Gollis Uinversity’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plans
January 3, 2015 - Written by Admin Two

What does it take for an organization – any organization (say, order a business, an educational

institution, or a non-profit organization) to reach its optimal goal? The answers to this question

will to some extent vary in phrasing depending on who is delivering them. But the list of

candidates will probably include the following: a leadership and staff with the knowledge, skills,

vision, commitment, self-confidence, and enthusiasm necessary to establish the organization and

have the determination to sustain it through the short, medium, and long terms. This human

resource capacity is absolutely crucial for the initiative to get the organization’s specific projects

off the ground, launch them on a rising curve, and take them to their proper and final

destinations. The list will no doubt include a reasonably adequate idea about feasibility and

financial sustainability – an idea, that is, about the resources essential for investment in the

organization. It will probably also incorporate a sense of hopefulness and motivation, perhaps

even an appeal to Providence, and a prayer that nothing will go wrong, and if it does, everything

will eventually turn out well. All of these are necessary ingredients that, when mixed and

harmonized in the right way, may lead to the optimum.

But there is another essential ingredient – one which subsumes all of the above but also takes an

important step further; it translates them into a blueprint for progress; hence, it serves as a

practical mechanism for the attainment of maximum efficiency and effectiveness and,

conversely, for the pre-emption of haphazardness, confusion, and wastage: a long-term

strategic plan. And that is exactly what Gollis University has put in place twice –

comprehensive, carefully worked-out strategic plans to guide the institution through five-year


Gollis University’s first strategic plan was launched in 2010, and the final phase of its

implementation is about to be completed. The broad theme of that plan specifically invoked the

idea of success, and its focus areas – which were to serve as benchmarks, milestones, and/or

criteria – were Student Success, Institutional Success, and National Success. In the years since

the beginning of its implementation, the university has achieved a great deal in all three areas: its

student population has grown substantially, and a large number of its graduates have since found

well-paying jobs in Somaliland and beyond; the university has also gained in institutional

strength, becoming larger and financially more secure, and earning for itself a reputation as one

of the leading universities in the Horn of Africa. Finally, because of the various technological,

agricultural, engineering, and generally community-oriented programs which it has launched,

and because of its capacity to help build a knowledge-based society that covers the needs of the

country, Gollis University has been contributing greatly to the nation’s progress. As a result, its

profile as an important national institution has risen dramatically. The plan which has been put in

place for the next five years is intended to build on these achievements.

Gollis University’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, which was created mostly by the management

and faculty of the university’s main campus in Hargeisa, draws attention to excellence as an

ideal. The headings of five of its six major themes begin with that very term:

? Excellence in Education

? Excellence in Research and Technology

? Excellence in Community Service

? Excellence in Graduate Performance

? Excellence in Training and Skills Development

? Sustainability of Institutional Resources

The increase in the number of themes, the greater articulation of the contents of each theme, and

the high premium laid on the topmost standard of attainment reflect the facts on the ground – the

solid, already assured achievements of the university. More importantly, they indicate the

institution’s ambition to become the leading university in Eastern Africa by 2020. In order to

earn this kind of distinction, one must aspire for excellence – and plan for it, coupling it with top

performance and achievement. Immediately under each of these six themes, there are a series of

inter-related but also clearly specified objectives, each one of which in turn yields a substantial

number of activities. The activities then trigger a full-range action plan framework complete with

responsible personnel, indicators, outcomes, inputs, and completion time in place.

The crafting and completion of the Strategic Plan constitute an example of teamwork in action in

the best way possible. The plan was built from the ground up, it was thoroughly democratic, and

it was a concerted initiative. The primary material took the form of specific plans submitted by

the deans of faculties. However, for about three weeks in the months of November and

December, 2014, a carefully selected Strategic Plan Committee whose members were drawn

from the University’s thirteen faculties and departments congregated in President Saeed Ahmed

Hassan’s office in successive morning and afternoon sessions. And they went into action with

vigor and determination, whipping the plan into shape. Every item brought to the table for

consideration – whether it was a major theme, an objective, or an activity – was deliberated,

discussed, and sometimes strongly debated; and every member of the committee was encouraged

to make an input. After the core ideas were captured, secured, and documented, a fairly large

number of details were filled in. Occasionally, the team – which was composed of about fifteen

people – would break into focus groups whose responsibility was to examine separate sections of

the plan more closely, and the insights of each group would be subjected to further scrutiny by

the team as a whole. That way, the specific points and sub-points included in the plan were

chosen through a consensus arrived at after a thorough consideration of possible alternatives.

Although President Saeed played the triple roles of supervisor, motivator, and gadfly, he was in

the main just another member of the team.

The final phase of the Strategic Plan process took place during a two-day grand conference held

in Burao and hosted by the President of Gollis University’s Burao campus, Professor Abdihakim

Mohamed Abdillahi. In the course of a series of sessions held mostly on December 17, six focus

groups, which now included colleagues from the Burao, Berbera, and Erigavo campuses, worked

out the final details, and the Strategic Plan was completely formulated. The conference was also

graced by the presence of a substantial number of regional government officials and important

community leaders, who were invited by the Gollis University family to mark the occasion. The

plan is now ready for implementation, and the first major act of monitoring and evaluating its

implementation process will take place in four months..

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