understanding of different perspectives of the issues. In the course of these discussions participants learned more about the essential elements of the identified strategic themes from each other.

Here are links to the concept papers:

Academic Innovation

SFA Identity

Make/Increase/Strengthen External Connections

Recruiting & Retaining High Quality Faculty and Staff

Transformative Experiences for Students

University Culture

[Note on Concept Papers: The goal was to create an non-academic paper for lay persons that is informative and doesn't try and steer the reader in a specific direction or have an agenda of some kind. It helped translate the data we had received through the engagement and data-gathering process for the participants of the Vision Conference.]

The second section of the vision conference focused on the perspectives of specific stakeholder groups. Each group was asked to develop and share what it believed is important for the institution's future and what issues it would like to be considered as the university's strategic goals are developed. This process promoted further cross-boundary discussion and helped expand participants' thinking about the strategic priorities.

The third and final section of the vision conference laid the groundwork for determining specific goals for the future. Participants, informed by the previous discussions, helped craft a shared vision for the university's future. The concept paper themes were used as a basis for specific focus questions that asked participants to envision what they want the university to "look like" five years from now.

The preferred future described by the vision conference participants was condensed into a Vision Statement that will serve as the foundation to design strategic goals and implementation plans during the final phase of the planning process.