Blue Beyond Consulting

Case Study

Developing a Strategic Plan in Higher Education


Two California state universities with approximately 30,000 students

What We Did

Designed and developed two 5-year strategic plans by engaging and aligning all key stakeholders in highly collaborative process


A shared sense of pride and commitment behind new visions and directions based on common aspirations and goals; implementation plans poised to drive organizational success

Highly Collaborative Process Drives Academic and Institutional Progress


Two institutions of higher learning – one, a premier, comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles and the other, a leading provider of engineers to Silicon Valley approached Blue Beyond Consulting seeking assistance in designing and developing a 5-year strategic plan. In both cases, the leadership saw an opportunity to not only create a new vision and direction for their institutions but to shift the culture — creating an environment where collaboration, inclusivity, and transparency thrive.


Blue Beyond created two-way communication and feedback opportunities for all members of both universities including surveys, workshops, working sessions, retreats, and one-on-one interviews. To allow for this two-way feedback, Blue Beyond developed a dedicated webpage that contained up-to-date information about the process, dates for meetings and key events, and a feedback form allowing people to leave comments and questions. Students, faculty, administration, alumni, members of the President’s council, and the local community actively participated in this process.

Blue Beyond worked with leadership to identify a Steering Committee, made up of students, faculty, and administration, to provide governance. The Steering Committee provided input, received and considered all feedback, and used that information to author the first draft of the strategic plan.

Working through the strategic planning process, one university identified these key priority areas:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Creating a Great Place to Work
  • Student Success
  • Financial Stability
  • Community Partnerships

The process at this university provided an opportunity to revisit the mission, vision, and values statements and revise them to better represent the aspirations and the new direction that was emerging out of the strategic planning process.

The areas of focus that emerged for the other university were:

  • Enriching the Academic Environment
  • Supporting Student Success in Research and Scholarship
  • Increasing the Reach and Strength of University Partnerships

We believe that success lies in building the plan from both the top down and the bottom up—engaging all key stakeholders in a highly collaborative and open process.


Once the final documents were approved, each university unveiled the Strategic Plans to their larger communities. Because large portions of each campus had an opportunity to participate in the creation of the plan, a sense of shared pride and commitment at its successful implementation emerged.

The true gratification of this work came from bringing together a cross-section of stakeholders under a common goal: academic and institutional progress. By facilitating a conversation focused on growth and development, Blue Beyond weaved together and articulated the themes that all stakeholders yearned for — success, stability, collaboration, and transparency.

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