Our Strategic Plan History

Below you'll find the people, events, documents and data resources that we used in the process of developing our Strategic Plan. We archive past content to this area to make room for the latest news and updates to the plan as it evolves. Feel free to make use of the resources we make available below.

Our People at Work

Implementation Teams


The Agility Team hosted two workshops in the Fall semester focusing on educating the district on the four guiding principles of agility. 


Writing a charter for a new cross-functional technology advisory council; creating plans for increased automation in Student Services.


Piloting standardized scheduling to make room for a centralized scheduling module; seeking partnerships at regional high schools to develop and deliver developmental curriculum to reduce barriers to college-level courses; adopted a model for Guided Pathways and initiating three work teams to bring the plan to life.


Adopted a shared set of Guiding Principles for Learning and initiating plans to embed these principles in the classroom and extracurricular activities; researching Prior Learning models from the state and across the nation; creating a joint workgroup to address workforce gaps for regional economic growth.

File Name Downloads
Student Experience Statement Download
Scan-to-Plan Workshop Data Download
Scan Team Impact Statements Download
Horizon Focus Group Impact Statements Download
Student Experience Survey Results Download
Horizon Symposium - Executive Summary Download
Student Focus Group feedback, March 2nd, 12:15 pm Download
Faculty/Staff Focus Groups feedback, March 2nd, 7:30 am, 9:25 am. 1:40pm, 3:15pm Download
Student Experience Workshop feedback, March 1st, 2-5pm Download
AWC Data presentation, Dr. Mary Schaal, March 2017 Download
2017 Horizon Report, included in Liz Murphy’s Data Session presentation, March 2017 Download
Strategic Planning SWOT analysis, February 2017, Preliminary Summary Download

Strategic Planning Resources

In an effort to provide context for our campus and local communities as we move forward with our strategic planning initiative, we want to have relevant and timely information available on the current state of higher education nationally and regionally. We will continue to post resources of interest as our strategic planning progresses.

AWC’s Strategic Planning consultant, Liz Murphy, CEO of Campus Works, Inc., recommended our Strategic Planning team read the 25th edition of Managing Transitions to help us prepare for the inevitable changes that would occur across our campuses as we moved through the Strategic Planning process. To make the main ideas of this text available to all AWC faculty & staff, members of the Strategic Planning Task-force and President’s Council worked in teams to summarize the key points of each chapter, and the powerpoint below is the culmination of those efforts.

Bridges, William, and Susan Bridges. Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. 4th ed., Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2016.

Managing Transitions, Overview

If you are interested in borrowing a copy of Managing Transitions to read in its entirety, please email Strategic.Planning@azwestern.edu

Further, the notes and annotations below were provided by members of the Strategic Planning Task-force who worked together in small groups to:

  • Identify & briefly explain the main, overarching issues addressed in each article
  • Briefly explain their potential impact/relevance for community colleges generally, and AWC specifically
  • Briefly identify how these issues could/should impact our strategic planning

If you have resources you’d like to suggest for inclusion, please email Strategic.Planning@azwestern.edu

American Association of Community Colleges. (December 20, 2016) — Community College Agenda for the Trump Administration

Main Issues:  

Recognizing that community colleges are the most affordable sector of higher education, the American Association of Community Colleges created this vision for the future of higher education in anticipation of the new administration’s potential policies.  The vision identifies several areas of need, some requiring a large infusion of federal funding and others focused on reframing existing policies and protocols.

Impact to AWC:

Of particular impact to AWC are suggestions for expanding Pell Grants; developing relevant/current workforce education programs and increasing our competitiveness for workforce grants; investment in free educational resources and micro-grants for at-risk students; and investment in infrastructure.

Impact to Strategic Planning:

All of our college-wide planning should be student-centered and maximize our funding to support the needs of our community.  AWC students benefit from our concerted effort to provide the most current workforce training and academic education at the lowest cost.  Strategic planning should include evaluating the needs of the communities we serve and sustaining and/or creating programs that serve the greatest needs.

Boerner, H. (December 2016/January 2017) — Not Fade Away: Sustaining programs when grant funding ends Community College Journal, 87(3), 14-19.

Main Issues: 

  • Responsibility of institutions to enter into grants they intend to sustain
  • Narrow the scope of grants to benefit the community
  • Document & share positive results & impacts, beyond job placement

Impact to AWC:

  • Reputation
  • Need to evolve proactively
  • Impact to student retention

Impact to Strategic Planning:

  • Identify grants that benefit AWC community
  • Collaborate to sustain grants

Johnson, E. (October 30, 2016). Micro-barriers loom large for First-Generation studentsChronicle of Higher Education.

Main Issues:  

"Micro-Barriers Loom Large for First-Generation Students" illustrates J.D. Vance's experience as a first-generation college student. Vance, the author of "Hillbilly Elegy" talks of how the requirement for a signature on an application to Stanford caused him to throw away that application and apply instead to universities with forms that didn't have that requirement. In Vance's case, he didn't want to ask a stranger for help. He goes on to describe the difficulties in trying to navigate not only the world of higher education but also the social networks that students from working-class families may not be familiar with. Much of Vance's success came from mentors who helped him throughout his academic career.

Impact to AWC:

Many of our first-generation students may have many of the same difficulties as Vance. They may be hesitant to ask for help or to fill out forms that may be confusing and have a variety of requirements. They may be frustrated or intimidated at the number of steps needed before they can even begin attending classes. Once classes begin they then may worry about meeting the requirements to pass those classes.

Impact to Strategic Planning:

To make the college process easier, barriers that challenge first-generation students should be identified. Applying to college and registering for classes should be simplified. College orientations should educate students on how to succeed at not only their current but also their future academic careers if they decide to transfer to a four-year university. Students should have access to mentors, peer and faculty, if only to have a person, unlike J.D. Vance did, who they can ask a question.

McRaven, N., & Somers, P. (January 2017). Why and How to Globalize a Community CollegeNISOD papers, (6), 1-6.

Main Issues: 

The article brought up a need to be Culturally Competent/Culturally Humble in higher education.  There was a distinction explained between Internationalization and Globalization.  Internationalization was expressed in terms of mobility by students and faculty through exchange programs and study abroad opportunities.  Globalization was expressed as how a student’s experience is enhanced to reflect or enhance consciousness in living in a 21st Century Global World.  Global Competencies were defined as an interest in other cultures; inquisitiveness in learning opportunities; robust comfort with ambiguity; a grounding in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics); and a willingness to withhold negative judgments about unfamiliar situations.  Ultimately, this article asked institutions of higher learning to be critical of their learning outcomes:  How best are we preparing our graduates to compete in, perform in, and impact a Global Society?

Impact to AWC:

Globalizing AWC would lead to the impact of creating a community consciousness that Arizona Western College is a progressive leader with regards to the preparedness of its students to compete in a global economy.  It would require that AWC keep current with global needs and optimizing training that is already offered.  As an institution so specifically geographically situated, AWC is in a unique position of enhanced multiculturalism.  As a result, AWC must then reflect on its current work and ask “What are we, or what aren’t, we doing already?”

Impact to Strategic Planning:

A Globalization of AWC or an integration of Global Competencies can be achieved when starting to incorporate a more global mindset into the Mission, Vision, Values, and Strategic Plan of the institution.  By establishing a foundation that is infused with a need to be more globally mindful, AWC is allowing for the institution to be globalized from the first day of new strategies.  Examples of how to integrate globalization can be seen with Institutional Commitment, Organization, and with Faculty/Curriculum.  What strategies will the institution implement?  How will the budget reflect a more global mindset?  How will the learning experiences of our students reflect a more solidified preparedness with regards to more global society?

Smith, A. A. (January 27, 2017). Coping with Zero in Arizona: Arizona community colleges cope with state disinvestment and declining enrollments. Inside Higher Ed.

Main Issues:  

  • State funding limited and decreasing
  • Need to create locally sustainable programs based on community needs

Impact to AWC:

  • Identify different student populations (traditional, Adult, statewide)
  • Evaluate how our Accuplacer Test is affecting our students’ retention and placement
  • Maximize our ESL Program to bring people from other areas to learn English

Impact to Strategic Planning:

  • Follow a data-driven approach to distribution of funds
  • Create a program to recruit students from around the state

Strategic Planning Task-Force

Classified Faculty PAs
Junior Castro Lee Altman Maria Guzman (SC)
Marcela Castro (DT) Jennie Buoy (SC) Peggy Hayes
Robin Cooper (LP) Peggy Locklear (LP) Wendy Hoag
Eddi Devore Liza Martinez (SC) Sam Hoven
Silvia Kempton Michael Miller Travis Mitchell
Joshua Madden Steve Moore Vanessa Natseway
Carlos Ramos Gary Neumeyer Susan Dempsey
Sandra Rodriguez Fred Croxen Jennifer Tagaban
DT - Downtown Campus | LP - La Paz County (Parker, Quartzsite) | SC - South County (San Luis, Somerton)

Meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 3:00PM-4: 30 PM.

Responsible for Tactical/Framework that:

  • drives the planning process
  • engages the campus in the process
  • gathers and analyzes data
  • creates a shared vision
  • sets short- and long-term goals
  • and develops an implementation plan


January 2017

Kickoff: Workshops with Board, Task Force and President’s Council (DONE)

February 2017

Higher Education Trends reading project
Online SWOT survey - Board and College Community

March 2017

Workshops, Focus Groups, Horizon Event planning (March 1-2)
Community outreach: setting the stage

April 2017

Focus group facilitation training
Horizon Event planning
Host Horizon Event (April 28, 8 am – 1 pm, Yuma with a connection to Parker, San Luis)
Host Horizon Dinner (April 28, evening, San Luis)
Host Horizon Brunch (April 29, morning, Parker)

May 2017

Debrief on Horizon Event
Data-driven Decision Making reading project

August 2017

Scan Team orientation & kickoff
College-wide update (at semester kickoff)
Mission/Vision/Values survey – Board and College Community

September 2017

Values Survey online Scan Team work continues, Impact Statement development, Scan Team Check-in (Sept 21) Mission work completed (District Governing Board)

October 2017

Present Impact Statements (Oct 17) – Scan Teams, Council, Cabinet, Division Chairs, Task Force
Scan to Plan workshop (Oct 17) – Task Force, Council
District Governing Board update: Mission ratified, Vision developed (Oct 17) - DGB
All-College Values Workshop (Oct 18) – open to all

November 2017

Mission Vision Values survey to campus (online) – open to all
Draft Strategy Statements presented (Nov 7) – Task Force, Council, Cabinet, Division Chairs
Call for Innovation Fund Proposals due back (Nov 6) – open to all
Innovation Fund Committee reviews proposals (Nov 10 – 27) - committee
Revised Strategies and Next Level Objectives (Nov 21) - Task Force, Council
Facilitator Orientation for Dec 1 event (possible) - Task Force, Council

December 2017

January 2018

Strategic Plan presentation (Jan 26) - open to all

February 2018

Implementation plan presentation - open to all

CampusWorks, Inc. has been selected as our Strategic Planning Consultant and will guide our process. CampusWorks will provide:

  • Broad, transparent stakeholder engagement (including Focus Groups) and leadership development for our Strategic Planning Task-force
  • Revisit Mission and create shared Vision & Values
  • Collaboratively develop a Strategic Plan that is widely embraced and aligns with budget, enrollment, master plan
  • Co-create signature campus/community Horizon event
  • Co-author a sustainable, authentic implementation plan

For a more comprehensive outline of CampusWorks' responsibilities and the criteria used to evaluate consultant proposals, please see the Scope of Work and Consultant Rubric.

Funding to cover the strategic planning process at Arizona Western College was secured through a one-time signing bonus with a college vendor on campus (Barnes and Noble Bookstore), meaning taxpayer funds and tuition dollars will not be impacted.