Strategic Plan

strategic plan

The College of Business (COB) developed its strategic plan to help provide guidance for stakeholders and set priorities for the College as part of its initial self-evaluation report. The initial plan, though rudimentary, served the College well by providing a starting point for coordinating efforts and creating priorities. Originally developed for 2015-2020, the plan was recently updated and reflects a more robust effort that is not only more granular as it relates to goals, but also more closely aligned with the College’s mission as well as the University’s mission and its newly launched strategic plan.

Mission

The COB mission is:

The College of Business creates a dynamic learning environment for a diverse student population with a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experience, to develop the knowledge and skills needed to become productive contributors to the global business environment.

The mission is reflected throughout the strategic plan. For example, “…contributors to the global business environment” directly relates objective III-C-I in the strategic plan which states “Development and implementation of the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative for immersive cultural experiences.” Similarly, the reference in the mission related to “…a diverse student population…” is reflected throughout the strategic plan in the diverse program mix of traditional and non-traditional programs targeting traditional and non-traditional students respectively.

As the strategic plan serves as COB’s master planning document, where initiatives must be formulated in how they support the strategic plan, the mission is directly linked to decision making within the College.

Mission and Stakeholders

The mission is appropriate for the College of Business to meet the needs of its stakeholders. For example, the College mission emphasizes a diverse student population. The result has been a growth in professional programs designed to meet the needs of nontraditional students that bring considerable work experience, certifications, etc. into their program. This population represents a significant portion of students for the College. In addition to meeting the needs of non- traditional students, professional degrees meet the needs of regional employers, which are represented by the COB Executive Advisory Board. Many students in these programs already work and require degrees for advancement opportunities. The professional programs provide a pathway for non-traditional students to complete their degree while maintaining their ability to work, meet familial needs, etc.

Mission Alignment

The COB mission aligns with the University mission, which is:
Tarleton State University, a founding member of The Texas A&M University System, transforms generations by inspiring discovery, leadership, and inclusion through educational excellence.

The mission alignment is illustrated in Table 1-1 in the Strategic Plan. Both missions recognize the need to create a dynamic learning environment in order to transform learners. A diverse student population represented by both traditional and non-traditional (generational) students with a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experience in which the College and University seek to inspire discovery, leadership, and inclusion. Through educational excellence, the College and University strive to create productive contributors to the global business environment.

Mission, Expected Outcomes, and Strategies

COB’s mission and, more specifically, its strategic plan articulates educational activities, intellectual contributions, and other activities through goals, strategies, and objectives. With five major goals, each co-championed by faculty/staff, Executive Advisory Board members, and Student Advisory Board members, specific strategies are implemented to achieve stated objectives. For example, Objective III-C-I focuses on development and implementation of the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative for immersive cultural experiences (educational activities). Similarly, Objective IV-A-I focuses on establishing goals for growth in quantity, type and quality of COB faculty’s intellectual contributions. Finally, examples of other activities include Objective V-A-I: Development of a strategic approach to success planning for leadership positions within the COB.

Teaching/Learning Models Aligned with Mission

In order to serve such a diverse group of students, the COB has expanded its teaching/learning models to include a wide variety of learning options. Traditional students are served through traditional BBA programs delivered on a traditional university campus. In reaching out to nontraditional students, the College offers degree-programs that allow students to take advantage of their previous work and education/training. Instructional sites and online programs also provide working students with an opportunity to attend Tarleton without having to commute to the main campus in Stephenville. While non-traditional students are generally already immersed in the workforce, more and more traditional students are taking on part-time and full-time jobs. To accommodate working students, COB offers classes in the afternoons, evenings, and online. Additional flexibility in scheduling is evidenced by varying the calendar length of the offerings during a semester. Class offerings may be delivered face-to-face, hybrid/blended, or (fully) online. Program offering by location are linked below:

  • Stephenville
  • Online
  • Waco
  • Fort Worth
  • Midlothian

COB Mission Review and Revision Process

As part of COB’s mission to provide a dynamic learning environment, it is evident that the mission must also be dynamic and will need to be reviewed and revised on a regular basis. COB has established a formal process for the continual improvement of its mission (See Figure 1-1 in the Strategic Plan). The College’s Strategic Planning Committee represents a standing committee charged with, among other things, the review and revision of the college vision and mission. This process includes seeking systematic input from all stakeholder groups and to integrate these suggestions into
formal recommendations which will be presented to COB faculty for approval.

Key Continuous Improvement Successes, Innovations, and Achievements

COB’s key to continuous improvement is its dedicated faculty. They serve as instruments to develop and implement the College’s vision and achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan. Over the last five years, a variety of achievements have been made that serve to demonstrate the effectiveness of the College’s faculty:

  • Launching of new programs, such as the MS in Management with various concentrations, that continue to expand and represent a collaborative effort between the Management department and departments in various other colleges to help deliver innovative programs to meet the needs of student career goals and regional businesses.
  • The launching of the MACC has served to garner the College and University additional recognition through very competitive CPA exam pass rates.
  • The College has launched a series of signature events which serve to engage students, faculty, businesses, and other stakeholders. For example, in cooperation with Career Services, the College hosts its own job fair within the Business Building each Spring. This serves as an opportunity for students, local businesses, and faculty to engage with one another. Similarly, the College hosts conferences such as the Federal Reserve Bank Conference and the Advances in Business Research Conference, both of which engage stakeholders.
  • The Assurance of Learning has continued to be refined and improved. The makeup of the committee is represented by program coordinators who themselves, work with discipline faculty to identify issues related to their program. Committee leadership is represented by individuals who also serve on university level assessment committees to help create synergies between College and University level efforts. Additionally, due to the significant overlap
    between assurance of learning and curriculum, the Chair of the Assurance of Learning Committee serves as ex-officio on the Curriculum Committee while the Chair of the Curriculum serves as ex-officio on the Assurance of Learning Committee.
  • The establishment and maintenance of the Strategic Planning Committee represents a continuous process improvement in that rather than disbanding the committee after the completion of the strategic plan as had been done in the past, its roll has changed to continuous monitoring of the efforts towards achieving various objectives. This serves to ensure that the strategic plan function as a guiding document for the college rather than as a static document that all too often becomes an afterthought.

While pursuit of AACSB accreditation is important, more important has been the required selfreflection and dedication to develop and document processes and procedures necessary and to continuously improve as they become routinized within the College.

Past Achievements Aligned with Mission, Outcomes, and Strategies

The alignment of past achievements with the College Mission, Outcomes, and Strategies may be examined in a variety of ways. For example, creating “…a dynamic learning environment…” can perhaps be best described within the context of the pandemic. When institutions all across the country and even across the world struggled to transition to nearly 100% online environments, COB was uniquely positioned to be able to make the conversion with limited difficulty. This can be
attributed to the dedicated faculty within the College but it can also be partially attributed to the significant number of courses and programs the College already teaches online. As a result, the College was able to make the transition with relative ease.

Another example of how past achievements are aligned with the mission, outcomes and strategies can be seen in the growth of non-traditional programs servicing “…a diverse student population with a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experience…”. Many nontraditional students come to the College from community college technical programs, from the military, or return to school after being in the
workforce for a number of years. The College’s BAAS programs, BSAS, and even BS programs provide these students an opportunity to complete their degree to facilitate advancement within their organizations and in some cases, move on to
attend graduate school.

A final example of alignment between mission, outcomes, and strategies with past achievements can be seen in the employment of graduates. As “…productive contributors to the global business environment”, graduates report working for firms within the region, nationally, and internationally.

Future Plans for Continuous Improvement

The College’s Strategic Plan represents a guiding document designed not only to assist College leadership in focusing continuous improvement efforts, but also communicating organizational priorities to stakeholders in order to identify and take advantage of opportunities. For example, the updated strategic plan features five strategic goals that are aligned with the university strategic plan:

  • Goal I: Student Access, Opportunity, & Success
  • Goal II: Scholastic Relevance & Excellence
  • Goal III: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Goal IV: Institutional & Societal Impact
  • Goal V: College-Level Advancement

In addition, for each strategic goal, a group of goal co-champions consisting of faculty/staff, Student Advisory Board members, and Executive Advisory Board members are meeting during the Spring 2022 semester to prioritize the strategies and objectives within each goal. Goal champions are identified within the Strategic Plan document.