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Program design-collaboration Essay

This paper will discuss how a local university should collaborate with an art college to offer a joint art therapy program. This paper will focus on the importance of involvement of all campus units in the process of collaboration, starting with deans and ending with student affairs. The process of collaboration should involve several stages, namely pre-planning, planning, benchmarking, estimating and allocating resources, assigning responsibilities, training, implementing the plan, evaluating the success of the plan’s implementation and taking appropriate corrective actions.

It is necessary to mention, however, that different departments will be involved to a different extent depending on the stage of the project, yet coherent action by all stakeholders in a prerequisite for the project’s success. Pre-Planning At this stage, objectives that must be achieved by the project should be carefully outlined. The main actors at this stage are trustees and academic deans. Boards of Trustees, as bodies responsible for management and control of property and affairs of an educational institution, are charged with taking all the major decisions; however, close consultations with senior faculty members are also advisable.

Since the program is believed to be ‘need’ area in the sate, planner should ensure that the project is in the best interests of the public and the government. Therefore, state officials should be invited to participate actively in the pre-planning and goal-setting process. Same applies to the concerned members of the public: they should be given an opportunity to both contribute to and monitor the pre-planning process. Minutes of the meeting should be made public and circulated widely.

Therefore, public relations department should be involved at this stage, too: it has the responsibility to inform all the stakeholders and the public about the planning process and invite their participation and feedback. Planning At this stage, a strategic plan should be elaborated. Here the main actors should be academic deans, faulty, facilities and planning, budgeting, human resources, and student affairs. A strategic plan should encompass mission, vision, and goals of the project. There are a lot of useful models that can be borrowed from marketing in order to make this collaboration endeavor a success.

For instance, the SOSTAC Model assists in creating a detailed, controllable, and measurable action plan (BSA Marketing 2008). The elements of the SOSTAC Model include Situation Analysis, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, and Control. Situation Analysis answers the question ‘Where are we now? ’ with particular attention to the organization’s performance, organization’s advantages and positioning, customer profile, channels for communication and distribution, and possible uncontrollable events or trends that may affect the organization’s operations.

Objectives encompass an answer to the question ‘Where do we want to go? in the light of examining the organization’s mission and vision. Strategy section answers the question ‘How do we get there? ’. Tactics answer the question ‘What tools do we use to implement the strategy? ’ and defines tools to be used, the ways to use these tools, messages that the organization wants to communicate, consistency across different tools and messages, and necessary resources or budgets. Action Plan for each tool or tactic specifies persons/entities in charge for implementing every action, timeline for implementation, resource allocation for each action, and key performance measurements.

Control section concludes the plan with answering the question ‘How do we track our progress and know when we have achieved our goals? ’ with an examination of whether performance measurements relate to objectives, persons/entities responsible for measurement, frequency of measurement, resources for measurement, review of measurements, and actions on variance (BSA Marketing 2008). Benchmarking At this stage, facilities and planning should conduct research on the most successful examples of collaboration between educational institutions.

Perhaps the most large-scale and successful project in the sphere of collaboration between institutions of higher education is Erasmus Mundus project, funded by the European Commission. It design is as follows: ‘The Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses are high-quality integrated study programmes at masters level offered by a consortium involving a minimum of three universities in at least three different European countries. Students have to study in at least two of the three universities and obtain a recognised double or joint degree upon graduation’ (European Commission, 2008, ‘Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses’).

The results of the research should be reported to the deans and trustees with a view of incorporating best practices on the implementation stage. Estimating and Allocating Resources This is the stage when all the departments should be actively involved. While facilities and planning department is the main actor at this stage, continuous oversight from all other bodies is necessary. Budget and finance department should ensure that the planning department is allocating available financial resources wisely, while human resources department should fulfill the same role with regard to allocation of human resources. Assigning Responsibilities

While the main actor at this stage is human resources department, all other departments should have a voice regarding tasks and responsibilities that are delegated to them. Task analysis should be the foundation of tasks distribution. There are different classifications of task analysis techniques. One classification, as suggested by Embrey (2000), divides the general methods of task analysis into Action Oriented (Hierarchical Task Analysis, Operator Action Event Trees, Decision/Action Flow Diagrams) and Cognitive Techniques (Critical Action and Decision Evaluation Technique, Influence Modelling and Assessment Systems).

Given the bureaucratic settings of the education institution, Action Oriented techniques would be the most appropriate: it is of great use to break each task down into several sub-operations, specify the conditions which are necessary to undertake these operations, and investigate how these operations help to achieve the overall goal. Safety and health department together with legal services should ensure that responsibilities are allocated in accordance with all legal provisions. Training At this stage, human resources department still plays a major role. Training should be guided by certain objectives.

Mager (2000) suggests that an effective training objective should meet three basic criteria. A training objective should include the following components: behavior, condition and standard. Behavior is something specific and observable. This is a prerequisite for a qualified assessment of mastery of necessary skills. Identifying certain observable behaviors translates into learner expectancy being achieved. Condition means the circumstances, in which the behavior should be achieved, stating all the necessary tools, technology, or external assistance needed to complete the behavior.

It should also specify the environment, in which the behavior is expected to happen. Standard the desired level of performance, with an indication of the number of mistakes tat can be made. Implementation Actual implementation of the plan requires the most careful coordination between all the departments. While technical department might play the leading role, facilities and planning department should assist actively. Faculty members and student affairs are responsible for the actual implementation and success of the plan, with the oversight of the deans, trustees, legal affairs, and budgeting department. Evaluation

It is of paramount importance to monitor the progress, since if there is a possibility of a failure to achieve strategic objectives, the organization should carefully reconsider its goals and tactics. In order to monitor progress, it is necessary to compare planned performance with actual performance, and calculate variance, i. e. difference in the levels of planned and actual performance (Weber, 2000; Kerzner, 2005). Each department should evaluate its own efficiency and make necessary amendments. The result of the evaluation should be reported to the deans and trustees as well as to the public through public relations department.


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