RCE Greater Portland - 2019

Collaborative Strategic Planning Process for RCE Greater Portland (2019-2022)
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Collaborative Strategic Planning Process for RCE Greater Portland (2019-2022)
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Portland
Contributing organization(s) : 
Portland State University
Portland Community College
Other local and partner organizations that are involved with GPSEN and its Board of Directors
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Heather Spalding
Organizational Affiliation: 
GPSEN President, Board of directors; Chair, Governance Committee
Format of project: 
PDF version of GPSEN 2019-2022 strategic plan
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Additional resources: 
SDG 4: Quality Education
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Portland, Oregon
Target Audience:
Community, Higher, Primary, Secondary, Teacher Ed., TVET, Youth (Informal)
Non-formal educational contexts
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Greater Portland is known as one of the greenest metropolitan areas in the United States. Yet our green reputation does not mean the region is free of challenges. In fact, we struggle in at least four major areas of sustainable development: environment, education, economics, and equity. More information about Portland can be found at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
This project either directly or indirectly addresses all SDGs by creating capacity to implement the SDGs and sustainability education across Greater Portland. The Plan creates a unifying vision for GPSEN. As a result, GPSEN is better able to support initiatives, programs, and organizations within our region. As well, GPSEN is better able to link local and global efforts so that RCEs can enhance their collective impact.
December, 2018
The Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network's (GPSEN) 2019-2022 Strategic Plan seeks to address regional sustainability challenges and increase our collective impact in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). GPSEN's goals and targets will connect greater Portland’s local sustainability education initiatives to regional and global efforts through our shared networking tools, partnerships, events, programs, research, and governance work. The 2019-2022 Strategic Plan was prepared with input from our Board of Directors, Senior Advisors, Committees, and other members of the GPSEN community.
As a regional sustainability education network focused on formal and nonformal education, GPSEN and its partners needed to develop and utilize transformative tools that offer the knowledge and skill sets necessary to empower and engage diverse stakeholders, across all ages, to understand crucial sustainability issues. To support our collective impact and success, the plan needed to embody GPSEN’s core values: sustainability, innovation, environmental justice and equity, transparency and accountability, inclusive participation, and transformative learning.
As a result of this strategic planning processes, GPSEN will position itself between 2019-22 to be Greater Portland’s regional hub for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sustainability education. GPSEN aims to achieve this by supporting collaboration and linking stakeholder needs to network resources that facilitate equitable, adaptive, and resilient development in the region.

- Create a strategic vision that aligns with RCEs, SDGs, and local needs as determined by the GPSEN community
- Engage our multi-sector networks of educators, students, non-profits, political and industry leaders, civic organizations, and community members to identify the sustainability challenges facing their communities and collaborate to empower and increase stakeholder capacity through formal, non formal, and informal education efforts.
- Create specific goals, targets, and indicators for each of the four GPSEN committees: Outreach and Communications (O+C), Programs and Events (P+E), Research and Curriculum (R+C) and Governance (G).
- Link to a concise final document on our website and share the plan with our community

Activities and/or practices employed: 
Our planning process included the following steps:
JUNE 2018: Board voted to create multi-year plan.
FALL 2018: Governance Committee designed draft strategic plan process based on Board feedback.
DECEMBER 2018: The Board and Senior Advisors engaged in a visualization exercise at GPSEN’s annual retreat to brainstorm and prioritize draft goals.
- Each committee was asked to discuss potential goals for the strategic plan prior to the retreat. At least one Board member participates in each committee, so those Board members then brought draft ideas to the brainstorm session.
- The Board President and a member of the Governance Committee used large pieces of paper to create a matrix with rows designating the four GPSEN committees as well as columns designating each year of the strategic plan. We did not know whether GPSEN should create a three or five year plan when we started, so we created five columns and let participants place their sticky notes in the most relevant location.
- Each Board member wrote down draft goals on sticky notes. Members then placed their sticky notes on the matrix based on which committee and which year would be the primary focus for accomplishing the goal.
- The facilitators grouped any sticky notes with similar draft goals together.
- The Board then had time to celebrate, enjoy a potluck, and leisurely review the draft.
- The group came back together to review the initial results and deliberated on the final location for each goal.
- The Governance Committee refined the results further and brought a final draft to be reviewed in the next Board meeting.
JANUARY-MARCH 2019: An online survey was shared with the community via our newsletter and social media to increase access to the process of identifying regional priorities.
MARCH 8, 2019: The community was also invited to participate in identifying their priorities, capacities, and resources in a hands-on activity during GPSEN’s annual Sustainability Symposium.
APRIL 2019: Results from community visioning activities were consolidated into the spreadsheet created at the December 2018 Board retreat.
JULY-AUGUST 2019: The plan was discussed at new Board member orientation. New members were then given 2 weeks to review and propose edits.
SEPTEMBER 2019: New edits were discussed at Board meeting.
OCTOBER 2019: Final plan was approved in Board meeting; a new Board member from the Outreach and Communications Committee created a 1 page (front and back) abbreviated plan overview for website.

Each committee has identified up to four goals, listed by priority. This ongoing work is reflected as a living document and will continue to be updated with changes as we work through our goals based on the available resources and capacities in our teams and communities over the next three years.
Each goal includes targets, indicators, and the year(s) during which the committee will work toward the goal.
Individuals at all scales within the organization had opportunities to help create the plan.
A two page shortened version of our plan was created and posted online.
The Governance Committee provides feedback for Board meeting design and, therefore, determines how to maintain progress toward the Strategic Plan over time.
Goals are revisited in Board and committee meetings.

Lessons learned: 
Board members appreciated the opportunity to write down as many ideas as were on their mind during the retreat activity. We did not provide a limit to how many ideas could be added to the matrix.
At the start of the process, we did not know whether to create a 3 or 5 year plan. As a result, we let Board members choose the year(s) for each draft goal. We noticed that very few ideas were added in years 4 and 5, so we decided to create a 3 year plan and simply move those later items to earlier years or different committees to balance workloads on various committees.
In the brainstorm activity, we made sure that each committee felt comfortable with the projects that had been put in their rows. Some negotiations required goals to be moved between committees before the Board could fully agree on each group’s responsibilities. This conversation allowed our team to have important conversations about how our organization functions, the capacity of each team, and ways to work together in order to accomplish our objectives.
Engaging community in process takes more time but ultimately results in a plan that resonates with community needs and interests. Engagement also ensures that goals are thought-through and vetted. Providing incoming Board members with the opportunity to provide edits to the plan ultimately led to the plan not being approved by the date hoped when we started the process. However, their edits brought new insights to the Board and improved the plan. We've also observed strong participation from these new members. The final plan was approved one month after the expected end date.

Key messages: 
The 2019-2022 GPSEN Strategic Plan identifies strategic priorities and actions that can accomplish GPSEN's mission to connect diverse organizations in a collaborative network that multiplies our collective capacity to educated, empower, and engage for a sustainable future. Through this plan, GPSEN will position itself to be the Regional Hub for the SDGs through sustainability education. GPSEN aims to achieve this by supporting collaboration and linking stakeholder needs to network resources that facilitate equitable, adaptive, and resilient development in the region.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level