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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

"Higher education policy", Sept. 2013.


Strategic planning has become an integral part of the management of higher education institutions worldwide. The experiences of all but one of the Republic of Ireland’s 21 Universities and Institutes of Technology with strategic planning are explored from 2000-2010. At the starting point in 2000 only two Institutions had a documented strategic plan. Ten years later all had undergone one or more iterations of strategic planning. Qualitative research methods were used including document analysis of n=42 strategic plans, n=12 institutional review reports and n=26 interviews with senior managers with responsibility for strategic planning. The paper considers whether the strategic planning models used in the past decade will be able to meet the challenges presented by unprecedented economic circumstances and the new national strategy for higher education in Ireland. Significant deficits are identified with respect to strategic planning for institutional diversity, performance-related funding and external stakeholder engagement. Fundamental questions are raised in relation to the approaches taken to strategy development.