CCE Theses and Dissertations

Guidelines for Strategic Planning in Community College Learning resource Centers: The Florida Community College Experience

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Arts (DA)


Center for Computer-Based Learning


Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Thomas W. MacFarland

Committee Member

John A. Scigliano


The problem addressed in this study is the lack of formal strategic planning in community college learning resource centers. Without guidelines, a process, and plans, libraries cannot achieve their fullest potential nor can they be effective in accomplishing goals. The purpose of this study is to develop guidelines for the planning process and design a plan for a community college learning resource center. The documents developed for the plan are based on Florida Community y College’s environment. Planning in libraries as expressed in the literature most often refers to building and facility design. Discussion of program planning has been extremely limited. This study focuses on programs' and services' planning instead of facility planning.

The planning guidelines assist practitioners in coping with risk and uncertainty in order to ensure growth and viability in their learning resource centers. They show how to look at library trends, educational conditions, technological changes, competition, strengths, and weaknesses. Discussed throughout the document are how planning affects the whole organization and how the effects must be anticipated and managed. Clarification of objectives, mission, philosophy, and purposes of institutions are key components illustrated in the guidelines. How to ensure that goals are being met and corrective action initiated if needed are provided. The guidelines suggest that learning resource center staffs examine all facets of the organization to determine which elements should be maintained or phased out. A continuous exchange of information between the centers and their environments is recommended. That information should be accurate, timely, and comprehensive. Strategic planning is very topical in today’s uncertain environment. The guidelines were developed to enhance library management and achievement of goals.

The project began with a literature review of planning in libraries and businesses. The origin of strategic planning, who utilizes it, and what results have been achieved were highlighted. Attention was focused next on determining whether strategic planning takes place in libraries. Information is extensive on how to plan, components of a plan, suggested planning frameworks, environments conducive to planning and how successful companies plan. Many sources are cited for suggestions on planning procedures. In establishing guidelines for planning, it was essential to search for trends, terminology, and authorities. Cleland, King, Steiner, Drucker, Rowe and Riggs are reviewed and discussed as major planning researchers throughout the document.

The data gathering consisted of developing a plan-to plan, examining the structure of a plan, and developing planning guidelines. The plan-to-plan is a discussion and examination of nineteen items related to an organization's planning process. These items range from statements by the CEO, definition of key terms, and financial data to strengths and weaknesses.

The definitions of strategic terms such as WOTS-UP and mission are given. Examples are shown on how the level of specificity becomes greater as one moves from the mission statement to the goals. It is illustrated how a learning resource center's mission must be congruent with its parent organization, the community college. Directions are given on the need for an explicit mission. Several items influencing the mission statement are discussed: the organizations. Philosophy, self-concept, public image, management style, and work environment.

The environmental scan is reviewed, readers are given six key areas to consider in determining the status of the organization's environment: economic, political, social, technological, geographical, and competitive forces. How to conduct a WOTS-UP analysis is also included. The WOTS-UP is next in the sequence of understanding the environmental factors, opportunities, and threats in order to effectively achieve a niche for formulating strategy.

The second portion of the investigation examines the structure of planning. The motivation for this aspect centered on the lack · of planners understanding how to plan, what is contained in a plan, how to organize the responsible person, and evaluative monitoring of the written plan. These facets range from background information, resources, target dates and contingency plans to evaluation and control activities. Shown are Gannt and PERT charts to be used in placing planning in a time frame to indicate project completion. Numerous planning charts are provided to monitor the progress of goal achievement. Evaluative tools are provided to determine appropriate action for redirecting activities when performance is unsatisfactory.

The final segment of the investigation presents planning guidelines. Specific directions, suggestions, procedures, strategies, ideas and methods of organizing and implementing the written plan are given role of leadership, these guidelines also discuss the mission establishing, strategy formulation, and evaluation. Implementation seems always to present problems for organizations. Many of these problems center around the fact that plans are expected to be carried out by people who were not involved in the original formulation. A checklist is included that summarizes many of the points planners should provide adequate responses to for effective plan implementation. Evaluation principles and checklists by Steiner, King and Cleland are illustrated. A list of recommended sources for use in strategic planning is provided in the references.

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