The United States Merchant Marine Academy embarks on a collaborative journey to create its 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.
Strategic Planning as an Opportunity
The United States Merchant Marine Academy is preparing for the future by generating a new strategic plan. USMMA has chosen to take a strength-based approach that, in addition to delivering a strategic plan, will build on the Academy’s Core Values – Respect, Honor, and Service. Strength-based strategic planning provides an ideal opportunity for USMMA to develop its strategic plan while leveraging a cultural focus of appreciation, collaboration and transformation.
Overview of the Strategic Planning Process
Strategic planning is an inclusive process for everyone who has a stake in the vision of the Academy. The path chosen by USMMA features transformation from the inside out. The journey begins with a focus on strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results (SOAR). This SOAR analysis differs from traditional strategic planning in that the primary focus is on leveraging strengths and seeking opportunities. Weaknesses and threats are reframed and addressed in terms of what the organization’s stakeholders are seeking as opposed to what they wish to mitigate or avoid.
There will be five phases to the strategic planning journey at USMMA. The first phase involves scoping and planning the project as well as training key individuals in strength-based processes. The second phase centers on the collection and analysis of qualitative data from USMMA’s stakeholders. The third phase incorporates preparations for and facilitation of a two-day strategic planning Summit. Following the Summit, a number of activities must be completed to prepare for operationalizing the strategic plan. These activities make up the fourth phase of the journey. The final phase focuses on the establishment of an appreciative culture and the creation of internal capacity relative to the use of generative processes.
A Strategic Planning Team of faculty and staff is leading the strategic planning process. The team is responsible for ensuring that the project’s transformational goals are set and met, and that the process remains positive from start to finish. The strategic thinkers on this team will identify and engage key stakeholders who have a vested interest in the outcome of the strategic planning process.
The Strategic Planning Team
- CDR Paul Acquaro, Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)
- CAPT Gene Albert, Professional Development & Career Services
- LTjg Andrew Baransky, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
- Ms. Veronica Barry, Office of External Affairs
- Dr. Jane Brickman, Department of Humanities
- Mr. Paul Buhse, Department of Public Works
- Ms. Jamie Cocheo, Office of Institutional Assessment
- Dr. Susan Comilang, Department of Humanities
- Mr. John Demers, Executive Officer
- Mr. Rick Dominique, Department of Waterfront Operations & Training
- Dr. Jerry Doumas, Department of Math and Science
- Coach Tim Gaiser, Physical Education and Athletics
- LCDR Mike Huzyak, Office of the Commandant
- LT Lamont Johnson, Department of Naval Science
- Mr. Tim McLellan, Department of Marine Transportation
- CAPT David Palmer, Department of Marine Engineering
- CAPT Ann Sanborn, Department of Marine Transportation
- Dr. David Shinn, Department of Math and Science
- LT David Taliaferro, Office of the Commandant
- Coach Mike Toop, Physical Education and Athletics
- Dr. Lori Townsend, Office of Institutional Assessment (Chair)
- Ms. Maureen (Mo) White, Physical Education and Athletics
About Innovation Partners of the Southwest LLC
USMMA is teaming up with Christine Whitney Sanchez and Bill Scott of Innovation Partners International (IPI) of the Southwest LLC. IPI Southwest works throughout the US and around the world to build the capacity for mindful leadership, strength-based organizations, and strategic collaboration. Their proprietary Strategic Collaboration™ model is grounded in Appreciative Inquiry and is guided by the knowledge held by the stakeholders in an organization.
Innovation through Strategic CollaborationTM
IPI Southwest uses a proprietary model known as Strategic Collaboration™ in the development of strategic plans. Strategic Collaboration™ is a strength-based framework grounded in Appreciative Inquiry that focuses on increasing social, environmental and financial impact through the generative power of collaboration.
By creating opportunities for collective wisdom, equal voice, diverse perspectives, a focus on the affirmative, and an educated eye toward the future, the processes and practices of Strategic Collaboration™ help people communicate mindfully and develop a practice of continuous inquiry and experimentation that leads to positive action.
USMMA is devoted to creating a living strategic plan. Like all plans, the magic in a living strategic plan lies in being both grounded in the details of the plan while being flexible in its execution so that what is emerging can be incorporated. At the end of the journey, USMMA’s strategic direction will evolve from the collective wisdom of its community members and innovation born of the greater whole.
This is an exciting time at USMMA and we are fortunate to have the support of many faculty, staff, Midshipmen, and other stakeholders in making this plan a living road map capable of positioning the United States Merchant Marine Academy for future greatness.
How to get Involved
Success of this strategic planning process requires the collaboration of our many esteemed constituents and the value we place on our diverse voices. Opportunities will be available for all USMMA community members: faculty, staff, and Midshipmen, industry and military representatives, alumni and parents, and friends of the Academy. We are looking for individuals who would like to participate through interviews, focus groups, and surveys, and attendees at the Strategic Planning Summit in March 2018. If you are interested in getting involved in the strategic planning process, please send us an email at StrategicPlanning@usmma.edu and we will add you to our mailing list for more information on upcoming opportunities.