Established in 1944, FIT is New York City’s premier college for design, fashion, art, and the businesses that make up the core of the country’s creative sector. A college of the State University of New York, FIT is a pioneer in developing the creativity and skills of students from around the world for entry into the fast-changing world of design and fashion.
In 2004, FIT embarked on a year-long strategic planning process to explore key questions of institutional identity and frame a vision of the FIT of tomorrow. The result was 2020: FIT at 75, Bringing the Future into Focus.
FIT had an operating plan that paralleled the strategic plan and produced regular updates on the plan’s implementation. However, it lacked a clear set of metrics which it needed to both properly measure its progress and to better communicate that progress to its internal and external audiences.
AKA helped establish an FIT working group to identify appropriate metrics and gather the data needed to apply them. This group carefully examined the goals and objectives of the previously prepared FIT strategic plan and:
- Considered examples of performance measurement “dashboards” from diverse institutions of higher education as well as other best practices in the field of performance measurement;
- Identified numerous potential quantitative measures of progress for each goal of the strategic plan;
- Determined the suitability, quality and availability of data required to construct the metrics;
- Winnowed the initial set of potential metrics to a small set of those which the working group considered most useful in evaluating progress on the strategic plan;
- Defined specific five-year targets for each of the metrics;
- Structured a comprehensive report card that allows FIT to measure achievement against the strategic plan goals on a regular basis; and
- Designed a regular process for compiling the report card, examining the results and considering their implications with respect to the College’s goals.
The result is a comprehensive but succinct report card for FIT that it is using with internal constituencies, the Board of Trustees, and SUNY to describe the College’s progress in achieving the goals of its strategic plan.
The report card also provided an unforeseen benefit: The process of identifying metrics and setting five-year targets surfaced important questions not fully addressed in FIT’s existing strategic plan. Those issues became critical points for consideration in the College’s subsequent cycle of strategic planning and gave that process greater focus and momentum.
AKA has been engaged by FIT to prepare a new strategic plan that builds on the success of the current plan and expands on its original ambitions and aspirations.