Strat Plan 2006-10

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5 year strategic plan
                                                          TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
    PLAN                            Introduction by the Chair, Strategic Planning Committee       3

    Written by Adam Filia-
                                    Executive Summary          4
    treault and Elaine Ho

    This document was               ACTISEC Profile and History         5
    presented to the ACTI-
    SEC membership at the
                                    Vision, Mission, Values and Mandates         6
    Assessment Conference
                                         Our Vision 6
    in Medicine Hat College
                                         Our Mission 6
    on February 18 2006.
    ACTISEC membership
                                         Our Values 6
    unanimously approved                 Our Mandates 7
    this Strategic Plan for
    the purposes to guide           Critical Issues Facing ACTISEC Over the Next 5 Year       8
    ACTISEC in the next 5
                                    Strategic Themes and Goals         10

                                    Conclusion       15

    Suite 202
    10920 88 Avenue
    Edmonton, Alberta
    T6G 0Z1

    Phone: 780-437-4531
    Fax: 780-665-7379

Introduction by the Chair, Strategic Planning Committee
The following strategic plan is the result of two years of hard work by ACTISEC. The process for this strategic plan
began at the Leadership conference in May 2004. It was at this point that the Advancement Committee (then called
the Bylaws Committee) was charged with implementing the previous strategic plan approved by the previous year’s
membership. There was a general feeling that this plan did not have enough buy-in, and was in fact a document
written by the Board with very little input from other members. At the Goal Setting and Progress conferences of July
and November 2004 respectively, the membership decided to investigate the options for undergoing another strategic
planning process with the membership. At the Assessment conference in February 2005, the membership voted to
investigate hiring a consulting company for this process. At the Goal Setting conference in July 2005, the membership
voted to hire TkMC to go facilitate this strategic planning process. Finally, at the Progress conference in November
2005, the membership went through 1.5 days of strategic planning brainstorming sessions. This information was then
passed off to the newly formed Strategic Planning committee chaired by myself and including one member from each
member institution. Offline, the committee reviewed proposed drafts and even managed to come up with some value
statements for the organization. This plan is pending approval from the membership, which is anticipated to happen at
the Assessment conference of February, 2006.

This strategic plan should be viewed as a guiding document. This document should guide everything that the
organization does over the next five years and beyond. That being said, this document should also be able to respond
to ACTISEC’s changing needs over time. The “Critical Issues” section, especially, is meant to be a dynamic section.
These issues should be updated as ACTISEC evolves as an organization. In order to achieve this adaptability and
flexibility, this plan should be reviewed on an annual basis.

Finally, I would like to thank the membership and the Strategic Planning Committee for all their help in developing this
Strategic Plan. There was a lot of hard work put into it by everyone, and because of that, I hope this document will
serve ACTISEC’s needs for 5 years to come.

Yours truly,

Adam Filiatreault
Chair, Strategic Planning Committee

Executive Summary
ACTISEC’s main focus is to influence positive change in Alberta’s post-secondary education system. The way we influence
this change is by adhering to our values of being student-driven, communicating effectively, being a united and diverse team,
and being responsive, adaptive, and sustainable. Also, we adhere to our primary mandate of lobbying through the use of
government relations, relationship/partnership development, education and awareness, and research and policy development
as well as our other mandate of professional development (through networking and consultation).

In order for us to achieve our mission and vision, there are some challenges we must first overcome. These challenges
include our financial stability, governance/organizational structure, communication difficulties, and lack of administrative
support. To overcome these challenges, ACTISEC has developed strategic themes with goals that must be addressed. These
themes include financial stability, clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the membership, staff and Board, focusing on our
customer/audience, having a sustainable and strong ACTISEC membership, and staffing growth.

Along with these strategic themes are goals and activities that must be achieved. There are also specific accountabilities and
timelines for who is responsible for ensuring the goals and activities are met and when they should be met.

ACTISEC Profile and History

ACTISEC, or the Alberta College and Technical Institute Students' Executive Council, was formed in 1982.

A group of student delegates from colleges and technical institutes (Grant MacEwan, Lakeland, Lethbridge, NAIT, Medicine
Hat, Mount Royal and SAIT) met to form an organization that would recognize the unique needs of non-university students.

The meeting was held at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) on March 11, 1982. Dave Whalen from NAITSA
was appointed as the initiating Chairperson of the organization, and sent a letter to James Horseman, the Minister of Ad-
vanced Education at the time, advising him of the formation of the new organization.

In the beginning, the group focused mainly on sharing information and resources between its member institutions, as well as
professional development of student leaders. Over time, however, it became apparent that there was also a need for a strong
lobby organization that would concentrate mainly on external issues affecting post-secondary education, and on maintaining
constant communication with government and other post-secondary institutions and organizations.

Today ACTISEC represents 14 college and technical institute students' associations in Alberta. The organization has main-
tained its original mandate of professional development for student executives and creating opportunities to foster student
association growth and development. ACTISEC, however, is best known throughout Canada as a strong and professional
student lobby organization.

A short history of ACTISEC

    •    1982
             o     ACTISEC created

    •    1980’s
             o Internal structure created
             o Representation on government committees
             o Participation in tuition and student loan reviews

    •    1990’s
             o     Fought against tuition increases
             o     Accomplishments in student loan reforms
             o     Worked for scholarship and tuition taxation exemption
             o     Recognition by government increased

    •    2000’s
             o Fought against deregulation of tuition
             o Continued fighting for tuition freeze
             o Advocating for fair student loans

    •    Present
             o     Working with new Advanced Education Minister
             o     Participating in tuition fee policy review
             o     Helping to identify student funding options
             o     Ensuring that accessibility and quality stay priority issues as well

Vision, Mission, Values and Mandates

Our Vision

To be the leading collective organization of
student executives that help to enable an
affordable, accessible, quality post-secondary
education system for all Alberta learners in
colleges and technical institutes.

Our Mission

The Alberta College and Technical Institute
Students’ Executive Council advocates for
students on post-secondary education issues
through lobbying, education and empowerment.

O u r Va l u e s

We Are Student-Driven – ACTISEC is an organization that is accountable to its membership. Our actions are for the benefit
of the collective student body that we represent. We will advocate for the best interests of students throughout Alberta colleges
and technical institutes.

We Are Responsive – ACTISEC is an organization that responds to the needs of its stakeholders. We respond to these
needs in a timely and efficient manner, making sure we meet the needs of the majority if we cannot meet the needs of the

We Are Adaptive – ACTISEC is an organization that is able to adapt to an ever-changing post-secondary education system.
We also adapt to a membership that sees constant turn-over. We are able to meet the needs of this changing membership
while at the same time facing the challenges of the changing system.

We Are Sustainable – ACTISEC is an organization that is able to sustain both itself and its efforts, while at the same time
growing and evolving. We also value a sustainable post-secondary education system that will last well into the future.

We Are Effective Communicators – ACTISEC values communication with both its members and its external stakeholders.
We will seek input from and build awareness for both our internal and external stakeholders. We will also communicate the
appropriate messages to students, members, and any other key stakeholders.
We Are a United and Diverse Team – ACTISEC values and supports the diversity of our members and respects the varying
perspectives that it provides. ACTISEC values a system where all the members participate in the decision-making process.
Each member has the same chance for input and representation, as any other member. We will strive for consensus rather
than “majority rules”.

Our Mandates

   Lobbying: ACTISEC lobbies on behalf of the students of its member institutions for a better post-secondary education
    system. We skillfully attempt to affect change through the use of our time and resources.
            o    Government Relations: We are best known throughout the province and the country as a professional,
                 effective, and respected student organization.
            o    Education and Awareness: ACTISEC seeks to educate our stakeholders, both on the issues facing post-
                 secondary education today and issues that could affect it in the future. We educate stakeholder groups in
                 order to legitimize to decision-makers the change we wish to see.
            o    Relationship/Partnership Development: ACTISEC seeks to develop relationships and partnerships with its
                 external stakeholders in order to create a cooperative atmosphere for post-secondary education.
            o    Research and Policy Development: ACTISEC researches and develops policy statements for key issues
                 facing students in the post-secondary system today and in the future. ACTISEC’s policies are solutions-
                 based and based on strong research.

   Professional Development: ACTISEC provides opportunities for student executives to develop their skills as both
    governors and leaders.
            o    Networking and Consultation: ACTISEC creates opportunities for student executives in colleges and
                 technical institutes from across the province to get together to share ideas and develop working
                 relationships with each other. We develop and maintain opportunities for input from all our members on
                 matters that affect ACTISEC’s positions.

Critical Issues Facing ACTISEC Over the Next
5 Years
Financial Stability
                                                                Governance/Organizational Structure
ACTISEC’s most immediate issue is that of our fee
                                                                ACTISEC must develop a governance structure which
structure. ACTISEC is currently operating from reserve
                                                                allows the effective fulfillment of its mandates. We must
funds. It is important for the proper and effective operation
                                                                create a system that facilitates an efficient and member
of this organization that it be financially stable, which
                                                                inclusive decision-making process. Those who have been
ACTISEC defines as publishing a non-deficit budget and
                                                                given the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of the
being capable of contributing to a reserve fund annually. To
                                                                organization must also be given the authority to follow
properly address this issue we must review the current fee
                                                                through. If ACTISEC as a whole agrees on a structure, and
structure. This issue must be the first one met in order for
                                                                all members agree to follow it, decisions can be made much
ACTISEC to grow.
                                                                more effectively.
Another aspect of this issue is the percentage of
                                                                Included in this issue is the idea of role clarity for members
ACTISEC’s revenue which comes from membership fees.
                                                                of both the Board, staff, and the general membership.
The current fee structure places a heavy reliance on
                                                                Currently there is confusion within the organization as to the
individual member institutions, particularly with larger
                                                                roles of the individual members. At present there are no
institutions who pay the maximum capped fee, to support
                                                                defining guidelines pertaining to the duties and participation
the operations of ACTISEC. We are aware that if one of
                                                                of student leaders as they commence their roles in May.
these larger member institutions were to leave, the
                                                                This problem is also experienced by members of the Board.
repercussions to the budget could be extremely significant.
                                                                The current governance model used by ACTISEC
ACTISEC should examine external funding and
                                                                contradicts itself in many regards, specifically involving the
sponsorships possibilities.
                                                                power of the Board and the power of the members at
                                                                plenary sessions. We are currently taking steps to correct
                                                                this issue. Finally, committees are currently unsure as to the
                                                                level of involvement needed between conferences and what
                                                                amount of independent work the Chair of the committee
                                                                should be completing during this time.

                                                                ACTISEC also needs to gain some understanding around
                                                                the roles of committees versus the role of the ACTISEC
                                                                staff person. Currently there is some confusion around who
                                                                should be doing the leg-work for committee activities. There
                                                                should be a clear understanding about the scope of work
                                                                committees should be concerning themselves with, and
                                                                what scope of work should be delegated to the staff person.
                                                                By setting up this system committees would have more time
                                                                to work on developing broad concepts instead of having to
                                                                do work that is below their scope and, frankly, a misuse of
                                                                their time.


Another critical issue is that of communication, both internal
and external. The organization cannot complete all of its
duties during conferences. In fact, the majority of ACTISEC
work is completed between conferences. ACTISEC must
have efficient and effective ways to engage its members
outside of conferences if it is to continue to be responsive to
issues that affect the organization.

Also internally, ACTISEC should find ways to disseminate
issues and information to the student bodies of its member
institutions. While student executives tend to be apprised of
issues within the post-secondary education system,
students-at-large are not as exposed to these issues and
are therefore not as informed. Since the student executives
are elected by and responsible to the students of their
institutions, the executives should be able to explain their
activities; these reports garner student support and
involvement. Communicating with and educating students-
at-large is also important in ensuring that buy-in for
ACTISEC’s policies exist on the grassroots level.
ACTISEC’s efforts will be more effective when more
students are involved with ACTISEC.

Externally, ACTISEC can improve on the messages it
delivers to its external stakeholders. While ACTISEC
effectively expresses its opinions to government employees
and elected officials, there is an existing need to improve
upon the uniformity of that message as well as identify
other potential stakeholders/audiences. Once ACTISEC is
clear about its audiences, it will be able to deliver a more
specifically tailored message to each of them.

Administrative Support

Currently ACTISEC only employs one staff person – the
Provincial Director - and this staff member must be knowl-
edgeable in many fields, including but not limited to: web-
site design, bookkeeping, lobbying and government rela-
tions, policy research, conference planning, public relations
and communication, and office management. The diversity
of skills required renders this a very difficult position to fill.
To assist the proper growth of ACTISEC as an organization
there is a need for administrative support to more equally
distribute the increased work-load and demands.

Strategic Themes and Goals

To achieve a sustainable financial model for ACTISEC that leverages risk and provides secure, adequate, and ongo-
ing funding.

 Goals                                      Activities                              Action
 1. Establish a sustainable fee             • Review existing fee structure         Finance Committee to
     increase system.                         received from institutions and        Membership for
                                              assess possibilities for a fee        approval
                                            • Implement plan/process for            Finance Committee
                                              increasing fees.

 2.   Explore alternative revenue           •   Develop Policy on acceptable        Advancement
      sources.                                  sources of funding                  Committee to
                                                                                    Membership for

                                            •   Develop the necessary amount
                                                of funding required from alternate Finance Committee

                                            •   Develop and execute a plan to       Advancement
                                                approach and possibly solicit       Committee & PR and
                                                alternative sources of funds.       Communications


To ensure role clarity of ACTISEC members, the Board, and Executive Director are established,
communicated, and understood.

 Goals                                  Activities                            Action
 1. Develop role descriptions for          •Review the Governance             ACTISEC Membership
     ACTISEC Members, ACTISEC                   structure of the organization
     Board, and Provincial Director             and determine what would Advancement
                                                work best for ACTISEC         Committee
                                           •Develop a more effective
                                                governance structure
                                           •Develop new role descriptions
                                                                              ACTISEC Board and
                                                                              Provincial Director to
                                                and align them with the new be approved by the
                                                governance structure in the ACTISEC Membership
                                                IOM and Bylaws
 2.   Develop training and transition      •Develop an orientation            Provincial Director
      information and training plan for         “package” to be given to
      ACTISEC Members and the                   members at the Leadership
      ACTISEC Board                             conference every year
                                           •Develop training and transition
                                                                              ACTISEC Board and
                                                                              Provincial Director
                                                policies for both incoming
                                                and out-going Board
 3.   Create a communication structure     •Develop a system for members Membership to give
      for ACTISEC Committees and                to communicate with one       direction to the PR &
      Members in-between conference             another between               Communications
      times                                     conferences                   Committee


Ensure our target audience (specifically students and key external stakeholders) is accurately
identified and made aware of ACTISEC, its mandate, strategic direction, and role within the
Post-Secondary system.

 Goals                               Activities                          Action
 1. Review our stakeholders/         • Have a group discussion and       ACTISEC Membership
     audiences                         clarify our stakeholders and

 2.   Develop processes to ensure     • Develop an “awareness history”   PR & Communications
      awareness to the targeted group   manual for any activities that   Committee and
      (s).                              raise awareness of ACTISEC       Provincial Director
                                        and PSE issues                   PR & Communications
                                      • Create a plan for future         Committee
                                        awareness initiatives            PR & Communications
                                      • Review this plan annually
 3.   Ensure the needs of our target  • Develop and distribute a “straw Ad-Hoc Sub-
      audience/stakeholders are being   poll” to our target audience to   Committee
      met.                              determine where we are now
                                      • Summarize and report the results Ad-Hoc Sub-
                                        of this straw poll                Committee
                                      • React to the results as necessary
                                                                          ACTISEC Board
 n.                                  •


Retain and attract ACTISEC membership and participation. This includes students both on
student executive and students-at-large. Encourage the input, participation, and expertise that
students have to offer the Post-secondary education system in an organized and sustainable

 Goals                               Activities                           Action
 1. Ensure congruency between        • Review the bylaws and make         Advancement
     ACTISEC bylaws and                sure they allow and encourage      Committee to
     responsiveness to student         ACTISEC’s desired levels of        membership for
     participation.                    student participation              approval
                                     • Review the bylaws pertaining to    Advancement
                                       entrance into ACTISEC              Committee to
                                       membership                         membership for
 2.   Have a complete and thorough   •   Develop a detailed plan to       Advancement
      set of bylaws and policies         address gaps in current bylaws   Committee to
                                         and policies.                    membership for
 3.   Develop a plan to enhance to   • Develop a marketing plan for       PR & Communications
      exposure of ACTISEC to current   Students’ Associations             Committee
      and potential Students’                                             ACTISEC Membership
      Associations.                  • Enact this plan


To achieve a level of staffing that meets ACTISEC’s needs, but does not put a strain on the

 Goals                                 Activities                           Action
 1. Determine the current staffing     • Find out what ACTISEC’s needs      ACTISEC Board and
     needs for ACTISEC                   are                                Provincial Director
                                       • Determine where activities could   ACTISEC Board and
                                         be enhanced by staff persons       Provincial Director
 2.   Develop and implement a hiring   • Seek approval for new staff        ACTISEC Board to
      plan                               person(s)                          membership

                                       •   Develop a hiring plan            ACTISEC Board with
                                                                            input from Provincial
                                       •   Implement the hiring plan        Provincial Director and
                                                                            ACTISEC Board

This Strategic Plan allows ACTISEC to continue its growth in an evolving environment. This plan must be adaptable and
flexible so as to meet new challenges and new successes each year. This plan is meant to be a five-year plan, but should be
reviewed annually to ensure the continued fulfillment of the organization’s wants and needs. The annual review of this
document ensures the continued enactment of its goals and attaining of its objectives.

Upon the completion of the five years allocated to this document, it is necessary for the ACTISEC organization to begin a new
strategic planning process to evaluate the next five years. This repeated process will ensure the continued growth of the or-
ganization. This document is not intended to be a final product; it is intended as a tool to facilitate the continual evolution of


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