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Students head to class on the first day of the fall semester, Aug. 24, 2021, at Iowa Central Community College.

Earlier this spring, Iowa Central Community College embarked on a strategic planning process, hosting a series of “listening sessions” with several hundred different speakers to discuss what the future of the college looks like and how it will get there.

From there, consultants John Beranek and Kristi Wagner sifted through page after page of comments, concerns, and questions to arrive at the draft Central Iowa Five-Year Strategic Plan that was presented to the college board during a business session on Tuesday.

“It’s just a snapshot” of the final strategic plan, said college president Jesse Ulrich. The final plan will be presented to the Board of Directors for approval in August.

This first phase of the strategic planning process identified four main “strategic directions”:

• Advance development opportunities

• Cultivate the Triton culture

• Unite through communication and collaboration

• Strengthen student engagement.

Each of these orientations includes five-year objectives and targets, as well as two three-year benchmarks.

Advancing development opportunities focuses on strengthening the college’s human capital by improving support and services for students, faculty, and staff. Some of the five-year target goals include increasing staff and faculty diversity, increasing employee retention, and having a system in place to address the mental state of students and employees.

Cultivating the Triton culture will aim to increase the engagement of the Triton community in the activities and increase the opportunities for interactions.

Uniting through communication and collaboration will identify communication gaps and resolve technology infrastructure issues.

The fourth direction is empowering student engagement, which will focus on increasing student retention and graduation rates. It will also create opportunities for student engagement in career and technical programs, as well as clubs, activities, volunteerism and more.

When developing the strategic plan, Ulrich has one thing he keeps in perspective.

“If we did all of these things, would we be a better college when we’re done?” He asked.

In August, the board will approve the framework for the strategic plan. It will be up to the administration and shared governance committees of the college to implement the objectives.

Iowa Central has 12 shared governance committees comprised of a diverse set of faculty and staff, spanning departments such as facilities, enrollment, information technology and more.

“These are great goals, but they are only as good as the implementation,” said Board Chairman Mark Crimmins.

The groups will work on quarterly plans to achieve their goals in the strategic plan.

Ulrich said he plans to present the strategic plan to the board on an annual basis to show his progress and prioritize or modify goals as needed.

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