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CESL seeks feedback on new strategic plan

building with sign

Front of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning

The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CESL) is currently seeking campus and community input on a draft of the center’s new strategic plan. Feedback can be submitted electronically through a survey or in-person at an open forum session.

Two open forum sessions will be held at the center (300 W. North St., Normal), each lasting approximately one hour:

  • Monday, March 2, 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 3, 11:30 a.m.

The deadline to submit feedback through the online survey is March 20.

“We are inviting feedback from students, faculty, staff, and community partners because civic engagement relies on building partnerships,” said Dr. Katy Strzepek, CESL director. “While the strategic plan focuses on the center, the goals within it reflect the broader mission of the University to promote public service and to serve the citizens of Illinois and beyond.”

Harriett Steinbach, assistant director at CESL, led staff members through the creation of the draft strategic plan prior to Strzepek joining the team in early February. “It is important for all organizations and departments to have a strategic plan to guide in decision making, annual planning, and resource allocation,” Steinbach said. “It was especially important for CESL because we are tasked with supporting and advancing the University’s core value of civic engagement which extends far beyond the direct work of our staff.”

In creating the draft plan, CESL staff reviewed a wide variety of University documents, including the University’s strategic plan, each college’s strategic plan, the Division of Student Affairs’ strategic plan, University civic engagement documents, and reports prepared between 2014 and 2017. CESL staff also reviewed several documents from external organizations to note best practices and trends in civic engagement within higher education.

Literature and data review took place in the summer and fall of 2019. Key stakeholders, including community partners, provided input through an online, open-ended survey in September. CESL staff then took all of that information into consideration when drafting the strategic plan in late fall and winter. Feedback will be gathered on the draft plan through March 20. At that point, CESL staff will revise the plan as appropriate, and it will go into effect with the new fiscal year on July 1.

“This feedback stage is vital,” said Strzepek. “We want to ensure that our plan includes the voices of individuals and groups we collaborate with because, as we know from our successful application for the Carnegie Foundation’s Elective Community Engagement Classification, community engagement must be based on mutual respect and the co-creation of knowledge and goals. By building our plan on this feedback, we elevate our core value of civic engagement across our institution and in the communities around the world where our graduates live and work.”