Skip to main content
Close Search

Image for Strategic Planning, 2023

Strategic Planning, 2023

Strategic Planning, 2023

South Dakota State University is in the midst of its current strategic plan - IMPACT 2018. However, the process for the next strategic plan kicked off on Jan. 12, 2017 when President Barry H. Dunn addressed the campus community with his State of the University and strategic planning kickoff presentation.

President Barry H. Dunn presents the State of the University to a gathering of campus and community members.
President Barry H. Dunn presents the State of the University to a gathering of campus and community members.

The strategic planning team will be co-chaired by Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dennis Hedge and Vice President for Student Affairs Michaela Willis. The process will be collaborative and extensive, reaching out to all corners of South Dakota and renewing the values of the 1862 land-grant mission that founded South Dakota State University.

The planning process will be guided by several principles, including:


The goal of this project is to develop a new Strategic Plan for South Dakota State University (SDSU) that will guide the University for the next five years beginning in 2018.


This effort will follow a collaborative strategic planning model with the focus on engaging the entire campus community and external stakeholders in the creation of a new strategic plan.  The plan will provide guidance for a five-year timespan.  The plan will serve as a guiding framework for decision-making and should provide a clear direction for the future of SDSU.


  • The SDSU administration is in full support of the strategic planning process and is committed to providing the resources and guidance needed to meet the timeline expectations set by the Strategic Planning Team.
  • The Strategic Planning Team and identified stakeholders have the capacity needed to meet the needs of this project in addition to their daily workload.
  • There is a desire from the SDSU campus community and external stakeholders to be active participants in the development of the strategic plan.
Co-chairs Dennis Hedge and Michaela Willis
Co-chairs Dennis Hedge and Michaela Willis

Planning Model

SDSU will be using a Collaborative Strategic Planning (CSP) model to guide the development of the next strategic plan.  CSP is a planning process designed to connect and engage stakeholders throughout the institution for a bottom-up approach to strategic planning.  According to Patrick Sanaghan, author of Collaborative Strategic Planning in Higher Education, “if campus stakeholders don’t feel meaningfully involved and don’t have the opportunity to share their ideas and aspirations, learn from others, and help influence the future goals and directions of the institution, they will not be committed to implementing the plan – no matter how well it is written” (p. 1). 

The CSP approach has many benefits that seem consistent with the leadership strengths at South Dakota State University.  Particularly, Sanaghan states CSP encourages:

  • Meaningful engagement of institutional stakeholders
  • Transparency of information
  • Diversity of ideas
  • Ownership of the planning process – especially outcomes
  • Reflection and making sense of the issues
  • Discovery and learning
  • An external perspective
  • Community building and connections (p. 5-6)

CSP has five key phases, Getting Organized, Data Gathering and Engagement, Making Sense of the Issues, Vision Conference, and Goals Conference.  The planning process is described in more detail in Appendix A.

During the course of the planning year, we will create intentional links between key planning processes which will be occurring simultaneously: Strategic Planning, Strategic Enrollment Management Planning, Campus Master Planning, the HLC Re-Accreditation process, the GAF Strategic Plan, the Foundation Capital Campaign Plan, and the City of Brookings Comprehensive Plan (infrastructure, parking & transportation).

Barry H. Dunn

Decision Making Model

The decision making model for this project will be a general consensus model.

Development of the Strategic Plan: The Strategic Planning Team is charged with the development of the plan. They will make recommendations based on co-chair assessment of general consensus. If no decision is clear, the Strategic Planning Team may refer a topic back to the Topic Team for refinement.

Topic Teams will pursue deeper consideration of key strategic questions and will produce proposals for the Strategic Planning Team. If the topic team is an existing committee, it will follow the governance model of that group to arrive at recommendations. If the group is new it will make general consensus (e.g. broad agreement on a topic) recommendations to the Strategic Planning Team.

Issue Resolution Procedures

Logistical or procedural issues: If a logistical or procedural issue arises the Project Support Team will work to resolve it. Should resolution prove to be impossible at this level the matter will be escalated to the Strategic Planning Team. The Strategic Planning Team owns responsibility to resolve the matter using the general consensus model.

High impact issues: If a high impact issue arises, the Strategic Planning Team Co-Chairs will work to determine a path of resolution. This may include utilizing the President if needed.

Strategic Plan Approval Process

The Strategic Planning Team will develop a draft strategic plan seeking input from the topic teams and the SDSU community. As pieces of the draft become available they will be put online for public comment. Once the entire plan is drafted it will be presented to the SDSU community for comment. After all comments have been addressed and accounted for to the satisfaction of the Strategic Planning Team the final draft will be submitted to the President. The President may decide to pose questions to the Strategic Planning Team and/or to put the draft back out for comment. Once the President is satisfied with the draft he will approve.