A Collaborative Approach to COVID-19 Planning at a Regional Public University
Keywords:scenario planning, COVID-19, strategic planning, regional university, public university
As Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW), a regional public university in northeast Indiana, completed the spring 2020 semester fully remote due to COVID-19, university leadership had to determine if there was a path to safely reopening campus and maintaining a low-risk environment for in-person instruction and work for the 2020-21 academic year. To make this determination, PFW engaged in a three-week scenario planning process in which we assembled 22 task forces composed of 140 faculty and staff, approximately 13.5% of the university’s full-time employees, to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with eight scenarios for how the 2020-21 academic year could play out. Reports and recommendations from the scenario planning process have informed all aspects of the university’s COVID-19 planning, implementation, and communication. This paper examines how a highly collaborative planning process, informed by PFW’s recently completed strategic planning process, created broad engagement with and awareness of the university’s planning efforts, demonstrated the value placed on faculty and staff expertise and input, and helped to build long-term buy-in and trust. This approach also informed PFW’s planning processes for the 2021-22 academic year, which emphasized leveraging our COVID-19 experiences to build a better normal for the university.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (July, 2021). Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education. COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities/considerations.html
Purdue University Fort Wayne. (2020). Empowering Transformation: Strategic Plan 2020-25. Strategic Plan and Implementation. https://www.pfw.edu/strategic-plan/documents/PFW-CHAN-Strategic-Plan-Trustee-Mtg-Booklet-508-DIGITALv2.pdf
Copyright (c) 2021 Jeffrey J. Malanson
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