SPOL contract renewed to increase system goal alignment with all ND institutions

September 15, 2017

The North Dakota University System has renewed its contract with Strategic Planning Online software at the end of July in an effort to continue the progress of alignment of campus and president goals with the overall strategic plan of the university system.

NDUS purchased this cloud-based strategic planning software when the new strategic plan launched in 2015. The contract renewal for three years will be $50,000 per year for the system. If each institution purchased their own similar service at $20,000 per institution, the total cost would be approximately $220,000 per year. By sharing the service as a unified system, the cost savings over the three years is more than half a million dollars.

NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott said, “SPOL plays an integral part is our commitment to continuous improvement within the NDUS strategic plan.” He said SPOL was purchased to help address the Higher Learning Commission’s direction to ensure that each institution work systematically to improve its performance. HLC requires that the institution develops and documents evidence of performance in its operations.

“In our supporting material as well as in our discussions with HLC, we showcased SPOL as one of the tools we are using to meet these requirements. We know it made an impression and that it is a valuable part of our strategizing a successful future that meets the demands of our students and our workforce,” said Hagerott.

“As part of our commitment to the State Board of Higher Education and its goals for the system, it was determined that SPOL technology would be implemented and used to track clear metrics of success. The program has done that for us and we continue to focus the system for continued development and shared services and goal-oriented metric,” said Ryan Jockers, NDUS Institutional and Strategic Analytics Coordinator.

After utilizing SPOL for three years, the North Dakota University System has seen improvements in its strategic planning process because all institutions can be aligned on one system. The ability to engage stakeholders within the NDUS has increased as SPOL allows all 11 institutions to align their goals to the NDUS Strategic Plan, all in one central location.

SPOL also provides the framework to conduct their own internal strategic planning implementation, where progress can be documented and analyzed. Multiple institutions have utilized this feature, and are using SPOL to create a culture of effective strategic engagement.

As NDUS institutions progress through their strategic initiatives, SPOL has allowed for the discovery of efficiencies between institutions. NDUS Strategic goal four calls for the system to “Maximize Strengths of a Unified System.” SPOL uses reports related to identify cross-institutional initiatives, which creates opportunity for collaboration and shared services among the institutions.

Examples of assessment and accreditation efficiencies resulting from SPOL include:

  • Dakota Nursing Program (DNP):

–      A nursing education consortium made possible through the collaborative efforts of four state colleges: BSC, LRSC, DCB, and WSC

–      The DNP has chosen to place their entire assessment/accreditation process into Strategic Planning Online (SPOL)

–      Furthers the idea of a holistic strategic planning environment, and provides the ability to link the planning processes of the four institutions to assessment outcomes

–      Training and full implementation of assessment module completed in May 2017

–      Planned implementation of accreditation module in Fall 2017


“Students throughout the North Dakota University System will benefit as the institutions not only align their goals with the system, but begin to discover the cross institutional initiatives that can be streamlined, which then creates efficiencies to provide a more positive student experience within the system. SPOL allows for the discovery of these types of initiatives almost instantaneously. Without a centralized process this would be very difficult to accomplish,” said Jockers.

For more information: http://spol.com/2017/08/18/spol-implementation-moving-forward/.