Planning for Higher Education Journal

Integrating Board, System, and University Planning and Performance During a Period of Rapidly Declining State Funding Commitment

In 2009 the Arizona University System (supporting over 130,000 enrollments) through its Board of Regents directed its board president and the presidents of Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University to create an operational plan that reflected the board’s vision, goals, and strategic directions. A primary objective was to transform the system (or enterprise) vision into concrete goals and outcomes that would directly connect to financial decision making at the system and university level. The backdrop for higher education planning and budgeting expectations included the continuation of severe reductions in state funding, rapidly increasing student tuition and fees, and a call for greater accountability. The planning processes were characterized by the integration of board and presidential discussions, inclusion of constituent debate, identification of strategic choices, and approval of outcomes focused on measuring performance. The integration ran across and within three organizations or levels that included the Arizona Board of Regents, its system administration, and the three universities.

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