Introducing the SRS Method for Mission Review and Strategy Development in Colleges and Universities [Video]

Developing strategy is a delicate and reflective process. Six interactive framing concepts help to shape strategy in higher education. The SRS Method is designed to provide a point of reference for the discussion of the six concepts. The SRS Pyramid depicts the schematic outlining a formal method for reviewing a mission statement and developing strategy in colleges and universities.

The SRS Pyramid frames seven interactive constructs built around and reflective of mission that shape an institution’s vision, focus its strategies, and achieve its position in the broadest global learning sphere. The SRS Pyramid recognizes that mission defines the role of an Institution within its defined sphere of influence. It is designed to provide a common reference point for structured dialog regarding each of the seven concepts and the relationships they have to mission and its fulfillment.

Dialogue begins with mission at the base of the pyramid and is directed right for a discussion of the Sphere of influence and left to illuminate the Role or roles played in that sphere or spheres. An institution’s or entity’s (school, college, department, program) sphere is defined by its geographic reach, competitive and collaborative contexts, and the communities of practice that influence or are influenced by the entity. The role of the entity – its purpose and function – within its sphere is defined by its mission. Environmental scanning and analysis (e.g., SWOT, GAP or other situational analyses) evaluate changes within the sphere for their impact on mission and role. As Sphere, Mission, and Role conditions and interactions are understood; strategists, planners, and constituents can invest in the creative process of determining a Vision for the future. Strategies are then developed to enable the vision. When implemented, the strategies modify and sustain an entity’s Strategic Position within its sphere of influence. In summary, Mission defines Sphere and Role, Vision relates Role to Strategy, Strategy redefines Strategic Position within and organizations Sphere of influence.

SRS Pyramid (Diagram)

The Sphere of an entity is defined by its geographic reach, competitive and collaborative organizations, subjects, disciplines, and communities of practice influenced by; and whose influence is exerted on the strategic entity. Each strategic entity is defined by its mission within a sphere that defines its role (purpose and function) within the sphere. Environmental scanning and analysis (often referred to as a SWOT Analysis for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) inform and evaluate changes within the sphere and how they impact mission and role. Environmental scanning without an analysis is a waste of time.

Once the Sphere, Mission, Role conditions and interaction are understood strategists, planners and constituents invest in the creative process of determining a vision of the future in which strengths are sustained or enhanced, weaknesses are addressed, opportunities are capitalized on and threats are mitigated. Strategies are then developed to enable the entity to realize its vision. When implemented the strategies modify and sustain the entities strategic position in its sphere of influence.

At the center of the pyramid lies the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework (LCCF) providing a conceptual structure to guide dialog and inquiry about curriculum. It frames curriculum in its broadest strategic context and provides a framework for the design, implementation, and evaluation of curriculum within the broader context of institutional mission, vision, and strategy. The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework, help unravel and clarify the complexities of translating mission, vision, and strategic position into effective curriculum as mapped across seven interlocking constructs:

  1. Learner Populations;
  2. Learner Objectives;
  3. Learning Provider Models;
  4. Learning Theory and Methods;
  5. Curriculum Architecture;
  6. Curriculum Configurations; and
  7. Learner Support Services

These constructs are, in turn, decoded or operationalized through seven learner-centered questions. When asked and answered, the questions are ideal for building, improving, and sustaining design integrity across curricular elements and guiding a wide array of institutional internal and external alignments.

The Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework is a tool that helps frame strategic dialog and analysis around the principles and practices of the concept learner-centered academic environments. This article describes the seven learner-centered questions that emanate from the Learner-Centered Curriculum Framework and  help frame a basic enrollment management perspective useful for strategic enrollment management professionals when they dialog with academics. The table below can be printed and guide deeper insight into the options revealed through each question.

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