As NIRSA’s current strategic plan is set to culminate in 2021, the NIRSA Board of Directors, in conjunction with the Member Network Chair, the NSC President, and the NIRSA Foundation President, has been hard at work planning for the next iteration of the Association’s strategic plan. As a part of this process, the Board is gathering member input and conducting environmental scans to help inform them as they draft the next plan.

There will be several opportunities throughout November for members to provide insight into the initial scanning questions.

Mirroring the successful planning process for the current strategic plan, the Board will engage with various stakeholder groups for environmental scanning and feedback on emerging themes and plan drafts. The stakeholders have been categorized into two groups with overlapping and distinct responsibilities: Strategic Partners and Accountability Partners.

Accountability Partners

Accountability Partners will have a long-term responsibility for the strategic plan. In addition to providing focused and ongoing feedback, they have the added responsibility of owning and executing the plan. In the process, they will “ground truth” the ideas through the lenses of achievability and fiscal responsibility.

For this reason, the role of Accountability Partner resides with NIRSA leadership groups, including: the NIRSA Services Corporation Board, the NIRSA Foundation Board, the Member Network, and NIRSA HQ staff.

Strategic Partners

Strategic Partners provide insight into a specific segment of the NIRSA membership. They will also provide ongoing and focused feedback throughout the process—from brainstorming to final drafting—through their specific lens.

The Strategic Partner groups are the Assembly, Students, Faculty, associate members, small programs, the Championship Series, new professionals, mid-level professionals, executive-level professionals, the Black Community Caucus, the Latinx Caucus, the Asian Community Caucus, and the LGBTQ Caucus.

November scanning questions

Many of these groups will use their November meetings to answer scanning questions. This includes the November caucus meetings.

We also invite all members to attend an Ideas in Motion session dedicated to this scanning process. This session will be open to all levels of professional and students; future sessions will engage students, new professionals, mid-level professionals, and executive-level professionals separately. This open Strategic Planning Scanning Session—facilitated by NIRSA Board member Jocelyn Hill, Director of Recreational Sports and Fitness at American University—is scheduled for Tuesday, December 1 at 2:00pm Eastern/11:00am Pacific.

Pam Watts is Executive Director of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon. Pam is a Certified Association Executive and she can be reached at

Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at | NIRSA Profile

Erin O'Sullivan is currently the Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at NIRSA.

Director of Campus Recreation & Wellness at University of South Carolina Aiken | NIRSA Profile

Mila Padgett is currently the Director of Campus Recreation & Wellness at the University of South Carolina Aiken. She is President Elect on the NIRSA Board of Directors.