University of Northern Colorado: Athletics Action Plan

When the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) underwent a university-wide strategic planning process, they recognized that this process must include the development of a strategic action plan for the athletics department, and that these plans must align to the overall fiscal sustainability plan and with the University’s other long-term objectives. They pulled together a diverse group of internal stakeholders from across the university system who would determine the future of UNC athletics. The Springboard team facilitated a series of conversations that brought together these distinct voices so that many different points of view were represented during the plan’s development.

UNC’s President is now “a convert to the idea of facilitated strategic planning… When it’s done by extremely skilled facilitators (which has been my experience with Springboard), it’s really impressive what you can get done.” She says that participants in the facilitated sessions were able to get more work done, and more quickly, than they would have been able to do if they hadn’t gone through this process. “[Another] key takeaway for me that was helpful,” adds the Vice President, “is the fact that [people] across campus now better understand athletics, what goes into athletics, and how it can be better integrated and incorporated into the institution.”

Ultimately, as a result of getting the right people in the room and bringing the right process to the table, stakeholders in the athletics department are now able to understand and work better together. In addition, they can replicate the process as they tackle tough, important conversations, and make decisions that are integrated throughout the University. Aligning their department with UNC’s overall plan ensures that athletics remains a vital and sustainable part of the University.