Creating a Blueprint for Progress

by Barbara Elmore

A document with a long shelf-life that does not spend time on a shelf—that is the vision of those who are developing the Hankamer School of Business’ new strategic plan.

Are those two images—a fluid, active document that stays fresh over multiple years—mutually exclusive?

Not if the strategic document is realistic, said Van Gray, who shepherded the development of the plan. Not if the document has the key leadership of the dean’s office, as this one does, said a consultant who helped the planners.

“Realistic,” to Gray, who is director of Strategic Planning and Accreditation for Hankamer, means that the business school has the human and financial resources to achieve the plan.

“It means we have the organizational capability to achieve our aspirations, and that the plan fits within our mission and vision and is not outside of our culture or what we want to accomplish,” he said.

Strategic planning is an ongoing process for the university and business school. Baylor 2012 was the most recent university-wide blueprint. Now that the year 2012 has come and gone, Pro Futuris is Baylor’s new strategic vision. Pro Futuris focuses on five aspirational statements: Transformational Education, Compelling Scholarship, Informed Engagement, Committed Constituents and Judicious Stewardship.

Work on revising the business school’s document began in 2010 to coincide with the university-wide planning process. Terry Maness, dean of the Hankamer School of Business, asked Gray to guide the teams. A Strategic Development Council was already in place, so the business school continued using the group to review and revise goals.  The dean asked Gray to help lead the process because of his strategic planning mindset and his ability to think about the big picture.

“He has a real interest and passion for planning strategically and looking to the future,” Maness said. “I like the way he thinks. He also looks at planning from the university perspective, as opposed to just his area of operations. He has a real interest in seeing the school succeed as well as the university.”

Hankamer’s planning process included outside consultants, faculty and staff, students and alumni. Without multiple perspectives, the business school could not develop meaningful curriculum or programs, noted Gray. “Including them is part of knowing who our audience is and who our constituents are,” he said.

Toward the end, the planning process also included a business school town hall meeting to broaden the conversation once again and to discover whether the process had omitted perspectives that needed to be included. “We had a revised document at that point,” Gray noted. The meeting was one more way to include all voices.

To organize planning early on, the university created five planning themes: Undergraduate Education; Graduate and Graduate Professional Education; Scholarly Productivity and Creative Endeavors; Christian Commitment; and Community.

Within that framework, business school planners set up panels to handle each theme. “We created committees that had, from a process perspective, questions to ask and members charged with transcribing notes from meetings,” Gray said.

Academic Leadership Associates LLC (ALA) of Los Angeles, an organization that offers advisory services to higher education institutions, began helping in the fall of 2011. This was the third time for Mike Diamond, senior partner of ALA, to work with Baylor. His relationship with Hankamer dates to the 1990s, and he worked with the university as a whole after that.

“I have done planning for 50 or 60 different institutions for 15 years,” Diamond said. “You try and figure out which processes work better than others. This really hits home with Baylor.”

A shared value system among faculty, staff and students is something he sees often in faith institutions, and at Baylor that strength extends to a belief in the institution, he noted. This time, Diamond and his two colleagues, Mark Robison and Rich Flaherty, worked with the business school once again. Diamond said Dean Terry Maness’ leadership was crucial. The dean conveyed to participants that he would use the final plan in decision-making.

“Eyes often roll when you tell someone you are going to do strategic planning because plans often sit on a shelf,” Diamond said. “Terry was able to show the faculty that he was serious about this and that he would make decisions based on it that would affect them all.”

As the consultants began their work, the business school formed a Strategic Planning Task Force of 35 faculty, staff, students and advisory board members. This group began reviewing the Hankamer School of Business mission statement, focusing on the six topics of mission, people, scholarship, internal operations, external relationships and educational programs.

Co-chairs of Hankamer committees included Dean Terry Maness; Gary Carini, associate dean of Graduate Business Programs; Mark Dunn, associate dean of Undergraduate Programs; Cheryl Kay, manager for Assessment Data, Strategic Planning and Accreditation; Mike Stegemoller, associate professor of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate; Jeff Tanner, professor of Marketing; Mitchell Neubert, associate professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business; Anne Grinols, assistant dean for Faculty Development and College Initiatives; Cindy Riemenschneider, associate dean of Research and Faculty Development; Christopher Meyer, associate professor of Management; Kevin Ludlum, former executive director of Development; Steve Green, professor of Economics and Statistics; and Ken Buckley, director of Career Management.

Committee transcriptions went to the dean and to Gray, who combined them while omitting duplicated information, taking care to include complete conversations and points of view.

In spring 2012, facilitators held four off-campus planning sessions that Academic Leadership Associates led. Those sessions included feedback from students who were willing to say what was on their minds. Diamond noted, “You don’t see that all the time.”

He also found helpful the dean’s idea of using a “why, how, what” approach as an organizational tool.

“I had not seen that before and found it really useful,” Diamond said. “It was a good way to encapsulate what the school is now about and what it aspires to be about.”

Gray attributes the sophistication of the business school’s planning mechanism to experience.

“We have been doing this with the school of business so often that we are raising the maturity level of planning,” he said. “The group is pretty comfortable engaging in planning; it’s not foreign to them. And people are used to being able to have input. That is very meaningful.”

Implementation of the plan will likely involve the Strategic Leadership Council restructured around new themes. The process also may include a new series of task forces responsible for developing short-term action plans in a two- or three-year time frame.

Putting the plan into action will ensure that the Hankamer School of Business achieves everything it is capable of achieving, said Maness.

“Without a plan, we will keep our days busy reactively instead of proactively,” Maness said. “Pro Futuris calls us to think in terms of transformational learning opportunities for students and research that has impact.”


Hankamer School of Business Strategic Plan Overview


We cultivate principled leaders and serve the global marketplace through transformational learning and impactful scholarship in a culture of innovation guided by Christian values.

Shared Values

Our shared values are the principles that guide all of our work:

  • Integrity
  • Service
  • Innovation
  • Excellence
  • Transformation
  • Learning
  • Exploration
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Impact


Our Areas of Strategic Focus are: Calling, Character, Climate and Connections.


We are a community committed to excellence and service to others, and we believe our potential is God-given and our life path follows a calling. The Hankamer School of Business helps students meet their calling by providing relevant, transformational educational programs and professional immersion characterized by a culture of innovation, excellence, Christian values and a global perspective. To enhance our ability to accomplish this most fundamental goal we will:

-Develop holistic career and professional development efforts that help students navigate the path from matriculation to their profession.

-Develop educational programs that connect the Hankamer experience with the competencies our students need to succeed and flourish in their professional and personal endeavors. These programs will be developed and delivered in partnership with professionals, they will be personalized through the discussion of values, and they will reflect the inter-connectedness of disciplines in a global society.

-Increase student opportunities to build professional competencies that broaden their perspectives and experiences while also cultivating leadership skills. Through professional life and service, students will be equipped to positively impact organizations and communities both locally and globally.

-Restructure class schedules and spaces to promote experiential learning opportunities and student participation in difference-making scholarly research.


All members of the Hankamer community provide principled leadership and service guided by Christian commitment. This is the character we instill in our students, and the commitment that guides our faculty and staff in their work. A central feature of this effort involves the selection and development of individuals whose values and character are consistent with the school and university missions. As such, we will:

-Recruit, retain and graduate an excellent, diverse student population.

-Attract and retain diverse faculty and staff who are called to serve and committed to excellence.

-Motivate faculty, staff and students to maximize God-given gifts to meet their career goals within the school’s mission.


The school’s culture of innovation is shaped by our faculty, who produce research that illuminates transformative solutions to significant business and societal problems. Our culture also supports students, faculty and staff through efficient internal processes dedicated to excellence, effective stewardship and nimble service. This climate is the foundation for our work and the means through which we provide the Baylor experience.  To foster this climate we will:

-Select and retain outstanding faculty who produce research at the highest level.

-Align faculty incentives to better support scholarship.

-Create a meaningful performance evaluation process for faculty commensurate with rank and the individuals’ stage of career development.

-Ensure thoughtful and deliberate use of time in support of enhanced scholarship.

-Align incentives to better support teaching excellence.

-Enable technology to fully support educational goals.

-Encourage more timely responses to emerging opportunities and enable the hiring of highly qualified faculty.

-Continue planning the development of a new business campus that supports engaged learning, enhances building community, expands our global connections, inspires innovation, supports our integrity and sustainability values and fosters the development of principled leaders.


Communication amongst and between our stakeholders is vital to our success and the fulfillment of our mission. Our faith-based heritage and commitment to integrity provides the foundation for collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships with our stakeholders. To promote and support communication we will:

-Maintain a collegial and supportive environment that fosters a community driven by excellence.

-Enhance decision making by collecting and utilizing relevant data.

-Establish a formal external relations strategy.

-Develop and implement an online engagement system (CRM) providing a concierge system for alumni, a clearinghouse of engagement opportunities, a smart reservation system for guests and survey tools.

-Formalize and further develop a career management structure that supports professional opportunities for students and alumni.

This strategic plan represents a blueprint for the future of the Hankamer School of Business. We cultivate principled leaders in a transformational learning environment steeped in impactful scholarship. All of our work is guided by Christian commitment, and as we strive to achieve our mission, we will do so through our values of character, integrity and service. We will accomplish this by rising to the challenge of our calling. We are guided by our strength of character. And we succeed in an innovative climate enriched by connections that leverage the talents of the Hankamer network. Together, our students, alumni, faculty and staff contribute to the global marketplace through their leadership, their scholarship, their commitment to lifelong learning and a broad range of for-profit and nonprofit endeavors.


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Baylor Business Review, Spring 2013

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