AHEAD Strategic Plan Extended to 2023
The board of AHEAD has made the decision to extend the period covered by the current AHEAD strategy by one year, meaning the plan will now run until the end of 2023. Commenting on this decision, chair of AHEAD Prof. Michael Shevlin said:
A lot has happened since the development of the strategic plan and a huge amount of progress has been made by the organisation in meeting the goals of the plan. Despite the impact of Covid-19, the organisation has continued to deliver on its mission and build ever stronger relationships with its key stakeholders. However, we are still yet to see the full and lasting impact of the pandemic on education and employment more generally, and what changes in culture and practice in will remain. Peer-reviewed literature on the impact on students and graduates with disabilities is only beginning to emerge and give us a clearer picture of the opportunities and threats it provides for AHEAD's mission. With this uncertainty in mind during our deliberations, the board felt that it would be prudent to extend the current plan by one year and delay development of the next strategic plan, in order for AHEAD to be able to capitalise on this new knowledge base emerging, and ensure the next plan puts AHEAD in the best possible position to progress its mission of creating inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities. - Prof. Michael Shevlin
The board of AHEAD have already begun deliberations about the development of AHEAD's next strategic plan and intend to ensure its informed by consultation and engagement with all of AHEAD's key stakeholders.
About the Plan - New Tagline
The Board of AHEAD meet on a regular basis to discuss and oversee the operational plans of AHEAD and monitor progress against strategic goals. It is less than four years since the Board undertook an in-depth look at the strategic position of AHEAD and where it was at in terms of the stated aims and objectives. Out of that process a Strategic Plan was devised to see us through the period 2015-2018 and beyond. While having a plan to work off generated a fresh energy to focus the minds, it became clear as the plan unfolded and was translated from deeds and words into actions that the actual remit of AHEAD was broader than that being reflected in its expressed vision and mission statements.
The Board acknowledges that AHEAD’s reputation is well established at this stage, its name well known and held in high regard by those professionals, networks and agencies that it collaborates with on an on-going basis. However, branching out beyond the higher education sector to develop new networks, new partnerships and new relationships, all necessary to the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the tagline to the AHEAD logo was proving restrictive to development plans. The previous logo design with its inbuilt subtitle the ‘Association for Higher Education, Access and Disability’ no longer fully reflects the full picture of what AHEAD is actually doing at the grass roots. Newcomers to AHEAD and the collaborative UDL process struggle to connect the AHEAD tagline with its mission to promote the development of inclusive learning environments in education and employment for all learners. Therefore, the Board decided to address this contradiction in the strategic process. It proved a very worthwhile exercise generating an overall agreement to retain the name AHEAD, given that over the last thirty years the organisation is widely known as AHEAD throughout the higher education sector.
However, it was agreed to retain the AHEAD logo but drop the tagline from ‘Association for Higher Education Access & Disability’ and replace it with ‘creating inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities’ as one that more accurately reflects the work of AHEAD at the grass roots.
The Strategic Plan produced is the outcome of a long consultation process.