Implementation Process

Strategic Planning

The purpose of Strategic Planning is to shape the future of DCU by creating high level goals within specific design principles.

Resource constraints and a dynamic national and global environment necessitate thoughtful, strategic thinking to be embedded in the decision-making process of our university, at all levels.

Specifically, the purpose of Strategic Planning is to:

  • Help people define the institution and its priority projects over the coming years
  • Create a directional document, to guide while not limiting future opportunities
  • Enable the University to align financial and human resources to Core Principles, and
  • Provide a mechanism to continually support, foster and develop excellence in areas such as teaching, learning, research and innovation, enterprise and engagement.

To succeed, strategic plans must be operationalised by Faculties, Schools and Units and integrated into annual operating plans, budgets, agendas and day-to-day behaviours.

Strategic Planning in the higher education sector is a legal and regulatory necessity. The 1997 Universities Act requires all Irish universities to have a strategic plan. 

Rolling Strategic Planning Model

In a significant departure from previous models of strategic planning at universities, the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan involves an approach to planning and implementation known as a Rolling Planning System.

A rolling approach to planning provides DCU with an opportunity to be flexible and responsive to the dynamic national and global environment. Our strategic planning process will involve continuous assessment of the Strategic Projects’ progress towards achieving DCU’s Vision, while simultaneously taking account of changes in the environment in which it operates.

Through a range of internal and external analysis tools, the Strategic Planning & Institutional Research Office will provide a range of information to assist evidence-based decision-making with regards to the monitoring of progress of the Strategic Projects.

The Office will assist the Senior Management Group in performing an annual review and critical evaluation of the delivery, impact and relevance of its current Strategic Projects. This review will include a detailed analysis of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that characterise our ambitious targets. The annual ‘review and renew’ process will continue over the five-year duration of the 2017-2022 plan.

The Rolling Planning System will enable us to revise and develop our Core Principles, where necessary, while maintaining a focus on our stated strategic Mission, Vision and Values. This approach will enable DCU to be responsive to emerging opportunities, and alert to uncertainty in our environment, especially in the funding context.

This rolling planning system reflects the unprecedented degree of uncertainty facing the University, our sector, region and State.

The approach will allow us incorporate elements of ‘emergent strategy’ into the traditional ‘strategy as plan’ model. The Rolling Strategic Plan will ensure that DCU will, each year, have an up-to-date plan for the coming five years based on current analysis of our environment, needs and opportunities.