Emphasis should be on the capability that will be gained. After reading this section, the reader should have no question about just what is being proposed. A Context analysis that examines the current situation of the academic unit and suggests how the proposed development can utilize existing resources and structures to good advantage. In general, it will be easier and more cost effective to build on existing strengths rather than undertake development in an entirely new direction. A Benefits statement hat details what the sponsoring unit and the University will gain from the establishment of the program or facility.
It is essential that a clear connection be drawn between the new development and the existing mission and goals of the unit and that the associated improvements in program be examined. It should also be made clear how the program or facility relates to the mission and the strategic plan of the University. Since this is an academic plan, it will be necessary to address separately the aspects of education, research, and service. A Cost statement that outlines the capital cost of establishing the aerogram or facility. This should also provide as much detail as possible concerning the source of the capital or one-time funds that will be required.
When appropriate, there should also be an analysis of intangible costs such as lost opportunities and political liabilities created. Also included should be an outline of human resource costs. What type and level of personnel are envisioned as being involved with the program? An Operating Plan that specifies not only what will be done but who will do it and when it may be expected to be done. The period of the plan will depend upon the program or agility being developed but it would generally span at least the first five years of existence.
A Financial Plan that is keyed to the Operating Plan. This should include an analysis of the ongoing cost of operation and identify the sources of the funds that will be required. Obviously, the plan must show a surplus or break-even bottom line but it may include a subsidy from the sponsoring unit. A Design that provides as much detail as possible about the program or facility. It is clear that all of these elements are inter-related. It is not likely that one section can be developed first and then followed by the others.
Rather, development of this plan will, of necessity, be an iterative process with preparation of one section being dependent upon preparation of another, which may well be dependent upon preparation of the first. Also, it is likely that some of the data needed to complete a section will not be available. In that case it is essential to make a best estimate rather than not complete the plan. Where estimates are used, it should be indicated that it is an estimate and some statement should be made concerning the probable accuracy thereof.