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Strategic Planning Process 2021-2023

Our strategic planning process began with a new University Librarian, Jeehyun Davis, joining American University in July of 2021 and ended with the finalization of our strategic plan in July 2023. This process was inclusive, open, and grassroots to ensure that our IDEA values were centered in both the process and final plan. Our two-year strategic plan development process comprised five stages: organizational review, leadership retreats, organizational analysis, stakeholder engagement, and plan development. Each of the five stages is detailed below.

University Library Strategic Planning Timeline
  1. Organizational Review (August 2021 - November 2021): As the new University Librarian, Jeehyun Davis met face-to-face with 85% of staff and faculty about their work and experience at AU while the remaining 15% communicated over email as desired. This stage grounded the University Librarian in the American University Library’s operations, culture, climate, strengths, and points of growth. This step led to the first Leadership Retreat in December 2021.
  2. Leadership Retreats (December 2021 - March 2022): During the first retreat in December 2021, the Library Leadership Team focused on an assessment of the Library’s operations, services, and programs, in addition to an environment scan and a comprehensive organizational review. The group discussed and identified the professional trends and developments within each functional area, the opportunities and challenges of each department, and the culture of the University Library.

    During the second retreat in March 2022, the Library Leadership Team and two invited campus experts, Geralynn Franceschini, Executive Director of Strategic Implementation, and Katherine Simpson, Senior Director of Talent Strategies, designed a framework for the Library’s strategic planning process. In this retreat, the members discussed the definition and purpose of developing mission, vision, and values statements for an organization, conducted a SWOT analysis for the University Library, identified major stakeholders, and drafted a planning timeline.

  3. Launch of Strategic Planning and Organizational Analysis (April 2022 - July 2022): In April 2022, the University Librarian officially announced the launch of strategic planning. During this stage, all staff and faculty worked together at the departmental level to complete departmental and Library-wide SWOT analyses and to discuss what the University Library’s mission, vision, and values were and should be. With this opportunity, staff, faculty, and managers came together and shared their organizational reflections, experiences, and passions. The MVV statements were finalized by members of the Core Strategic Planning Team in July 2022.
  4. Stakeholder Engagement (August 2022 - December 2022): During this stage, 20 library staff/faculty conducted over 30 focus groups with key stakeholder groups including: undergraduate students, both in-person and online graduate students, adjunct faculty, term/tenured faculty, and university administration. Additionally, student feedback was gathered through a public freeform survey in the Library’s lobby, yielding 150 unique responses. During this stage, internal feedback was also collected via an external facilitator.
  5. Plan Development (January 2023 - June 2023): With the conclusion of stage four, the hundreds of internal and external responses were analyzed, processed, shared, and discussed in January 2023 and the analysis informed plan writing. In March 2023, the Library Leadership Team had two retreats where stakeholder, departmental, and leadership ideas and feedback were discussed, sorted, and refined into four themes with goals and objectives under each theme. The feedback, revision, and refinement process continued through May 2023, with the plan being finalized in June of 2023.

Core Strategic Planning Team

The core strategic planning team, comprised primarily of the Library Leadership Team, was responsible for:

  • Developing a framework for strategic planning process including collecting feedback and conducting an assessment
  • Organizing and analyzing stakeholder feedback
  • Discussing, organizing, and drafting strategic plan language
  • Developing active implementation and assessment plans
  • Providing timely and transparent communication on strategic planning progress

Library Leadership Team

Jeehyun Davis, University Librarian

Robert Kelshian, Director of Discovery, Access, and Assessment

Michele Mikkelsen, Director of Administrative Services

Alayne Mundt, Director of Technical Services

Michael Piller, Senior Director of Academic Technology

Gwendolyn Reece, Director of Research, Teaching, and Learning

Nicole Weaver, Chief Development Officer

Claire Young, Special Assistant to the University Librarian

Key Library Personnel

Melissa Becher, Associate Director of Research, Teaching, and Learning

Leslie Nellis, Head Archivist for Special Collections and Digital Initiatives

Liam Toohey, Library Systems and Assessment Administrator