Background and Process for Development of the 2009 – 2013 Strategic Plan

Buffalo State College’s Strategic Plan 2003-2008 has guided the institution’s progress during the past five years. In May 2007 Dr. John W. Moore, representing Penson Associates, Inc., conducted an assessment of the planning process and submitted a report to President Muriel Howard. Subsequently, on October 12, 2007, Buffalo State sponsored a Stakeholder’s Conference, facilitated by Dr. Moore, for the purpose of initiating the strategic planning process for the period 2009-2013.  Before and following the Stakeholder’s Conference, campus discussion sessions for the College Planning Council (CPC), Vice President’s Council (VPC), and other constituent groups evaluated progress toward action steps in the current strategic plan.

During that Stakeholder’s Conference it was decided that the Strategic Plan 2003-2008 would be used as the conceptual framework and format for the 2009-2013 strategic planning process. The existing statement of “governing ideas” (i.e. mission, vision, and core values) was considered vital and true and reaffirmed for 2009-2013. The five strategic directions contained in the Strategic Plan 2003-2008 were also reaffirmed. It was decided that the existing organizational structure (CPC, VPC, other) would create action steps for strategic directions 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the 2009-2013 plan. These steps were accomplished though subsequent discussions. 

At the Stakeholder’s Conference there was consensus that primary emphasis and focus be placed on strategic direction number 1, Quality Learning Experiences. It was also determined that National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) benchmarks of effective educational practices would form the framework for most initiatives under strategic direction 1.  NSSE, developed with support from PEW Charitable Trusts, was designed to measure student engagement in their college experience and is built around five clusters linked to successful college outcomes. These benchmark areas are:

  • level of academic challenge
  • active and collaborative learning
  • student-faculty interaction
  • enriching educational experiences
  • supportive campus environment 

Using the NSSE structure provides an opportunity for Buffalo State to benchmark institutional results against national data. A summary of results of Buffalo State seniors in the most recent (2008) administration of NSSE for those clusters follows:  


Category BSC Seniors NSSE (top 50%) NSSE (top 10%)
Level of academic challenge 53.5   59.9 63.3
Active & collaborative learning   49.7  55.4  59.7
Student-faculty interaction       41.4 49.3 55.3
Enriching educational experiences 37.0  47.3  54.3
Supportive campus environment 53.7 63.5 66.7


Five task force groups, one for each benchmark area, were convened to study and prepare initiative recommendations for the 2009-2013 strategic plan.The College Planning Council received recommendations for the strategic plan in May 2008 and created a draft plan.  In addition to College Planning Council input, the following made suggestions for the draft plan: Council on Equity and Campus Diversity, Research and Creativity Council, Innovation/Creativity/Efficiency Task Force groups, College and Community Partnership Office, Service Learning Oversight Committee, Student Affairs, Institutional Advancement, and the vice presidents.  In early spring 2009, the College Senate Academic Plan committee held open forums and used other means to solicit input regarding the draft strategic plan.  That and other feedback led to further modifications of the plan, which the campus community reviewed again during the final weeks of spring semester. The College Senate voted to recommend adoption of the Strategic Plan 2009-2013 on May 15, 2009.             In addition to development of the strategic plan, all multi-year college operational plans have been updated.  These include the Academic Assessment Plan, Disabilities Services Plan, Emergency Response Plan, Equity and Diversity Plan and Technology Plan.  Annual plans are prepared for Affirmative Action, Budget, Development, and Enrollment.