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APPA’s Strategic Planning Framework and Governance Study/Restructure


Change is Happening

Disruptive change is upon us and it is transforming our institutions and our profession.  Like it or not, we face shifting public views of our educational institutions, diminishing financial resources, generational turnover, widening workforce skills gaps, and the ground-shaking impact that technology is having on the work we do. All of this is transforming our profession in dramatic ways.  Furthermore, we have entered what is termed the “Learning Economy” where knowledge is the valued resource and where learning is the critical process.  Employability now depends less on what we already know and more on how well we demonstrate that we can learn, apply, and adapt.  To survive in our profession…we must adapt!

APPA’s Strategic Plan Responds to This Change

APPA and the Board of Directors embraced this change through a visionary Strategic Planning Framework “Preparing for Every Future” that creates APPA’s path into a future of continuous learning.  The plan is grounded by its strategic principles that support how APPA differentiates and specializes by building on APPA’s two brand strengths – professional development and community. The plan is a “living strategic framework” that will allow APPA to focus on our core mission of continuous learning to meet the needs of practitioners for years into the future.

The Governance Structure Must Respond to the Strategic Planning Framework

The Board recognized that Preparing for Every Future needs a board and leadership structure that is flexible, nimble, and agile in our actions, activities, and decision-making.  Quite simply put, we are ready to take a critical look at our governance structure to make sure that we are strategically focused and well-positioned to pursue the goals and objectives that must be accomplished in the build-out of the Strategic Planning Framework.

Purpose of the Governance Study

In January of 2019, the APPA Board commissioned a study to evaluate the current governance structure of APPA to determine whether it could support the successful implementation of the new Strategic Planning Framework. In order to leave “no stone unturned,” a task force comprised of six distinguished APPA Fellows was commissioned to evaluate all aspects of APPA’s governance structure and to provide an unbiased and candid assessment. The Governance Study is one of the most important elements of the roll out of the strategic planning framework and quite possibly the linchpin to the APPA’s future relevancy.

Why This Governance Study & Board Adopted Restructuring Is So Important

The Governance Study and its ultimate findings and recommendations addressed the following tenets:

  • The existing threats to APPA’s viability are stagnant membership levels, volatile financial stability, and remaining relevant in a changing environment.
  • This visionary Strategic Planning Framework has no expiration date as it recognizes that fundamental mission of a professional association is to provide its members with continuous learning opportunities and the building of professional networks for peer-to-peer learning and development.
  • The Strategic Planning Framework positions APPA to pivot the association to build on its core strengths of professional development and community to become the premier continuous learning provider for our profession.
  • The four pillars of the Strategic Planning Framework represent an organizing element around which leaders, committees, volunteers, business partners and staff will align and direct their ongoing efforts on a never-ending journey to prepare for our evolving futures.
  • APPA’s primary focus has to be on core business activities and its leadership that is nimble and strategically focused on positioning the association for an ever-changing future.

Decisions concerning the specific recommendations in the final report of the Governance Study was provided to the Board of Directors and further accepted by the Board this past January 2020.  A follow-up Governance Implementation Plan was approved by the Board of Directors this past July 2020 and serves as the transition plan for the Board’s follow-up as targeted governance restructuring work plan tasks.