The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan – Chapter II


IUGB of the Future — The Strategic Plan

This strategic plan comes at a critical juncture in the history of IUGB. After consolidating its achievements of the past, there has come a time for the University to embrace new opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire and the West Africa region. IUGB can now expand its capacity to contribute to the region’s human capital development. In this chapter, we present our plan’s six overarching goals, strategic objectives (SOs), key results to be achieved and the metrics of the plan’s implementation. The pathway to our goals will be marked out by four high priority initiatives to be undertaken before the end of the strategic planning period. A detailed Results-Based Logical Framework for assessing progress is presented in Annex 2.

  1. Overarching Goals and Strategic Objectives for the 2020 Horizon

IUGB’s First Scholarship Winners (from L-R): IUGB Foundation Executive Director Ambassador John F. Hicks, Aisha Alatishe, Kenanile Olivia Marie-France Bigba, Adrien Agniman-Annan Emmanuel Cedric Agui Eboi, Agnaman Kouassi Henry Franck Amoikon,
Ambassador Alice M. Dear

 

Goal 1: Growing Student Enrollment. Two strategic objectives will be pursued to reach the goal of boosting student enrollment: (1) Undertaking yearly local and regional recruitment campaigns; and (2) Intensifying promotional and marketing activities to enhance the visibility of the IUGB brand.

SO 1: Increasing and Diversifying the Student Population. The steady-state student population we are aiming for is 10,00o in the long run. We will increase student enrollment and further diversify the student body by recruiting more international students and giving special emphasis to the recruitment of women, especially for the STEM disciplines. By 2020, we expect at least 20 percent of our student population to be comprised of international students, up from the current 13 percent. Furthermore, we will aim at gender parity in overall enrollment with a goal of at least one woman out of every two students majoring in STEM disciplines by 2020.

Increasing enrollment requires facilitating registration and application processing. By 2020, all applications for admission will be submitted online, up from only 20 percent currently.

SO 2: Enhancing IUGB’s Image.  We intend to constantly project an image of IUGB consistent with the University’s stated vision, mission and core values.  This will be done through broad, sustained promotion campaigns including public service announcements broadcast on national media. At the end of the current planning period, we expect IUGB to be a household name for quality education in Côte d’Ivoire and beyond, and to be a magnet for prospective students and their parents.


Goal 2: Infrastructure Development. For IUGB to be a reach achieve world class status, the current campus, inter alia, needs to be expanded and its facilities must be upgraded.

SO 3: Expansion of Facilities. With Fall 2016 enrollment at 648 students, the University is running out of space. To address this immediate, short-term space need, we will construct new academic and residential buildings on our current, temporary campus to accommodate 150 additional students. In 2017, IUGB also will look to the future by developing its first long-term (20 year) development Master Plan.  A constituent piece of this Master Plan will be an infrastructure plan that lays out our long-term requirements for a new campus to be constructed on the University’s 60-hectare (148 acre) site in Grand-Bassam. By 2020, we expect to complete construction of facilities that can accommodate 1,500 students.

SO 4: Upgrading Facilities. Following our IT development plan, we expect all buildings, including administration and facilities for teaching and research, to feature cutting-edge and environmentally friendly technology. Specifically, by 2020, we plan to have installed audio-visual equipment in all classrooms and laboratories, to have increased the number of computers (thereby reducing the current student-to-computer ratio from 8:1 to 3:1), plus having acquired new library books to reach a total of 5,000 volumes.


Goal 3: Financial Stability and Diversification of Funding Sources. The Government of Côte d’Ivoire is currently the only significant source of external funding for IUGB, typically contributing 40 percent of budget revenue. Internal sources of revenue are tuition and mandatory fees, plus housing and food-service income. For the financial stability of IUGB’s operations in the long run, we will continue to judiciously use available resources while we seek other dependable income sources.

 SO 5: Good Stewardship. We will ensure that expenses are in balance with available resources. Therefore, we plan to reduce the expense-to-own-resource ratio from over 1.50 to 1.35 by 2020. Likewise, we plan to reduce the receivable ratio close to zero.

SO 6: Diversification of Funding Sources. By tapping new sources of revenues and getting the most from direct finance, our goal is to hold the State of Côte d’Ivoire share of IUGB financing to less than 20 percent by 2020.

To reach this target, we will aggressively pursue fundraising to attract donations and grants both locally and internationally. Continuing education has lately been providing an increasing, albeit still small, stream of income to the University. By 2020, with the provision of adequate physical facilities and equipment, we expect the program to contribute no less than 250 million CFA (US$ 400,000), up from an estimated 190 million CFA (US$ 340,000) in 2016.


Goal 4: Internationalization of IUGB. Born from an international cooperation project and sustained by a tradition of faculty and student exchanges, the further internationalization of IUGB is a logical goal. It helps students develop intercultural competence in addition to strengthening their academic skills, and is a must in today’s highly competitive global labor market. We intend to reach the goal not only through student and faculty international mobility but also locally, by including international perspectives in IUGB’s teaching, research and services.

SO 7: Increase Integration of International Perspectives into Teaching and Research.  More specifically, we aim to accomplish this by:

  • A tenfold increase in IUGB-authored papers in peer-reviewed journals;
  • At least eight new partnership MOUs (tripling the current four);
  • Doubling the number of faculty participating in exchange programs abroad from 10 to 20;
  • Increasing the number of students participating in exchange programs abroad from 1 to 30;
  • Hosting at least 10 international exchange students at IUGB from the current level of none.


Goal 5: Institutional US Accreditation. The rationale for seeking institutional US accreditation is self-evident for a university that emulates an American higher education model. Accreditation will help increase and maintain the highest standards in teaching, research, and governance. A reputable external body certifying the quality of IUGB’s education will further validate IUGB’s program for the public, for potential donors, for other higher education institutions and for our students. It will thus enhance our marketability.


SO 8: Implement Sound Governance Principles. To live up to our core values and principles of accountability, we must have all necessary formal policies and procedures in place, publish them, follow them and evaluate them effectively.  By the end of the planning period, we intend to have: (1) All policies and procedures developed, published, implemented, and scheduled for review on a regular basis – up from only 30% currently; (2) Activity Reports and Financial Reports published and audited annually; and (3) A governance review undertaken annually. To facilitate these internal processes, we will foster a more widespread use of Jenzabar[2] and Moodle[3], to reach 100% (up from 60% currently). The University will publish its electronic newsletter (at least issues annually) to enhance internal and external communications.

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[2] Jenzabar Students Information Systems is an Enterprise Resource Planning tool designed to manage student enrollments, flows, grades, and finances.
[3] Moodle is an open-source learning platform designed to provide professors, management and learners with an integrated system to create personalized learning environments.
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SO 9: Promote Student, Faculty and Staff Development

Quality education means quality faculty and staff in sufficient numbers. IUGB does not currently have enough faculty members to support its rapidly growing student body.  Moreover, the University needs to increase the number of full-time faculty members and decrease the number of part-timers. By 2020, we intend to have 50 full-time professors on board. We will offer professional development opportunities to faculty and staff by tripling the number of workshops and training sessions by 2020. Recognizing the critical role faculty and staff play, their development will be a major priority.

We also intend to significantly enhance the learning environment for students by upgrading academic materials and supplies. For example, by 2020, the current ratio of eight students per computer will be reduced to three. Also by 2020, the number of fully equipped science labs and learning centers will increase from three to five.

SO 10: Upgrade Academic Program

IUGB Students, pictured with their friends and family, win academic awards from University of Central Arkansas: (From L-R): N’Golo Ouattara, Outstanding Economics major award; Mariam Karamoko; Outstanding Finance major award for the 2015-2016 academic year and Paukou Kouame; awarded the Acxiom Corporation Scholarship. These awards are for the top student based on overall academic performance in each discipline area as selected by their professors.

 

To meet labor market demand and produce “employable” graduates in more diverse fields. While consolidating and strengthening the existing academic concentrations, we offer more specializations to our students. We are examining workforce demands and may develop new academic programs such as Biotechnology, Geology, Geophysics, Petroleum Engineering Technology and Hospitality Management.

SO 11: Undertake Accreditation Steps and Meet Standards

This strategic objective has been on our minds since IUGB’s beginning. From a self-assessment conducted in 2014 and updated in 2016, we believe we might be able to achieve full accreditation within five years. We plan to take formal steps towards eligibility and candidacy as soon as possible. These steps include a required in-person presidential meeting with NEASC’s Commission on Higher Education staff in Massachusetts in late 2017, a required visit by the president of the NEASC Higher Education Commission to Côte d’Ivoire by early 2018, having self-evaluation documentation for eligibility ready in mid-2018, hosting an eligibility decision visit by 2019 and applying for candidacy in late 2020. If we are successful, full initial accreditation could follow in 2022.

In parallel, work has already started on adopting the standards of ABET and AACSB for the academic programs and practices of STEM and BSS Schools, respectively.  We also plan to meet all 44 standards of the CEA by 2018.


Goal 6: Community Engagement – Outreach and Service to the Community

 We live in a knowledge society. The role of universities in sustaining and advancing this society is core to their missions. Like their U.S. university counterparts, faculty and students of IUGB must go beyond the borders of the campus to acquire and share knowledge to enhance the university’s footprint in the community at large. Thus, we will instill a culture of service and voluntarism through the two strategic objectives described below. 

SO 12: Contribute to the Well-being of the Surrounding Community. We expect IUGB to continue to make increasing contributions to the improvement of living conditions in Grand-Bassam and beyond. IUGB typically undertakes about five major outreach activities yearly, one of which has been an environmental coastal cleaning project in collaboration with the US Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, along with the participation of several high schools.  By 2020, our goal is for this number to increase to 14.

SO 13: Establish and Implement Service Learning and Civic Engagement Programs

At IUGB, our ambition goes beyond training technically talented individuals. We also want our graduates to be morally caring individuals who see themselves as part of their civil community, willingly applying their knowledge to and seeking knowledge from that community for the betterment of all.  As future leaders, having been exposed to such civic engagement, our graduates are more likely to make informed decisions grounded in the reality of their communities.  Thus, we intend to more than double the number of students directly involved in community service-learning projects, from 100 students in 2016 to at least 250 by 2020. We also intend to work through experienced NGOs, especially those promoting care for the environment and climate-change awareness, to provide an even more focused impact on learning. We plan to double the current number of faculty, staff and students involved in such partnerships to reach 20 by end of this planning period.

  1. Major Initiatives and Priorities for 2016-2020

To achieve the six goals of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, we are focusing on four major initiatives: (1) Developing the first long-term Master Plan; (2) Mobilizing resources for building and equipping the new campus; (3) Developing a long-term financial framework for sustainability; and (4) Pursuing NEASC accreditation. These initiatives are discussed in more detail below.

  1. Developing the First Long-Term Master Plan for IUGB

To ensure that we sustain our planning efforts and realize our vision of establishing a 21st century institution of higher education in West Africa, we need a long-term, rolling Master Plan for the development of IUGB.  Such a plan will integrate and coordinate IUGB’s current and future planning initiatives, including those for academics, facilities, equipment and information technology, among others. Individual five-year strategic plans, including this current one and subsequent ones, will constitute more detailed components or sub-sets of the Master Plan, which will serve as the University’s long-term, comprehensive development framework. It will cover a 20-year period, at the end of which we hope our envisioned IUGB of the future will be a reality.

  1. Developing a Long-Term Financial Framework for IUGB

When the first long-term Master Plan is available, it will provide the context for a long-range budgeting and financial framework, and will guide the strategic allocation of resources. Without such a tool, budget decisions can only be made incrementally instead of strategically, which is not ideal, especially in this fast-growing stage of our University.  Such a framework will also help prioritize initiatives to be undertaken and, when it is known to all internal stakeholders, facilitate agreement among competing demands for funds.  Furthermore, a long-term financial framework will be instrumental in fund-raising.  The framework will constitute a good basis for meeting the NEASC standard of financial stability.

  1. Mobilizing Resources for Building and Equipping the New Campus

The need for a larger and well-equipped campus has become compelling. Despite the facilities recently added to our premises, space remains limited for the needs of the current population of 648 students, plus faculty and administrative staff (see Box below).  To meet the needs of our projected enrollment and the standards of a US-accredited University, fund-raising to secure financing for the new campus construction will be among our most important undertakings during the current planning period. Our revenue and expenditure projections over the 2016-2020 planning period show an additional need of about CFA 13.5 billion (or US$ 21.6 million) in capital investment for building and infrastructure development (see Annex 5).  Such investment would enable us to complete the first of the four phases of our 10,000-student campus expansion plan. That first phase envisions the enrollment of 2,500 students.

The Government of Côte d’Ivoire has been an important and reliable financial partner for IUGB since its establishment.  Funding the development of the new campus, from its design to its construction and equipping will, however, require investment beyond what our traditional resources and our financial partners may be able to provide.  Thus, we will intensify fundraising initiatives by seeking grants and concessionary loans from international donors such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. We have been in especially close contact with these two institutions since the creation of IUGB, and we plan to intensify contacts with them, including their respective private sector arms. At the same time, we will also reach out to other partners such as the European Union and USAID. Our US-based IUGB Foundation will play a key role in these initiatives and in tapping new sources of funding, especially including USA-based potential donors.   The infrastructure and facilities Master Plan will be a key tool in our fundraising efforts.

  1. Completing Requirements for Pursuing NEASC Accreditation.

Obtaining international accreditation has been a long-standing goal at IUGB since its creation (see the Box below for preparatory steps we have taken). During the current planning period, we are working resolutely to reach important landmarks towards international accreditation. This starts by formally engaging with NEASC, the US regional accrediting institution we have opted for, and thereafter completing all requirements for eligibility and candidacy.  

In 2014, three Fulbright Senior Specialists conducted two technical evaluations of our academic programs and an institutional assessment of IUGB.  The institutional assessment, which measured IUGB against the specific standards and criteria of The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), concluded that IUGB is delivering a solid academic experience that well prepares its students to compete with their US counterparts. The assessment, however, pointed to a critical need for a closer alignment of IUGB’s governance structure with that of its American counterparts, such that US regional accreditors could better understand and measure the institution against their formal “standards.” It also noted the need for the University to demonstrate long-term financial stability, with greater diversification of its income and investment streams.  In 2016, we invited a follow-up mission from the Fulbright Specialist in institutional accreditation to advise IUGB on the best ways to help prepare the University for NEASC’s formal procedures. This mission recommended that IUGB first revisit the legal status of the University to firmly establish the identity of its owner and to consolidate its institutional autonomy with respect to the Government and any other potential interest groups. Thereafter, a process to revise the statutes of the University was opened and has been aggressively pursued.

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