As a strategic association, ACRL stays focused on achieving the Plan for Excellence. That requires member leaders, on the Board and on division-level committees, to follow a process for keeping the many different parts of the organization on track to move the association in the right direction. Behind the scenes, out of the view of most ACRL members, the strategic planning cycle engages the leadership throughout the year. It is a process of continually assessing progress, identifying weaknesses and revising targets. During the months of July and August the focus is on the Work Plan.
The Work Plan is a core document that is completed by the chair of each division-level committee. In addition to a summative report from the previous year’s chair, the plan identifies the specific actions and activities the committee expects to accomplish before the next ALA Annual Conference. Depending on the nature of some committee projects, it may be multi-year in nature. To improve the overall strategic process, the Work Plans were updated earlier this year to facilitate the process of connecting each committee Plan to the three strategic goal areas (student learning, research and scholarly environment and value of academic libraries). The new layout makes it simpler to identify which Plan for Excellence goal and objective the activity supports.
This is a busy season for the Board of Directors. Each member serves as the Board Liaison to multiple committees. It is each Liaison’s responsibility to work with the Committee chair to make sure the Work Plan is completed correctly, and to then approve the Work Plan document. Once all the Plans receive final approval, all the individual goals and activities will be compiled into a master document that categorizes them according to the three strategic goal areas. At the fall 2012 SPOS, the Board will work together on a “gap analysis” activity that will identify areas where the committee goals need strengthening to meet the three strategic goals and their associated objectives. In addition, any long-term committee projects will be consolidated into a multi-year planning grid. This will enable ACRL to identify the long-term resources it will need to achieve the Plan for Excellence.
Developing work plans, reviewing them, compiling them, analyzing them – and then using the acquired information to make adjustments to the overall strategic plan – is just part of the activity that happens out of the view of most ACRL members. This is the work that helps our association achieve its strategic goals, making it possible to share the resources available to help our members be successful.
Speaking of the Board, here is a photo of the Board of Directors for 2012-2013. Those pictured are: Front Row (L to R) Irene M. H. Herold, Trevor A. Dawes, Steven J. Bell, Joyce L. Ogburn, Cynthia K. Steinhoff, Mary Ann Sheble; Back Row (L to R) Loretta R. Parham, Lisabeth A. Chabot, Marilyn Nabua Ochoa, Ann Campion Riley, Mary Ellen Davis, Mark Emmons (not pictured: Julie Ann Garrison, Maggie Farrell).