Rockwell Hall

Buffalo State College 2008–2013: Stakeholders’ Conference Jump-Starts Five-Year Strategic Plan

Development of a new five-year strategic plan for Buffalo State College is under way, starting with input from the campus and community, and building on the current plan. A group of 110 individuals—faculty, staff, students, and community leaders—convened at the Adam’s Mark Hotel on October 12 for a five-hour working session. The mission: review where we’ve been, consider the context of the next five years, and generate ideas.

President Muriel A. Howard provided opening remarks and a statement of purpose, while Provost Dennis Ponton reviewed achievements and remaining challenges under the existing plan. Dorcas Colvin, associate vice president for policy and planning, who is spearheading the initiative, provided a detailed presentation about national, regional, and local trends in higher education. The College Planning Council (CPC), appointed by the president, will guide the planning and implementation of the strategic plan.

After the presentations, external consultant John W. Moore, who facilitated development of the current plan, led the group in idea generation for the five strategic directions that will continue to frame the plan:

  1. Engage students in rigorous learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom, that heighten their aspirations and transform their lives.
  2. Support and expand opportunities for research, scholarship, and creative expression.
  3. Position the college as a leading educational, economic, and cultural partner, contributing to the vitality of the region.
  4. Develop initiatives to support programs and activities that distinguish the college.
  5. Empower leadership at all levels, promote representative and inclusive governance, and provide superior services to the campus community.

Moore, organizing the room into nine teams, assigned each team the task of generating ideas in response to one of nine questions critical to the success of the five strategic directions. Ideas captured on flip charts by facilitators at each table will be developed by task forces appointed in early November.

The new strategic plan will emphasize the first strategic direction, Quality Learning Experiences. “This plan will help us to re-focus our attention on student achievement and success” said Colvin. “By investing in our faculty, staff, and students, we are investing in the future of the college and the region. Ultimately our success will depend on our ability to create and maintain a culture of what George Kuh calls ‘positive restlessness’—a need to never quite be satisfied with our performance.”

Development of the strategic plan is a yearlong process. The CPC plans to share a final draft of the 2008–2013 Strategic Plan with the community in November 2008. For more information and presentations from the October stakeholders’ conference, visit

To read more about the current strategic plan, please see the September 27 issue of the Bulletin.