PLANNING AS STRATEGY IN A PERIOD OF INSTITUTIONAL UNCERTAINTY
Three years ago, the College of Environmental Design coalesced around a strategic plan, CED Frontiers. Associated with 6 initiatives designed to implement the goals of the plan, we have made important strides toward reaching these goals. For example, we have launched an annual small grants program to support co-curricular opportunities focused on diversity, and our first studio floor renovation will be complete soon thanks to the remarkable generosity of key alumni. Although much remains to be done (there are 6 more studio floors to go!), CED Frontiers has been an important guide for the college during a time of administrative and financial uncertainty on the UC Berkeley campus.
This might seem counter-intuitive: how can you possibly plan if your environment is characterized by unanticipated change?
As a planning scholar studying the voluntary sector during the 1980s and 1990s, a period of rapid welfare state restructuring and devolution, I knew from my own research that organizations that planned despite an uncertain environment, were more prepared to contend with, and respond productively to, change.
Among many of the organizations I studied, planning was a critical strategy for change management.
The same has been true for CED. Although along the way we have taken advantage of opportunities and dealt with emergent problems not envisaged in CED Frontiers, we have been united around our goals and focused on the plan’s key initiatives. This has helped keep the college moving forward — in excellence, innovation, and access — during decidedly challenging times.
Indeed, as our 2016 College of Environmental Design Annual Report details in the following pages, the past year was marked by extraordinary accomplishments, as well as exciting news, events, and activities. Our community — students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends — is strong and dedicated to the welfare and future of the college, and understands that moving down the path of excellence and access is a collective effort. Our strategic plan helps chart that path, navigate periods of rapid change, uncertainty and anxiety, and keep our eyes on what really matters: outstanding teaching, research, professional and community service; innovative curriculum, programs, and opportunities; and a welcoming, well-designed, and enabling learning environment.
Jennifer Wolch, William W. Wurster Dean,
Professor of City & Regional Planning