Redesigning the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA)



Throughout its 67-year history, the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) has focused exclusively on tuition-free advanced training, including performance experience, for young singers showing the potential for careers in the world's leading opera houses. The Interactive Planning Approach was utilized for long-range strategic planning. Over 100 stakeholders (faculty, students, managers, subscribers, donors, and board members), representing a wide variety of interests, participated in a six-month effort to redesign the organization, using professional facilitation and guidance. Since the plan's adoption in 1997, a large percentage of the designed actions have been implemented, including some of the most ambitious and supposedly difficult to accomplish. As a result, the academy has advanced its enrollment, programs, facilities, and endowment significantly. What follows is a description of an organization's participative planning effort and an examination of the reasons for its success. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.