Long Range Plan: Overview

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In June 2023, the NCPH Board approved a new Long Range Plan for 2023-2028. This new plan is the product of several years of work from the Long Range Planning Committee and reflects feedback and input from stakeholders, including members, committee chairs, past and present leadership, and others. The purpose of the plan is to serve as both a vision and a guide for the organization, to ensure that we are intentional about how NCPH operates and grows.

The Long Range Planning (LRP) Committee began work in early 2021, starting with an assessment of the 2017-2022 plan. It was clear that the prior plan had many strong elements; it had a clear vision, and it included demonstrable and measurable goals to address general ideas like improving diversity. At the same time, tracking those outcomes was challenging, as there weren’t clear mechanisms for the responsible committees to use when reporting on their progress, and it was sometimes unclear which committee was primarily responsible for which task. In 2021, we were also hyperaware of the need for a more flexible, adaptable plan that could cope with unforeseen events, like, say, a global pandemic.

Several masked working group attendees are moving around the room to gather in small groups during the session. They are facing each other and rows of beige chairs are visible,

Attendees of a 2023 working group in Atlanta at the session, “Empowering the Public History Workplace: Information, Advocacy, and Collective Power.” Photo courtesy John Fulton.

With these ideas in mind, the LRP Committee undertook its information-gathering phase from 2021-2022. We sought feedback from committee chairs and past Board members who had worked with the prior plan, both on the mechanics of the plan and its ideas. We also reached out directly to members to find out what they wanted NCPH to be, first through an online survey and later in focus groups. We read every survey response, looking for themes and patterns, and sought out additional input from public historians in a range of fields and at various points in their careers, regardless of their membership in the organization.

At the end of 2022, the Committee began drafting the new plan in earnest. We wrote goals and action items developed from the feedback we’d gathered. Using feedback from committee chairs, we also changed the system for managing the plan and tracking progress. We now ask committees to set their own benchmarks and deadlines for implementing action items, so that these tasks can better align with their existing responsibilities. Committees will also now report on their progress toward the LRP’s goals as part of their Board reports, rather than reporting to the LRP Committee separately.

Once we had a working draft of the new LRP, we solicited another round of feedback from committee chairs and the Board. This feedback helped the LRP Committee further refine the action items, ensuring that they were both reasonable and actionable. After further revision, the LRP Committee received preliminary approval of the new plan at the 2023 Annual Meeting and shared the plan again with committee chairs, inviting them to select specific action items to address in their respective committees.

In the coming weeks, you’ll get to read a series of posts sharing some of the details of each organizing pillar of the plan: Community, Diversity, Advocacy, Practice, and Stewardship. As you read these posts and the plan itself, we hope that you will see yourself in it, either in a goal or action item that reflects feedback you gave us, or better still, in the version of NCPH the plan hopes to realize for 2028.

~Abigail R. Gautreau is co-chair of the Long Range Planning Committee and an associate professor of History at Grand Valley State University. She has taken refuge from Twitter on Bluesky, where you can find her @abbygateau.bsky.social.

~Will Stoutamire is co-chair of the Long Range Planning Committee and an associate professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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