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COA uses community feedback to create new strategic plan

At its most recent meeting, the College of The Albemarle (COA) Board of Trustees voted to approve a new strategic plan, which will guide the college’s operations through the three-year period of 2021-24.

COA’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee, comprised of individuals from every division and campus of the college, held nearly two dozen sessions over a period of several months this winter and spring to seek feedback from the community. Session participants included employees, students, community partners and residents from across the college’s seven county service area.

“We are the community’s college and I can’t begin to express the importance of having the voices of our community members heard when asked what can we do to better serve them. These discussions took place in advance to allow us to build around those conversations and truly make a lasting impact on our service area through our new strategic plan,” stated Dr.

Jack Bagwell, COA president.

The new Strategic Plan is made up of four themes and accompanying goals:

  • Access – Increase access to opportunities, resources and support.
  • Success – Improve success for students, employees and the community.
  • Diversity – Promote diversity of people, perspectives and programs.
  • Relationships – Strengthen relationships with individuals, institutions and industries.

The themes of access and diversity were particularly influenced by the community sessions, according to Dr. Dean Roughton, COA’s vice president of institutional research, planning, effectiveness and technology: “We heard over and over again from participants that people are not fully aware of all the college has to offer and that some people run into barriers that prevent them from fully taking advantage of opportunities available to them.” COA’s new strategic plan states that it will work to increase awareness of offerings as well as to “mitigate physical, knowledge, financial, transportation, technology and other barriers that may limit access to opportunities, resources and support” at the college.

The new plan has a greater focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and states that COA will endeavor to achieve broader representation among its students, employees and leadership. “This emphasis aligns with other diversity initiatives recently enacted at the college,” stated a COA press release. “College of The Albemarle has made a commitment to have a local implementation of the Unity Project by developing a COA Unity Taskforce. This taskforce will be a proactive approach in keeping the conversations going. These conversations will complement the recent work on the Strategic Plan to streamline efforts and advance the college in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

The Board of Trustees recently passed a policy related to equity and has taken steps to encourage that the board itself strives to have a more diverse community representation.

COA’s new strategic plan will take effect on August 1 when the current plan expires.

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