restricted access 4 - A Genre Analysis of the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong and the United States of America
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4 A Genre Analysis of the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong and the United States of America Ammy Yuen Yee Chan Strategic planning in both private and public sectors is very important. It is ‘a process of collective and informed decision making that (a) helps management and leadership teams position their enterprise for lasting competitive success and (b) helps these teams intelligently implement changes to their processes, systems, and structure’ (Mazza 2003). It is a process designed to support leaders in being intentional about their goals and methods. The main purpose of strategic planning is to provide a basic overview of an organization’s vision and mission, future business plan and a set of goals to be achieved in the coming years (Allison and Kaye 2005). Why does higher education need strategic planning? According to Allison and Kaye (2005, 3), strategic planning for the higher education institution is a tool for the university to set out its vision and directions so as to identify its prominent competitive advantages in response to a changing environment and to ensure that members of the university are working towards the same goals. This chapter explores the strategic plans of five universities in Hong Kong (HK) and five universities in the United States of America (US). All data were obtained from the Internet. In HK, of the eight government-funded higher education institutions, five top universities were chosen according to the ‘Ranking of Universities in Hong Kong in 2004’ by Education18.com. In the US, five universities were chosen based on the Top 200 World University Rankings of The Times Higher Education Supplement published in October 2005. The selection process started with the first-ranked US university to see whether a strategic plan was available for external users. If the plan was not available, the next highest ranked university was selected. This process was repeated until the strategic plans of five top US universities were identified. The ten universities examined in this study are: 54 Ammy Yuen Yee Chan 1. The University of Hong Kong 2. The Chinese University of Hong Kong 3. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 4. City University of Hong Kong 5. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 6. Stanford University 7. Johns Hopkins University 8. The University of Pennsylvania 9. The University of Wisconsin-Madison 10. The University of Maryland, College Park The US and HK are two completely different places in history, culture, size, population, economy, and educational system. The five selected universities in HK are funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC), a non-statutory advisory committee responsible for advising the government on the development and funding needs of higher education institutions. It plays a proactive role in strategic planning and policy development and steers the higher education sector towards satisfying the diverse needs of stakeholders (UGC website 2007). The document Hong Kong Higher Education: To Make a Difference, To Move with the Times, published by the UGC in January 2004, takes a strategic approach in proposing role differentiation among institutions and ways of achieving international competitiveness. HK universities started strategic planning in the last decade or so, after the government had cut funding to higher education. However, the concept of strategic planning is rather new, and HK universities are inexperienced in constructing strategic plans. US universities are famous for their frontiers of knowledge and cuttingedge research. According to the Voice of America’s website, the Association of American Colleges and Universities reported around 2,618 colleges and universities operating privately or as part of state governments. The large number means that it is difficult to formulate guidelines on strategic planning to be implemented across the board. Nevertheless, the US Department of Education published its strategic plan in March 2002, which provides the roadmap on how to improve the quality of education and raise the expectations of what students can accomplish.1 This strategic plan is not only for higher education but serves as reference material for educators in schools and colleges in their pursuit of strategic directions in the twenty-first century. However, universities still enjoy flexibility in constructing strategic plans based on their strengths and unique roles. By investigating and comparing the move-structure of the strategic plans of five HK and five US universities, this study aims to achieve a thorough understanding of the communicative purposes of the university strategic plans A Genre Analysis of the Strategic Plans of Higher Education Institutions 55 as genre, as well as the drive...


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