Planning - Or Lack Thereof

What is the Function of the Board of Education?

The most important function of the Clatsop Community College Board of Education is strategic planning. To this end, the board has an annual retreat where goals – long range and for the coming year – are set. Except they aren’t.

NEWS – April 29, 2021: The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities found CCC still has not complied with the NWCCU 2019 directive to “Review and revise its institutional planning processes to ensure that data collectively support mission fulfillment and effective strategic decision-making.” Translation? CCC’s strategic plan contains no goals, no metrics, and no accountability.


Everyone who has ever taken a business course knows what a goal is, and how to define one. Goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound.

As an example, “I want to lose weight” is not a goal. It lacks specificity, progress criteria, and a timeline. It is a wish. “I want to lose ten pounds by July 4” is a goal. It meets all SMART criteria.

For a deeper explanation of SMART goals, click here.

Goals? What Goals?

Back to the Clatsop Community College Board of Education and strategic planning. As noted, the board has an annual retreat where goals for the coming year are set – except they aren’t – and progress towards the “strategic plan” measured – except it isn’t, because the current ‘Strategic Plan’ contains no SMART goals.

What it contains are aspirations; wishes. Lofty language lacking any specifics. Such statements are fine, so long as they are backed up by goals to achieve those aspirations. They are not.

Contrast the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan adopted in 2018 by a board containing four of today’s seven board members, with the 2013 to 2017 Strategic Plan adopted by a previous board containing only one member of the current board. Note that most of the Strategic Goals of the 2013 to 2017 Strategic Plan are actually SMART goals. Note that the “Strategic Initiatives” of the 2018 to 2023 Strategic Plan are not goals. They contain no SMART elements.

The so called “goals” set at the last two board retreats were no more specific. They were not SMART. So called “goals” that are not SMART create a lack of accountability. If there is no due date, and progress is not measurable, no one is responsible when results do not materialize.

Times are tough. Clatsop Community College needs SMART goal setters on the board.