Strategic Planning Background

Harper College is engaged in a community-based strategic planning process.

William Rainey Harper College has engaged in a broad, collaborative community-based strategic planning process to become a national model for 21st century community colleges. Initial efforts included:

  • Input from internal Harper constituencies resulting in seven themes for Harper's future (Vision 2020).
  • Symposia and workshops with educational, business, economic and community leaders and elected officials on student success and the changing workforce. This Week of Engagement culminated with the installation of Harper's fifth president, Dr. Kenneth Ender, whose installation address identified four major themes for Harper College.
  • A collaborative scholarly document (White Paper) summarizing the Week of Engagement and identifying four critical issues facing William Rainey Harper College.
  • A conference with more than 100 external and internal thought leaders gathered to explore "Building Community Through Student Success." Participants listened to national, regional and local leaders discuss and react to issues facing the 21st century community college. Collaborative breakout groups representing civic, business and educational perspectives translated these issues into critical factors important to Harper's future success. Harper stakeholders received that input and continued to shape critical factors into strategic directions. They then identified six possible strategic directions for the College, including partnerships critical to their success. The conference steering committee further refined the six directions and identified possible goal themes. This document was distributed back to the conference attendees for final feedback. The feedback process resulted in four strategic directions and 13 possible goal themes.
  • A rigorous internal review of the four strategic directions and possible goal themes was then initiated by the Institutional Planning Committee with the resulting proposal being reviewed by the College Assembly. This internal review resulted in the endorsement of the four strategic directions and the establishment of nine goals with the agreement to send them out for an all campus review and feedback.


  • Develop programs with educational partners that inspire postsecondary education and career readiness as a life goal.
  • Increase completion and achievement of all students with a focus on underperforming student groups.
  • Engage in partnerships to develop programs in existing and emerging career areas that enable students to succeed in a global economy.  


We will demonstrate our progress in these directions by accomplishing the following goals:

  • Identify funding and leverage partner resources for innovative projects.
  • Identify, monitor, and publish results on institutional effectiveness measures, key performance indicators and metrics for strategic goals.  
  • Create "stackable" career and academic pathways that incorporate industry-relevant and postsecondary credentials which lead to a sustainable income.
  • Ensure P-20 curriculum alignment and transfer articulation.
  • Decrease student achievement gaps of developmental, young male and black non-Hispanic students, while increasing academic achievement for all.
  • Increase the percentage of first-time, full-time freshmen from our feeder high school districts who begin in credit-bearing courses.  
  • Inspire all students to seek postsecondary opportunities.
  • Integrate career readiness skills into education and training programs with an emphasis on adult education.   
  • Increase the number of certificate and degree completers.