Plan puts priority on students

The Board of Regents approved a new five-year strategic plan for Del Mar College Sept. 10.

Del Mar President Mark Escamilla said he felt the most important thing about the new strategic plan is not the document, but the eventual planning.

“I want to emphasize that to everyone who’s listening and go on record as saying what is most important is the planning that occurs between 2019 and 2024,” Escamilla said. “The document is a mere document. The time that we spend together facilitating, executing this plan, is where it all counts.”

Beth Lewis, executive vice president and chief academic officer, agreed with Escamilla.

“It makes us see what we are doing well,” Lewis said. “What do we need to do a little better on? And what are the shoot-the-moon goals that we need to have in there so that we’re always leaning forward and always making things better for our students.”

Lewis said they are following the Society for College and University Planning model, which consists of assessing the landscape, planning a road map, creating a plan, implanting the plan and evaluating outcomes.

The planning started in September 2018, with the stakeholder engagement going on from January through May 2019. Their proposal at the meeting marked the third step in their cycle with hopes for approval, meaning they are halfway through the cycle.

“The other points we’ve got ahead of us are the next five years,” Lewis said.

The implementation will occur from now until August 2024 with progress evaluated annually.

The committee, consisting of a faculty council, chairs’ council, deans’ council, staff council, Student Government Association and executive team, named the strategic plan “Aspire. Engage. Achieve.”

“The committee selected these three words of the name of the new plan because they really reflect the student experience that we strive to provide,” Lewis said. “We want out students, first of all, to aspire to great things and identify what they want their lives to look like.

“We want our students to engage with our faculty and staff, with other students, and with the college experience as a whole. And finally, we want them to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves,” Lewis said.

The plan consists of six goals: completion; recruitment and persistence; academic preparedness and student learning; learning environments; workforce development, community partnerships and advocacy; and financial effectiveness and affordability.

Escamilla said he plans on going over upcoming data and progress in future meetings, with future revisions possible.

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