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   By Gunder A. Myran

   This article previously appeared in The    of a preferred future for the overall pro-       sons, the future is simply a projection into
Community Services Catalyst, Winter           gram and have a sense of the strategy            time of the current configuration of the
1983, Volume XIII, Number 1 (pages 12-        being used to create that future. Strategic      offerings and services of the program.
14) and is reprinted with the permission      skills are needed to enable staff members        They feel that if things are going well
of the author.                                to assess emerging community education-          operationally, they must be going well
                                              al needs, envision the best match between        strategically.
Introduction                                  these needs and the nature and scope of
                                              the future CS/CE program, develop long-              On the other hand, those who feel that
    A person standing on a hill overlooking
                                              range goals for the program, and estab-          the future of the CS/CE program can be
a community college campus can take a
                                              lish working relationships with individuals      shaped by planned interventions into
photograph either of the “big picture”—
                                              and groups which will lay the foundation         ongoing events can be described as strate-
the entire campus-or a detail of a specific
                                              for future program development.                  gically-oriented managers. They feel that
building simply by using different lenses.
                                                                                               the future can be shaped by anticipating
Similarly, the Community Services/
                                              Shaping the Future of the                        emerging trends in the community and in
Continuing Education manager in a com-
                                              Community Services/Continuing                    the college as a whole, and then making
munity college is able to shape the big
                                              Education Program                                those key decisions which will create the
picture-the future of the entire CS/CE pro-
                                                                                               best match between those trends and the
gram—or carry out operational details of         Some CS/CE managers feel that the
                                                                                               future possibilities of the CS/CE program.
the program by using different skills.        future just happens, while others feel that
                                                                                               They believe that CS/CE staff members
Strategic management and operational          they can shape the future through a
                                                                                               must devote time and energy to speculat-
management represent two ends of a con-       process of strategic decision-making and
                                                                                               ing about the future and seeking consen-
tinuum which encompasses the skills of        action. Some feel that the future is largely
                                                                                               sus on answers to these fundamental
the CS/CE manager. On one end of the          unknown and indiscernible, while others
continuum are found the more intuitive,       feel that the future is a reality that is hap-
                                                                                                 I . What emerging trends and conditions
creative, time-free, and entrepreneurial      pening now-that today’s decisions are
                                                                                                    in the community and in the college
skills of strategic management, and on the    shaping tomorrow’s CS/CE program. Some
                                                                                                    are likely to have an impact on the
other end are found the more technical,       feel that the future of the program is
                                                                                                    future of the CS/CE program?
sequential and time-bound skills of opera-    being shaped by factors beyond their con-
                                                                                                 2. In anticipation of external trends and
tional management.                            trol, while others feel that the future can
                                                                                                    conditions, what changes in the
    Operational skills are, of course, very   be anticipated and that strategic moves
                                                                                                    nature and scope of the CS/CE pro-
important. A CS/CE program cannot be          can be made so that the program is posi-
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