The League's 2021 Strategic Planning Process 

By Jonathan Lightman
Consultant, Community College League of California

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

In September 2020, the League embarked on a strategic planning process to establish the direction for the next three years and to update its Mission, Vision, and Values. In addition to laying out goals and strategies concerning community college funding, COVID-19, and DEI, the strategic plan proposes several process improvements for the organization intended to strengthen the League’s ability to represent our 73 member districts and ultimately benefit the colleges.

Over the course of nine months, both the CEOCCC and CCCT Boards, and the League governing board, cumulatively participated in seven exercises, including a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis and assessment surveys, as well as engaged in discussions on goal setting and organizational priorities. The resulting feedback was incorporated into the plan which has sections on each of the following:

  • Horizontal Integration: Ensuring that all facets of the League are aligning with each other in fulfillment of its strategic goals.
  • Vertical Integration: Ensuring that the League staff and leadership are working in a common direction in fulfillment of its strategic goals.
  • Communications: Ensuring that the role and work of the League are understood by internal and external audiences as it pursues its strategic goals.

From the outset, it was agreed that organizational improvements would commence as soon as issues were identified; in other words, the planning, not per se the plan, would create the impetus for change. As such, in each of the forementioned areas, process improvements have already commenced.

For example, the Executive Team, comprised of President & CEO Dr. Larry Galizio, Chief Operating Officer Lisa Mealoy, Chief Financial Officer Sarah Kiesling, Education Services and Leadership Development Director Carmen Sandoval, and Government Relations Director Andrew Martinez, participated in monthly discussions facilitated by the League’s Strategic Planning Consultant, Jonathan Lightman, on ways to strengthen alignment of the League’s internal departments. Plans are underway for greater training and utilization of leaders in the League’s activities, and the association has worked on strategies to increase its capacity for communicating its message.

There’s an understanding within the organization that strategic plans are not self-executing; they require a lot of work. With that in mind, the past year has demonstrated the highest-level commitment of the League by both staff and leaders to use this process as a means of enhancing teamwork, building cohesion, and better serving the community colleges. Indeed, the results are already showing. 

To read our full 2021-24 Strategic Plan, click here. The League's updated mission, vision, and values can be found below.

As the professional membership association of the California Community College districts, the Community College League of California empowers California Community Colleges to transform the lives of our diverse students and strengthen communities statewide through advocacy, leadership development, district services, coalition building, and policy advancement.

Vision Statement
California Community Colleges as the global model for community-based public higher education with an unparalleled commitment to access, equity, and achievement.

We value a transformative vision of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the core of our decision-making to uplift our institutions, communities, and students.

We value access to affordable and quality public higher education through the California Community Colleges with an unyielding commitment to equity and achievement.

We value local governance of the California Community Colleges where diverse trustees from locally elected communities determine institutional priorities and where the state and federal governments establish overall policies and provide critical funding.

We value democratic institutions in all levels of government which adhere to the highest levels of ethics and transparency, and where stakeholders can equitably and robustly participate in the election of officeholders and influence policy.

We value our role as the premier professional membership association of all California Community College districts, where CEOs and Trustees can collectively determine how best to represent and serve their diverse interests in advocacy, leadership development, and district services.

We value the diverse professionals who lead and work for the Community College League of California and we honor their commitment, service, and talent by adhering to the highest levels of collegiality and respect, and through fostering continuing opportunities for professional development to expand their potential and reach new horizons.

 Jonathan Lightman is a consultant for the Community College League of California and guided the League through its 2021 Strategic Planning Process.  He is the former CEO of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC).