Strategic Planning for 2017-2021

In 2017 The Forum will develop a new strategic plan to guide its activity through 2021.

The Forum’s Strategic Planning process emphasizes the importance of broad inclusion and outreach to the Forum’s Board of Directors, the Forum Council, the Forum staff, committees and working groups, and the wider membership.

In the initial phase, the Strategic Planning Team will engage in information-gathering and research. As the Strategic Plan takes shape,  a series of open webinars will provide an opportunity for the Strategic Planning Team to discuss the plan and for Forum members to provide feedback and suggestions.

The Forum’s Board of Directors is required to provide a final review and to approve the strategic plan.

Strategic Planning Team

The Strategic Planning Team is charged with analyzing the information the process generates and formulating drafts of the strategic plan. They work with an independent consultant to keep the strategic planning process on track and on schedule, reaching out to Forum members and other constituents to inform the plan.

Chair: Mary Anne Grant, President Emeritus, ISEP; Board Chair, The Forum on Education Abroad

Team Members:
Enda Carroll, Associate Director, UCD International, University College Dublin
Nick Gozik, Director, Office of International Programs; Director, McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies, Boston College
Natalie A Mello, Vice President for Member Services and Training, The Forum on Education Abroad
Susan Popko, Associate Provost for International Programs, Santa Clara University
Lorna Stern, Vice President, Arcadia University
Annmarie Whalen, Vice President for Programs and Resources, The Forum on Education Abroad
Brian Whalen, President and CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad

Independent Consultant: Richard F. McGourty, PhD


The Strategic Planning team works through in-person meetings and conference calls.

January 13, 2016 Meeting: Strategic Planning launch and overview at Forum Board of Directors meeting
February 17, 2016 Conference call: discussion and overview
March 21, 2016 Conference call: discussion of Strategic Planning process and goals.
April 7, 2016 Seminar: “The Future of Education Abroad” held at The Forum’s 12th Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia with members of the Forum Board of Directors, the Forum Council, and the Forum staff.
May 31, 2016 Meeting coinciding with the NAFSA Convention in Denver, Colorado: briefing on preliminary findings of research groups
July 14, 2016 Meeting with Forum Board of Directors and Forum Council: discussion of research group findings
August 22, 2016 Conference call
September 2016 Member webinar for discussion and feedback
October 2016 In-person meeting

Member webinar for discussion and feedback

November 2016 Conference call

Member webinar for discussion and feedback

December 2016 Conference call
January 2017 Final in-person meeting.



June 23, 2016: The Forum’s Strategic Planning Team is pleased to report that its work is well underway. The Team formed research groups tasked with gathering data in the following areas:

  • Mission, Vision, and Values
  • Stakeholders and Resources
  • The Environment
  • Market, Products and Services, and Core Competencies

In April and May, the research groups reached out to a wide range of education abroad professionals to seek a range of perspectives on the topics. Interviews were conducted with dozens of education abroad professionals and members of The Forum. In late May, the Strategic Planning Team met in Denver and discussed each research group’s preliminary research findings.

July 2016: The Strategic Planning Team met with the Forum Board, Forum Council and Forum staff during their summer meetings. The Board, Council and Staff had been sent summaries of the findings of the research groups. Based on this information, dialogue during the meeting, and experience of those present, the three bodies provided multiple perspectives on which elements of the research groups’ findings should be affirmed, adjusted, or incorporated into a new initiative within the new Strategic Plan.

August 2016: In conference call meetings, the Strategic Planning Team moved its work from research and information gathering to drafting the Strategic Plan’s opening statements of The Forum’s mission, vision and values. The Team reviewed an initial draft of the statements, based on examining the current Strategic Plan and informed by the work on the new Strategic Plan.

September 2016: The Team met by conference call to review the next round of edits to the mission, vision and values statements to ensure consensus on key ideas.

October 2016: The Team met before The Forum’s European Conference in Athens and refined the mission, vision, values statements, and drafted strategic goals. A Drafting Committee was formed, whose purview will be the exact wording of the draft Strategic Plan.

In a conference session at the European Conference in Athens, the Team presented the major touchpoints of the statements and goals. Session attendees provided essential feedback, to be incorporated into the draft.

January 2017: The Strategic Planning Team presented a draft Strategic Plan to the Board of Directors. The Directors discussed the plan in detail, and made recommendations to the Strategic Planning Team.  The Team then worked to incorporate these recommendations into the plan.

March 2017: The Forum Board of Directors approved this draft of the Strategic Plan for dissemination to the membership. Members and non-members may review the draft and send feedback to Comments received before Friday, April 7 will be considered as we develop the specific ways that the strategic plan will be implemented.


Share your thoughts with the Strategic Planning Team