A Publication of WTVP

Planning for opportunities? The idea of planning for opportunities appears to be a contradiction of terms. Conventional wisdom tells us opportunity knocks and we open the door. This wisdom says we can’t prepare ourselves for opportunities. Opportunities just happen to us.

We’re changing that pattern of thought here at ICC. We’ve been going through several extensive planning and evaluating processes. We’re getting input and feedback, reviewing data, and analyzing trends. The point of doing all this is to get us ready—for opportunity.

By creating our comprehensive plan and our land-use plan we’re creating the binoculars we need to scan the horizon. We’re sharpening our focus of the future. And while the plans provide us with a sharper focus, they also will heighten our awareness of what to look for in the distance.

In a way we’re like pilots who fly by visual rules. These pilots see thousands of square miles of terrain as they fly, but look for certain landmarks to guide them on their way. Before they take off, they know what they’re looking for and when to change direction. That’s what we’re doing, too.

For example, we have been invited to be part of the greater Peoria biotech initiative. This initiative hasn’t been implemented yet, but we know there’s a very good chance it will. As central Illinois’s community college, we need to start asking right now how this initiative changes things at ICC. We need to determine what curricula we need in place, what kinds of instructors we need to have, what kind of facilities will support training people needed for a biotech initiative. We need to answer those questions now so we’ll be ready in the future.

Like the biotech initiative, we have a number of areas outside of the college to anticipate. We’re looking at how we deliver education, not just in terms of what classes we offer but how we offer them and to whom.

We’re evaluating our quality of service to our students and community, as well as to each other. We’re thinking about ways to collaborate with our area grade schools, high schools and other colleges.

We haven’t forgotten our role in our local economy. Our planning also includes inquiries into our role in workforce development for our community.

We know that to create the kind of college that seizes opportunities in the external environment, we need to take care of what’s going on inside. In an industry known for hierarchy and bureaucracy, we’re trying to figure out how to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit.

We’re taking serious the strengthening and expansion of our brand and image. We’re asking ourselves how we can lead the way in embracing diversity. Finally, we’re determining how we link all these things together into an integrated approach while maintaining flexibility and nimbleness.

These are the first steps we’re taking in defining our blueprint for the future. IBI