Strategic Planning Overview - University of Houston
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Strategic Planning

The 2022-2023 academic year was a significant moment for the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design as our students, faculty, staff, and alumni engaged in a year-long strategic planning process destined to identify our collective aspirations and provide a path forward toward reaching our goals. The process brought together the entire College community in an organized and intentional framework, ensuring everyone had a voice in our College’s future.

The strategic planning process was facilitated by Gensler's Jim Oswald (Senior Business and Organizational Strategist) and Maria Edmundson (Strategist). Oswald has decades of experience strategizing with organizations throughout the country, including Apple, Microsoft, NASA, Stages Houston, the University of Houston, and more. 

Explore this strategic planning website to learn about our College's process, final framework, and the academic programs' action plans.

Why Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning is an opportunity for organizations to come together to align priorities and resources for a specific period of time in order to establish a set of goals. A strategic plan's development and eventual implementation is no small or individual task. It requires commitment, contributions, and a visionary mindset from all organizational stakeholders. The Hines College's former strategic plan covered 2016 - 2021. Check out the University of Houston's current strategic plan.

The Process

Strategic planning involved various levels of leadership and involvement, as well as purposeful events and meetings with various constituencies. Throughout this process, all Hines College community members, not just appointed working group members, had opportunities to participate in open house events, student focus groups, and faculty work sessions to provide feedback. The opportunities allowed the Hines College community to learn more about the progress of the strategic planning process. More importantly, various College stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni, could participate in critical conversations and share their opinions, comments, concerns, and suggestions to catalyze the College’s path forward with collective ownership and a shared sense of responsibility with a common goal for success.

Our Facilitators

Jim Oswald

Jim Oswald is a strategic planner and facilitator with Gensler who brings nearly 30 years of experience in designing, managing, and facilitating strategic visioning, planning, programming, communication and community outreach programs for a wide range of public, private, non-profit and institutional clients throughout the country. In Houston, Jim has recently completed strategy work with Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Performing Arts Houston, and Stages Theater and works with Space Center Houston on an on-going basis.

Through the years, Jim has refined and developed his own style of a meeting management technique often referred to as “facilitation graphics.” This technique fuses leadership, discussion management and facilitation skills with large scale, “mural-like” graphic note-taking. This approach enhances participants’ ability to better communicate overarching visions, values, and beliefs and more efficiently and effectively identify and recognize the linkage between goals, issues, and strategies and potential solutions.

Maria Edmundson

Maria Edmundson is a strategist for Gensler, working alongside organizations to develop strategic solutions and impactful interventions deeply aligned with their needs, culture, and vision. Her work in strategic planning, community engagement, and facilitation is informed by engagement with a broad range of clients as well as her background in the performing arts.

The Final Strategic Planning Summary

While our website documents the process, final framework, and 2023-2024 action plans, the summary below gives an overview of the College's entire process.

View the Final Strategic Planning Summary

Working Group