Strategic Planning Process
The strategic planning process intends to provide Rana University with a forward-looking, inspirational road map for the institution’s future beyond the immediate scenarios.
The opportunities---to provide greater access to information and to enable contributions from all the members of the Rana communities- are consistent with Rana's student centered philosophy. Seizing these opportunities would be consistent with Rana's history of embracing change and may allow it to strengthen its brand and gain an advantage in the competition for the best faculty and students. Greater openness can improve the processes of teaching and learning and would certainly facilitate a greater national contribution by Rana University. There is a role for first movers, just as there is a role for fast followers and even cautious adopters and fence seaters. But there is no reason to ignore very serious trends, particularly by an institution that in the past has benefited from being hospitable to change. There is no reason to believe that fundamental and destabilizing changes will not occur, whatever Rana University chooses to do or not to do.
The early stages of the Strategic Planning process identified a number of core values associated both with the mission and development of the University that must be preserved as the institution develops and grows. These include: a strong focus on the creation of a broadly educated person;
• A strong focus on development of skills necessary for life-long learning;
• A continued emphasis on quality programs;
• A culture of community support and caring for faculty, staff and students;
• A student-centered environment;
• A commitment to access, equity, and diversity; and
• A continued strong focus on integrated learning.
Overall, the specific objectives and actions of the plan suggest the need to move on a number of fronts to keep abreast of the competition and enhance academic excellence. The highest overall priority proposed for the coming five years is to enhance faculty excellence and infra-structure facilities.
The strategic planning process began with an evaluation of the current realities facing the institution. Rana University reviewed trends, forecasts, and key assumptions relevant to institutional planning, including a scan of the environment—both internal and external to the University—admission trends, changes in our student profile over the past five years, socioeconomic, political, and technology trends and assumptions, and an assessment of the Rana’s competitive position. Once the framework for decision-making was completed, teams of administration, faculty, staff, and students narrowed the focus to strategic issues and then worked together to develop goals and related strategies.
Rana University is committed to pursue the strategic plan in its real letter and spirit and will give strategic plan goals first priority during the annual budget process not only in the current year but in the years to come. Performance metrics are assigned to each strategic plan goal and will be used to track and assess implementation progress. As new trends, data, and key assumptions will emerge, change, or become obsolete over the years, the plan will evolve in response and appropriate adjustments to our plan will be made.
Afghanistan is undergoing tremendous political, economic and social transformation as the country reduces dependence on foreign aid. Increased political uncertainty and growing security incidents combined with unpredictable government policies as well as an extremely competitive environment collectively have significant impact on the way private universities operate in Afghanistan. There is an urgent need to analyze the severity of the current environment and develop proactive, comprehensive and strategic actions that will mitigate the negative and undesirable consequences. Specifically, it is anticipated that the private higher education sector will be negatively affected by a myriad of factors including:
Maintaining the status quo
As such, it is highly imperative for Rana University to determine its strategic priorities and future direction having carefully assessed the external environment. Without a sustainable and integrated approach towards the emerging political and economic environments, Rana University's reputation and effective might be negatively affected. Rana University has a unique opportunity to strengthen its brand, introduce innovative programs and adapt its approach, ensuring an informed and calculated response to the transition phase. Through collective and coherent actions, it is anticipated that Rana University will make significant inroads towards academic excellence in the years ahead.
The following strategic goals have been determined after extensive and intensive discussions with the stakeholders:
Rationale: Despite massive achievements in student enrollment and retention, there is a need to attract the country’s best and brightest minds. Significant reform and improvements are required at the registration, admissions and retention procedures in order to ensure exceptional student experience at Rana University. Effective student retention will require emphasis on extracurricular activities and intellectually rigorous initiatives such as research seminars, symposiums and student-centered events.
Based on student and alumni survey findings, the University must make additional investments in infrastructure development and upgrading of key facilities. Such responsive measures will help lay the foundation of an efficient, cost-effective and smart administrative system that will appropriately reflect the academic excellence, organizational values and overarching University brand. Ultimately, every effort must be made to transform the University into a student-centered institution.
Our students are among the University's greatest assets with specific needs and aspirations. While improving our institutional systems and policies, we will train our employees to offer the most exceptional academic and professional services to the University’s students and alumni. At the most fundamental level, we will strengthen and streamline our information and student services to address the immediate and critical student needs. We will work to significantly improve our teaching methodology, ensuring a modern and interactive learning approach through the reinforcement of group work, practical work, self-directed exercises and role plays, among others.
Strategic Objective 1: To enhance student professional growth through the designed delivery of rewarding and intellectually rigorous academic programs and services
Key Actions: 1. Strengthen the industry immersion into the classrooms through case study methods, workshops, expert speakers and alumni engagement.
2. Enhance student counseling on areas related to subject selection, specialization and thesis development.
Attracting and maintaining a diverse and balanced pool of talented faculty members is the University’s top priority. As the University expands, there is a need to recruit, develop and sustain a group of world-class faculty members who are devoted to the University’s mission and values.
The University’s faculty have played a critical role in the strengthening the University’s academic reputation, particularly related to the international accreditation. Moving forward, greater resources and investments need to be allocated to faculty selection and development. Key progress must be made in strengthening faculty development, management and administration systems and policies, ensuring consistency and continuous faculty improvement.
In addition to exceptional faculty recruitment and development, there is a need to introduce and implement a comprehensive faculty performance-based appraisal system. Over the years, faculty performance management has been either lacking or fragmented leading to limited results in faculty motivation and retention.
Rana University also remains committed to developing a research culture at the student and faculty levels. As such, we will prioritize interdisciplinary research development mobilizing students and key faculty members. We will invest in technical and financial resources towards streamlining and strengthening research development. We will help the faculty and students navigate their way in interdisciplinary research through connecting them to resources, community, and world-renowned researchers and think-tanks.
We will seek to constantly adapt, innovate and exceed the expectations of our students and communities we work with. We will be renowned as a catalyst for social change, building on our long-standing contributions towards the economic growth of Afghanistan through the introduction of highly skilled and talented professionals.
Strategic Objective 2: To nurture and foster a talented faculty from diverse backgrounds, ensuring continuous professional development and faculty research excellence.
Innovation constitutes a fundamental organizational value at Rana University. Achieving academic excellence will require relentless innovation and growth to ensure the University meets the educational challenges and opportunities in Afghanistan.
As the industry leader and only AACSB accreditation aspirant institution, Rana University’s reputation and performance will be assessed both internally and externally based on its ability to innovate and shape the higher education landscape. Strategically, there is a need to raise awareness at the university-level about the significance of the innovative approaches, streamline the innovation efforts and ensure a system-wide impact through careful design, delivery and follow-up processes.
Keeping in view the University’s strengths and opportunities, Rana must focus on innovation through the design and delivery of market-driven academic programs; tapping into the latest teaching and learning best practices with a particular focus on technological innovation in teaching; and establishing the Rana University’s Center of Excellence to consolidate the development of innovative ideas and initiatives.
Strategic Objective 3: To foster an environment of sustained innovation and growth with a focus on academic innovation
Rationale: Development and application of standard policies and procedures has been identified as a key challenge at Rana University. Considering the expansion and transformation of the University into an industry leader, Rana University requires responsive and practical policies to guide its operations, programs and services.
Lack of such critical guiding documents will limit the University’s potential, impact and productivity, resulting in overlaps and inefficiencies. Key policies that must be developed and updated include:
A) Student Services;
D) Administration & Human Resources; and
E) Internal and External Communications.
Improved policies and procedures will help the University transform its staff and student experience, resulting in increased efficiencies across the University. As such, we will commit to an efficient, respectful and responsive approach to understanding, analyzing and responding to the student, staff and faculty concerns. In everything we do, we will adopt a student-centric approach, recognizing that our long-term success hinges on our ability to efficiently and effectively serve our constituencies.
Strategic Objective 4: To streamline and enhance the University policies, procedures and mechanisms towards effective collaboration and student success.
Develop and streamline critical organizational policies and procedures focusing on administration, academic, registrar and student services.
Since its inception in 2009, Rana University has earned a strong reputation as a competent academic institution among both national and international stakeholders. Rana University’s students, alumni and partners represent a critical mass of individuals who can effectively advance the University’s mission nationally and internationally.
Greater emphasis needs to be placed on forging academic and industry linkages while ensuring that the University’s “ambassadors” are fully engaged in advancing the University’s outreach goals.
As a key strategic pillar, the public engagement efforts will seek to cultivate stronger, sustainable connections in ways that together these assets contribute towards the Vision of Excellence. We will work together with the other University departments to raise Rana University’s status as the “accredited” institution committed to achieving academic excellence.
We will also support opportunities for students, faculty and departments across the University to share their achievements, cultivate new partnerships and advance their specific priorities.
Strategic Objective 5: To strengthen and streamline the University’s public engagement effort with national, regional and international stakeholders.
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