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IV. Planning Environment


           A responsible plan takes key stakeholders into consideration as part of defining the planning environment. Key stakeholders are defined as those who are significantly affected by the initiative and whose participation is essential to make the initiative a success.  Stakeholders are considered to be of two principal types: internal and external. Internal stakeholders include students, faculty, staff, administrators, volunteers, guests and visitors, as well as on-site vendors, contractors, service providers, and immediate neighbors. External stakeholders encompass other individuals, organizations, and communities.

            Environmental scanning can be defined as “the study and interpretation of the political, economic, social and technological events and trends which influence a business, an industry or even a total market” (Kroon, 1995). The Office of University Planning and Assessment houses an on-going list of environmental impacts, such as various trends, factors, and stakeholders that may be critical to our institution’s future. Using this information as a guide, the President’s Cabinet created an initial list of impacts on the 2012-2017 planning process using Kroon’s four categories of influence: political, economic, social, technological.

            A draft document was created and distributed to the campus community for review and feedback.  Institutional Effectiveness gathered all feedback to determine trends that may be added to the draft document. The final version of this document was used to inform all department, school, college, and division planning. The document reflected an informed understanding of our environment and the likely future condition of the State’s economy and the ability of The Texas State University System Board of Regents and the President’s Cabinet to support requests for additional funding to launch new initiatives. The document was revised at the June 2012 President’s Retreat. The bullets below reflect elements in the current higher education environment that specifically affect Texas State.

·         The State of Texas is facing a very large budget deficit of 12 to 21 billion dollars.

·         The competition for state tax revenues from Medicaid and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will continue.

·         As the economy fails to recover quickly, more professors will choose to delay retirement.

·         As the economy fails to quickly recover, more students will choose to return to the university in order to improve their job prospects.

·         With no resources for increased staffing and a rapidly growing university, the need to do more with less will continue.

·         With the slow economy, fundraising will be a challenge for the next few years.

·         Building additional needed instructional and research facilities will be challenging without Tuition Revenue Bonds.

·         Texas will continue to elect representatives to state-wide posts who oppose higher taxes.

·         Texas will continue to promote low taxes as the way to promote growth.

·         There will be increasing pressure to constrain the cost of attendance for students, including the rate of growth of tuition and mandatory fees.

·         The accountability movement for higher education will remain powerful within Texas, and there will be much more pressure to retain and graduate students.

·         The change to the FBS in football – and a corresponding change in conferences – will have a positive impact on the image of the whole university.

·         Students and their parents are asking universities to provide quality, extensive services to students even when there are no additional revenues.

·         Students are asking universities to reduce or mitigate increases in the cost of textbooks.

·         Rapid population growth in Texas will continue to fuel demand for a college education.

·         Much of the population growth in Texas will be Hispanics.

·         Demographic shifts in alumni population will create a need to provide more diversity in programming, activities and communications aimed to strengthen alumni connections.

·         In Texas, the growth of the “minority-majority” will create a need for “out of the box” thinking and a greater need to understand the cultures the students bring to the campus in order to create unique environments for each group of students to make them successful.

·         “Report Card” systems such as the Voluntary System of Accountability will become the norm and will be used by students and parents to select the institutions they feel will give them the best education overall.

·         Greater diversity in the U.S. and a more global society encourage an educational experience that prepares students to be culturally competent global citizens.

·         Campus safety and emergency preparation, management, and prevention have become ever more important in higher education.

·         The demographics of Texas suggest that there will continue to be enrollment increases instead of enrollment decreases for the university. There is an expectation from the THECB that we continue to grow.

·         Town and university relationships between students and non-students will remain important. .

·         More on-line content and instruction will be promoted as a way to lower demands for new buildings and to meet the needs for flexibility in class schedules.

·         New media for marketing the university will be driven by new technologies.

·         E-books will play a more important role in classroom instruction.

·         Mobile applications will become more important in instruction.

·         Popular mobile applications demand stable, high quality, and high bandwidth wireless network connections campus-wide.

·         While libraries remain popular as information portals, information is more likely acquired from remote, licensed, on-line databases, or from the library’s own digitized collection of institutional scholarship, than from the monographs in the library’s physical collection.

·         Academic libraries are transforming their spaces from collection repositories to “Learning Commons” comprised of collaborative work areas, individual study spaces, multi-media studios, highly adaptable furnishings, and specially configured technology, along with support staff to facilitate effective use of the facility.

·         Infrastructure development will focus on the strategies that afford maximum agility, flexibility, resiliency, and scalability.

·         Threats to information security and personal privacy are continuously evolving and increasingly sophisticated.


*Revised 2014 Environmental Scan