What You Need to Know: SCP’s Strategic Plan

Division 17 Past-President Ruth Fassinger shares the Strategic Planning Committee’s process for how a comprehensive vision for SCP was developed

SCP members spent over a year developing a strategic plan for the division, which they presented to the SCP executive board during the midyear meeting shortly after the National Multicultural Conference and Summit in January. At the time, Dr. Arpana Inman formed a special interest group (SIG) to initiate a strategic plan overhaul during her tenure as SCP president and Dr. Ruth Fassinger, Past-President and board liaison to the SIG, has been eager to pick up the task.

So, what is the purpose of the strategic plan? “The plan should assist the division in forming a well-functioning organization so that we can better serve each other and society,” explains Dr. Fassinger. “The plan should be created as a living document that sets the tone and vision for the division for the next three to five years.” In other words, the strategic plan is a roadmap to hold SCP accountable to its own established values and goals. Given the changing sociopolitical climate and ever-emerging research and clinical innovations, she stressed the importance of continually updating such a plan. The strategic plan therefore needed to be both specific and measurable, but also flexible. After speaking with Dr. Fassinger about the strategic plan’s development, it is clear the SIG took the following into consideration:

  • Best Practices. The strategic plan process involved (1) hiring an external, impartial consultant, (2) reliance on data from quantitative and qualitative membership feedback, and (3) an understanding that a lengthier, yet proactive process to address comprehensive division needs would serve SCP better in the long run compared to a reactive, piece-meal plan.
  • Traditionally, governance handles strategic planning. Dr. Fassinger noted that this limits strategic planning, as leadership positions last about one year – shorter than the time needed to create an “inclusive and comprehensive” plan than what was needed. Creating a SIG that did not rely on governance solved this issue, as the SIG continues running regardless of who is currently in office. See the graphic for SIG’s timeline for strategic planning. Relying heavily on membership input creates more inclusivity, but also means that transitions in leadership will be smoother and guided by an overarching vision. Ideally, all elected and appointed leaders from January 2019 onward will have a set of guiding documents, via the strategic plan, to assist them with their roles. These documents will also help emerging leaders determine how they want to contribute to the division in the future.
  • The SIG had their first face-to-face meeting in February 2018, where they reviewed qualitative and quantitative survey data from SCP members about what they perceived to be the most pressing issues and initiatives for the division. The SIG drafted mission and vision statements at this meeting and then invited members to give their feedback.
  • Ensuring a Comprehensive Vision. The meeting in February 2018 concluded with the establishment of 5 work groups. Each work group has one representative from the SIG alongside SCP members, who came together to establish goals in a day-long retreat before the 2018 APA Convention. The groups were identified with the intent of capturing the most critical components of SCP based on member feedback analyzed at the February meeting. The groups are:
    • Advocacy
      • “[The division] hasn’t had a discussion about whether advocacy and social justice are the same thing,” Dr. Fassinger explained. This work group focused on how to develop a framework so that all in the division can find their place in valuing social justice initiatives.
    • Leadership
      • The leadership group identified strategies to create leadership pipelines and promote leadership development and skills among all SCP members. Such skills can be used in all workplaces, the division, and state associations – “and Division 17 should model these skill,” according to Dr. Fassinger.
    • Integrative Professionalism
      • This group addressed ways to support the integration of SCP members’ multiple roles, including research, practice, and education and training
    • Membership Inclusion and Engagement
      • “I see a renewed morale and interest in the division, and a willingness from members to experiment with new initiatives,” Dr. Fassinger stated. This working group proposed ways to maintain inclusivity across all members of SCP – not just in reaching out to all members, but identifying how to encourage all members to contribute back to SCP itself.
    • Communication
      • This group acknowledged the importance of using contemporary communication methods, particularly social media, with the goal of keeping membership and society informed about SCP-related issues.

What comes next now that the SCP Strategic Plan is complete? Current SCP President Anneliese Singh has tasked the SCP Presidential Cabinet and Executive Board with oversight of the implementation of the strategic plan, and a formal structure within SCP is being identified to ensure we accomplish the six strategic goals.

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