The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan – Chapter I

  • Institutional Context

The International University of Grand-Bassam was formally chartered by a Presidential Decree in 2007 with the intent to create a regional center of excellence for higher education in Côte d’Ivoire that emulates the American model and that offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

IUGB’s first Strategic Business Plan covered the period 2011-2015. This plan set ambitious goals – the delivery of high quality, market-driven education and the establishment of exemplary governance while honoring diversity, aspiring to financial stability, weaving a fruitful partnership network, and being of service to its surrounding community.  The University made significant progress toward these goals over the planning period. IUGB is gaining a reputation for the high quality of its graduates and has established partnerships with universities in the U.S. and Africa.  The University’s enrollment has grown from eight students in January 2005, to 664 students in February 2017.

Meanwhile Côte d’Ivoire has emphatically urged its higher education system to produce a labor force with the skills necessary to sustain its goal of attaining emerging-economy status by 2020. In that context, the country has begun to implement reforms that specifically address the quality and relevance of public higher education. Educational institutions are being asked to offer high-quality, market-driven education that prepares students for employment and that will serve goals of good governance and accountability in both the public and private sector.

This Strategic Plan seeks to consolidate the achievements of the previous plan and to reach new heights in educational quality and excellence. Therefore, this plan reaffirms IUGB’s commitment to: (1) Adhering to key core values and strategic goals, especially those related to the governance of the institution; (2) Pursuing student, faculty and staff diversity; (3) Achieving US accreditation; (4) Expanding infrastructure to respond to increasing demand; and (5) Reinforcing its community engagement in Grand-Bassam and beyond.

 

  • Strategic Planning for 2016-2020: Premise and Process

The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan has been constructed through a participatory, bottom-up process. It has involved a diverse array of stakeholders, and we ensured that those stakeholders responsible for implementing the plan (here called “process-owners” – see Section B in Chapter III) participated in formulating the key performance indicators or “KPIs” (see the Results-Based Logical Framework).

Furthermore, we actively solicited the feedback and endorsement of our Board of Directors concerning the Results-Based Logical Framework, the central feature around which the plan has been developed.

Finally, the driving vision and mission statements of the plan, though still being discussed and refined, are now widely disseminated throughout the campus.

The preparation of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan began by conducting a thorough analysis with the key stakeholders of IUGB.  The analysis entailed a series of structured brainstorming sessions on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of IUGB, following a review of the University’s major achievements and challenges since its founding. The first brainstorming session was conducted by senior management and was facilitated by the consulting team. Senior management then submitted the results of this session to a wider audience of faculty, staff, students and the Board of Directors for validation, refinement, and additional contributions. The product of these consultations, finalized and accepted as the university’s SWOT, is presented below and served as a major guide in determining, or confirming, the overarching goals and strategic objectives of this plan. It also defined and prioritized the activities to be undertaken during the planning period.

  • SWOT Analysis — An Analysis of IUGB’s Current Situation

 The SWOT analysis identified 10 strengths, 10 weaknesses, 8 opportunities, and 4 threats as summarized below. A full presentation of its conclusions is included in Annex 3.

            The Strengths and Promising Opportunities for IUGB.

To most of the interviewed observers and stakeholders of IUGB, the strength of the University resides unequivocally in the unique education it offers to francophone West Africa — one that is taught in English. The respondents also value the fact that IUGB has anchored its quest for quality education on the standards and criteria of the American higher education system. Further, the IUGB faculty and staff understand that they serve in a student-centered environment. IUGB has implemented a comprehensive annual evaluation system for faculty, staff and students to judge its success and provide data for continuous improvement. Finally, our University is being proactive and flexible to ensure its continuity and to insulate itself from major external disturbances.

In addition to leveraging the above strengths, we also plan to fully capitalize on promising opportunities open to IUGB. These opportunities relate to our growing network of international academic partners, which enhances the prospects of IUGB’s engagement in exchange programs with reputable universities. As an American-style university, IUGB is considered an avant-garde model institution both in Côte d’Ivoire and in other countries of francophone West Africa that are seeking to reform their higher education systems.  IUGB has, moreover, made ample provision for growth, with construction on its new campus slated to begin in 2018. This prime new location features unobstructed access to the vibrant economic capital city of Abidjan, the Félix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport, and an international highway network. This campus will help position IUGB to become a regional platform for gaining and sharing global knowledge, as well as encouraging innovation and educational exchange programs.

Most importantly, there is the potential to enlarge the University’s service to emerging regional economies, (including, of course, Côte d’Ivoire), with their burgeoning demands for professionally trained labor forces. IUGB is producing bilingual, employment-ready graduates, some of whom have already been exposed, during their university education, to international institutions or companies (such as the U.S. Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, General Electric, Citibank, Exxon-Mobil, Bank of Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Conseil Café-Cacao[1], and others) through internships or co-operative educational work opportunities and part-time employment.

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[1] The Coffee and Cocoa Board
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IUGB’s Challenges

IUGB has suffered from normal “teething” pains as it pursues a fast-track strategic agenda towards achieving international distinction. One such challenge is that not all our administrative and support staff have the necessary mastery of English, and some of them do not possess required professional competency levels. Another significant challenge is insufficient internal communication mechanisms, not only for the promulgation of rules and regulations but also for sharing the institution’s vision and strategic objectives. Systems must be put in place to more effectively disseminate information below senior management.

 The SWOT analysis informed the vision, mission and goals of the Strategic Plan as described below.

  • Vision, Mission, Core Values and Governing Principles

Excellent institutions have a shared vision, a self-determined mission, a set of core values and guiding principles that chart their course. Ours are the following.

Vision

IUGB strives to become an internationally accredited regional higher education center of excellence. It will be a university that:

  • Trains talented leaders for Africa’s transformation;
  • Offers a learning environment in support of student creativity and success;
  • Provides fulfilling opportunities for faculty and staff; and
  • Engages in global partnerships to advance knowledge and universal well-being.

Mission

The mission of IUGB, as an American-style nonprofit, student-centered institution striving for international distinction, is to deliver an English-language higher education in fields critical to Côte d’Ivoire and Côte d’Ivoire’s and West Africa’s growth and development.

Core Values and Governing Principles

Critical core values and governing principles, which include caring, ethical behavior, equal opportunity, gender equality, environmental consciousness and lifelong learning, underpin the University’s teaching, research and service activities to produce the innovative, entrepreneurial, and socially responsible leaders that are helping to make IUGB an exemplary institution in the Ivorian tertiary education landscape. These values lead to activities that prominently include:

  • Maintaining the University as a not-for-profit, student-centered institution;
  • Pursuing financial and administrative autonomy and accountability;
  • Guiding growth and development through strategic planning;
  • Seeking quality assurance by accepting US accreditation standards;
  • Fostering a culture of continuous improvement and evaluation;
  • Creating an environmentally sensitive and sustainable institution;
  • Developing a general education curriculum that foster critical thinking, cultural awareness, community engagement and lifelong learning to produce well-rounded graduates; and
  • Preparing high school students to undertake university studies in a US-style institution.

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