Through Standard 1.5 (2017), the CAA requires programs to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate a long-term strategic plan. This standard continues to be one that is frequently cited in accreditation reviews. The CAA offers programs the following considerations for long-term strategic planning.
Elements Considered by the CAA Related to a Program’s Long-Term Strategic Plan
When the CAA conducts its reviews, it looks for specific indicators to confirm certain elements are in place:
- Has a strategic plan been developed?
- Has the strategic plan been implemented?
- Is the plan congruent with the mission of the institution? What methods are used to ensure this?
- Does the program have institutional support to implement the plan?
- Does the plan reflect the program’s role in the community?
- Does the plan include long-term goals, specific measurable objectives, and strategies to attain the goals and objectives?
- Is the plan current? If not, in what stage of development or approval is the plan?
- How is the plan evaluated? How frequently is this done?
- How is the plan, or an executive summary of the plan, shared with faculty, students, alumni, or other interested parties?
CAA’s Definition of “Long-Term”
The CAA has observed that typical long-term strategic plans in university settings are 3–5 years. Although the CAA has not defined a minimum or maximum range of time that a strategic plan should cover, the Council does expect that a “long-term” strategic plan covers more than 1 year. The time frame used by the program should be consistent with the university’s planning period and allow for the planning to be comprehensive.
Strategic Plan Content Assessment
The CAA does not assess the content of the program’s strategic plan. Rather, the focus of this standard is on the process of development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination to support continuous quality improvement of the program.
Strategic Planning Resources
The CAA has not developed strategic planning resources for programs. However, ASHA staff have curated additional information related to this topic and developed targeted strategic planning resources for programs in communication sciences and disorders. We encourage programs to tap into campus resources and review tips on selecting a consultant as appropriate.