Planning for the future: Leadership Alliance Hosts Strategy Retreat

Facilitator, Sharon Collins provides instructions for group activities at the Strategy Retreat in Chicago, IL

Leveraging Collective Expertise

On April 26-28, 2019, we convened faculty, program administrators, industry scientists, government researchers and leaders from non-profit organizations at our first ever Strategy Retreat. During this event, we charged them to work together to develop outcomes and initiatives for the next strategic plan for the Leadership Alliance.  Through the process of Appreciative Inquiry, these stakeholders built a draft strategic plan, which will lead us to realize our vision to accelerate the diversification of the research workforce through sustainable collaborations and thought leadership on inclusive excellence.

The plan focuses on four goals to move the Leadership Alliance forward:

  1. Develop regional, organizational networks to promote awareness of academic and professional development opportunities
  2. Expand programs and resources to ensure seamless education and career transitions
  3. Build strategic national and international partnerships to accelerate the development of a diverse and inclusive research workforce
  4. Leverage the collective knowledge of the Alliance to advance national discussions on research workforce diversification.
Figure 1. Summary of the vision, goals, and outcomes that will be incorporated into the strategic plan.

At the strategy retreat, participants worked together in a generative process that allowed for ideas from multiple perspectives to be refined through group discussion to create outcomes for each goal (Figure 1). The strategic plan development will continue through the summer, with committees creating operational plans based on the ideas from the strategy retreat. We will continue to post updates at our strategic planning website.

Learn more about how we gathered input from over 150 stakeholders act listening sessions across the country.

Strategic Planning Website

Building on a Decade of Distinction

Since 2010, we have been guided by our ten-year strategic plan, A Decade of Distinction. This plan set goals to expand the summer research opportunities, develop data infrastructure to support systematic outcomes and evaluation reporting, and to build the visibility of the consortium. We have met and exceeded these goals thanks to our dedicated partners who are committed to our success. Take a moment to review our progress below.

Capturing the Spirit of Collaboration

The Appreciative Inquiry process calls for group discussions, idea refinement, and consensus building. Below are a few photos from the strategy retreat that capture the collaborative spirit of the event.

The Leadership Alliance would like to thank Nancy Schwartz, Regina Dixon Reeves, and Laurie Risner, our colleagues from the University of Chicago who assisted us with logistics throughout the weekend. We also extend our deepest appreciation to everyone who shared their ideas to help us build the foundation of our strategic plan. View the full list of participants.

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