An Approach to the Preparation or Revision of a Master Plan for a Nigerian Polytechnic.
Education has been identified as a major ingredient in the transformation of Nigeria into a developed nation. Over 65 million Nigerians are illiterate (Bakare 2015), and they and others need to acquire the skills that will make them employable in Nigeria's emerging economy. Unfortunately the country's higher education institutions lack the space and capacity to address this problem (Enogholase 2013). For example, the demand for higher education is far greater than the number of spaces available, and this has been a major area of concern. All Nigerian higher education institutions are characterized by low carrying capacity due to poorly maintained and grossly inadequate infrastructure and facilities and a lack of personnel to effectively deliver the curriculum. Further, there are a limited number of National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), or National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) accredited programs or courses of study. Indeed, in 2016, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) recorded 1,592,305 applicants seeking admission to all tertiary institutions in the country, out of which 1,096,283 qualified for admission. Unfortunately, only about 13 percent of the qualified candidates got admissions offers (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board 2016).
Nigeria currently has 152 universities, 107 polytechnics, 27 monotechnics, and 84 colleges of education offering courses in diverse disciplines at the tertiary education level (Enogholase 2013; National Board for Technical Education 2016; National Commission for Colleges of Education 2017; National Universities Commission 2016a, 2016b, 2016c; Okeke 2015). Governments (federal and state), private individuals, or corporate bodies own these institutions. The government-owned schools, at their inception, had specific master plans that were intended to function as road maps in achieving their objectives. Unfortunately, in most cases, the initial phases of plan implementation were not supported financially with the necessary take-off grants. Subsequently, infrastructure and facilities development at these institutions was also poorly funded due to dwindling yearly government appropriations, leading to haphazard plan implementation. The poor state of infrastructure and facilities development was further exacerbated in those situations where the master plans were not supported by strategic plans to guide their implementation (Oloyo et al. 2009). Consequently, some of the academic programs offered by these institutions could not pass the accreditation tests of their supervising agencies. Indeed, the NUC's accreditation reports indicate that in 2016 approximately 150 undergraduate academic programs in 37 of Nigeria's universities were unaccredited due to the lack of required infrastructure for curriculum delivery (Okonkwo 2016). A similar trend was observed among Nigeria's polytechnics: in 2016 about 139 programs in 33 polytechnics remained unaccredited by the NBTE.
Clearly, there is a need to widen access to higher education in Nigeria by expanding the carrying capacities of existing institutions and/or establishing more institutions. This perhaps was the reason the Nigerian government encouraged private participation in the provision of higher education. Further, in order to eventually improve the carrying capacities of existing institutions, the country's supervisory/regulatory and funding agencies, including the NUC, NBTE, NCCE, and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), have made the submission of an institutional master plan and strategic plan mandatory for accessing the statutory financial interventions available for infrastructure and academic program development. These agencies have insisted that all eligible higher education institutions review and adjust their master and strategic plans to reflect current economic realities and funding trends. This requirement is expected to ensure the judicious use of funds for infrastructure development, which should ultimately translate to increased carrying capacities.
The foregoing underscores the importance of adopting an appropriate master plan when upgrading an existing institution's infrastructure and facilities to meet its current and future needs as well as when establishing a new institution. An effective master plan dictates the use of the limited resources available to an institution's management for orderly and systematic growth and development and attainment of its mission and vision. This is particularly important in institutions where upgrading and/or providing entirely new facilities to meet current and future needs can be intimidating given the magnitude of resources required (Rudden 2008). Indeed, prospective proprietors of higher education institutions in Nigeria, whether governmental, private individuals, or corporate bodies, are expected to submit a copy of their master plan along with their application for a license to establish and operate a university, polytechnic, or college of education.
This article presents an approach to both preparing a viable master plan for a proposed polytechnic and revising an existing master plan. The former will be of practical importance to prospective proprietors.
DEFINITION AND PURPOSE OF A MASTER PLAN FOR AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION
In general terms, Coe (2005) defined a master plan as a road map to realize a vision, and it charts a hopeful journey between the present and some intended destinations with milestones along the way. For educational institutions in particular, a master plan has been described as a document made up of a written report and layout drawings articulated to provide a realistic framework for a core system intended to shape the institution's physical, social, environmental, educational, and economic future toward its goals, objectives, and vision (Kadiri 2007a; Rockland Community College 2010). Further, the Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales Limited (2013) defined a master plan as an investment that coordinates and aligns many diverse considerations into a long-term strategic vision for facilities development and overall institutional success.
Most institutions prepare their master plans prior to opening and subsequently review them periodically as they grow in order to respond to changes in the internal and external environments. The master plan addresses the envisioned infrastructure and facilities necessary to meet the requirements of student and staff population growth, development and expansion of academic programs, the institutional budget, landscape considerations, and improvements in the town-gown relationship. Other reasons for the preparation of a master plan include the implementation of a new strategic plan; a change of leadership; to respond to new planning regulations or requirements for state/country funding approval; to improve space allocation, distribution, and utilization; to address deferred maintenance and renewal projects; to evaluate potential land acquisition and disposition; and to identify the campus development growth threshold (Rudden 2008).
The master plan, therefore, provides a road map from the existing physical portfolio of facilities to a consensus future vision of an educational environment fully aligned with the institution's mission. Together with a well-articulated strategic plan, the master plan specifies a development strategy that ensures delivery of the institution's mandate. In addition to ensuring systematic growth and development, successful implementation of a master plan greatly facilitates the effective and efficient utilization of scarce funds. In the case of higher education in Nigeria, this translates into a systematic increase in the number of NUC-, NBTE-, or NCCE-accredited academic programs offered, an increase in student enrolment, the widening of access to higher education, and a greater chance of receiving grants from governments and international donor agencies.
METHODOLOGY FOR MASTER PLAN PREPARATION: KEY COMPONENTS
Diverse approaches have been used to prepare master plans in higher education. However, the aptness of the approach often determines the degree of success achieved in the implementation of the plan and the fulfilment of its objectives. Figure 1 depicts an effective approach to the preparation of a master plan for a proposed polytechnic; each step is described in detail below.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY AND SELECT TEAM FOR MASTER PLAN PREPARATION
The most valuable and feasible master plan reflects the extensive engagement of a diverse range of participants and facilitators, including professionals (Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales Limited 2013). Essentially, the master plan drafting team is composed of stakeholders and professionals who may include the institution's proprietor, administrator, academic and support staffs, students, parents, and representatives of regulatory bodies, local employers, and the surrounding community as well as architects, town planners, structural engineers, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, land surveyors, urban designers, landscape designers, soil engineers, public health engineers, valuation surveyors, estate surveyors, and construction managers depending on the reason for the master plan and the expertise required (Olomola 2007). A professional well grounded in the technical aspects of facility planning leads the team.
STEP 2: CLARIFY THE INSTITUTION'S VISION
The master plan is developed to achieve the institution's mission and vision. The team assesses, critically reviews, and understands the mission and vision with a view to defining (Olomola 2007)
* The philosophy and general objectives of the institution and the strategies for achieving the set objectives.
* The organizational structure for the general administration of the institution and the management of the academic programs to be offered, along with the goals and objectives of the academic programs.
* Institutional academic policies and regulations.
* Admissions requirements, curriculum specifications and delivery mechanisms, and graduation requirements.
* Student enrolment and staff (academic and support) projections over the life span of the master plan.
* Facility and infrastructure requirements and projections.
* The information and communication technology plan and its deployment policy.
* The strategic plan for the implementation of the master plan.
STEP 3: ASSESS THE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENTS OF THE INSTITUTION
While it is necessary to conduct a complete assessment of the internal and external environment for an existing institution, only partial assessment is required in the case of a proposed institution. For example, an assessment of the external environment will determine the range of courses or academic programs a proposed polytechnic can offer. This, in turn, will facilitate the necessary planning for academic program organization, growth, and projections; staff requirements and projections; student population projections; space requirement projections; and facilities and infrastructure requirements. Also, it is necessary to investigate the site for the proposed institution.
The assessment of the internal environment focuses on the following (Adegbola 2007; Babalola et al. 2016; Frostburg State University 2002; McKay 2001):
* Site investigation/site analysis: location, topography, soil investigation, and vegetation.
* Existing land use: facilities and infrastructure (transportation, laboratories, workshops, classrooms, library, conference center, recreational center, health center, auditorium, offices, student center, student and staff residences, etc.); existing utilities and services (water supply, power supply, telecommunications, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, waste management, fire service, etc.); landscape; and site development suitability.
* Staff and student population analysis and projections.
* Academic program organization and projected expansion: existing academic programs and their accreditation status as well as programs to offer in the future.
* Space requirements and projections: academic space needs (staff offices, lecture/seminar/tutorial rooms, lecture theaters, laboratories, workshops, studios, other particular teaching or departmental space needs, etc.); administrative and central space needs (offices, auditoriums, lecture theaters, library, information technology centers, etc.); communal and social service needs (conference center, student center, health center, shopping facilities, recreational center, demonstration center, cafeteria, guest house, place of worship, etc.); housing space needs (hostel, guest house, staff quarters, etc.); ground activity area needs (botanical and zoological gardens, outdoor sports, car park, ceremonial arcade, water reservoir, sewage plant, refuse disposal, power generating house, bank, farmland, etc.); and overall space needs.
* Space, facilities, and infrastructure utilization analysis: each building's square area, value, and repair backlog; the total assignable square area per room; the assignable square area per station; and room hours in use.
The assessment of the external environment (McKay 2001; Oloyo et al. 2016) focuses on a review of the following:
* The economic mainstay(s) and sociocultural attributed) of the host community(ies).
* Government policy on the functions and direction of polytechnic education in the country.
* The country's political, demographic, and economic environments.
* The technical education subsector: size and quality of polytechnic education, strength of trade unions and student associations, access to polytechnic education, and competitors.
* Globalization, technological trends, and use of technology in curriculum development and delivery.
* Regulatory agencies including the federal Ministry of Education, NBTE, etc.
* Professional bodies and institutes.
STEP A: DEFINE THE SCOPE OF THE MASTER PLAN
In general, the assessment of the institution's internal and external environments reveals the threats to its survival and the opportunities for its future expansion and growth. In the case of a proposed institution, it provides the information required to plan its establishment and refine its vision and mission statements and objectives.
Next is the appraisal of the perceived threats and opportunities with a view to identifying the scope of the master plan and the key strategic issues to be addressed over the plan's life span. This process involves the following (McKay 2001):
* Review of the institution's values, vision, and objectives to ensure they are in accordance with its mandates.
* Specification of issues and questions to be addressed by the master plan in actualizing the institution's vision. The master plan preparation team must identify the key issues; for example, a key issue could be the need for new academic programs highly required by the labor market. These issues are prioritized to determine their level of importance and feasibility.
* Development of a framework for facilities and infrastructure growth.
* Determination of funding source(s) (e.g., government, private organization, internally generated revenue, corporate body) for master plan implementation.
STEP 5: DEVELOP CONCEPTUAL MODEL AND DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The master plan drafting team then develops a conceptual model and guiding design principles for the growth of the institution to effectively and efficiently deliver the institutional mandate. This involves (Adegbola 2007)
* Development of an abstract representation of the institutional layout in the form of land use and road networks that critically evaluates the following:
** Site features: site condition (climate, topography water body vegetation, location, shape, size, etc.) and existing development (road network, facilities, infrastructure).
** Activity relationships among land-use areas (academic area, administrative and central area, communal area, housing area, ground activity area).
** Growth patterns.
** Safety and security.
** Building codes.
** Flexibility and compatibility.
* Creation of design principles for the development of a detailed institutional layout considering the following (Kadiri 2007b):
** Academic goals.
** Land-use goals.
** Planning and design goals.
** Social and environmental impact.
** Infrastructure and facilities.
STEP 6: DEVELOP DETAILED MASTER PLAN
The team develops a detailed master plan showing the following elements:
* Site layout: This involves the production of a master plan layout showing (Babalola et al. 2016; Frostburg State University 2002):
** Proposed broad land use (academic area, administrative and central area, communal area, housing area, ground activity area, agricultural uses) that harmonizes the present and the future.
** Circulation and parking.
** Infrastructure and facilities.
* Utilities and services: The overall conditions and capacities of the existing utilities and services are assessed for their adequacy in meeting current demand and future development. Consequently, the following elements are examined (Babalola et al. 2016; Frostburg State University 2002):
** Water supply (potable water demand forecast, water generation, water storage, water pumping facilities, distribution network).
** Electric power supply (energy demand forecast, primary and alternative sources of power, electricity distribution network).
** Telecommunications (population demand forecast, telecommunications distribution system, telecommunications distribution plan).
** Solid waste management (solid waste generation forecast, solid waste disposal, recycling).
** Sanitary sewer (sanitary waste generation forecast, sanitary sewer distribution system, sanitary sewer mains and channels, sanitary sewer distribution plan).
** Storm sewer (storm water generation forecast, storm water distribution system, storm sewer mains and channels, storm sewer distribution plan).
** Firefighting service system.
STEP 7: HOLD REVIEW SESSION
Next is a review session in which the master plan preparation team meets with the client who commissioned the project for a presentation and critique of the plan draft to ensure it agrees with the institution's objectives.
STEP 8: IMPLEMENT MASTER PLAN
In view of the envisioned significant financial outlay required to actualize the master plan, it is important to complement it with a strategic plan. The strategic plan prioritizes and apportions the execution of the long list of projects in the master plan within the life span of both working documents. Further, the strategic plan states the cost of executing each project and the source of its funding.
In the case of an existing institution that may need to respond to some crucial changes in its external environment, the process flow chart depicted in figure 1 might be abridged as shown in figure 2. In the case of Nigerian higher education, some of the developments in the external environment that would warrant the revision of an existing master plan include failure to pass the NBTE accreditation test due to major infrastructure and/or facility deficiencies; increasing demand for polytechnic education and the need to increase carrying capacity to widen access; demand for new academic programs/courses because of increased demand by industry for new skills; and reduction in the capital subvention due to a cut in the budgetary allocation by the proprietor or funding body.
REVISION OF THE MASTER PLAN OF AN EXISTING POLYTECHNIC: A CASE STUDY OF THE FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC, ILARO, NIGERIA
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, ESTABLISHMENT, AND ADMINISTRATION
The Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, was established by Decree No. 33 of July 25, 1979 (now The Federal Polytechnics Act 1990). This instrument allows a polytechnic to perform the following functions:
To provide full-time or part-time courses of instruction and training in technology, applied science, commerce and management; and in such other fields of applied learning relevant to the needs of the development of Nigeria in the area of industrial and agricultural production and distribution and for research in the development and adaptation of techniques as the Council may from time to time determine. To arrange conferences, seminars and study groups relative to the fields of learning specified... ; to perform such other functions as in the opinion of the Council may serve to promote the objectives of the polytechnic. (LawNigeria.com, n.d., [section] 2 (1))
The Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, occupies 898.116 hectares. It runs academic programs of study in the fields specified in the mandate at the National and Higher National Diploma levels. When the Governing Council called for revision of the existing master plan in 2014, the polytechnic had 4,303 students and 762 staff.
At the apex of the overall administration and management of the polytechnic is the Governing Council, the governing authority vested with the custody, control, and disposition of all the institution's property and finances. Next in line are the Academic Board and the Polytechnic Management Committee. The rector, the chief executive of the institution, heads both as chairman. The board is responsible for the direction and management of academic matters, including the regulation of admissions and the award of certificates and diplomas, scholarships, prizes, and other academic distinctions. The principal officers comprise the Polytechnic Management Committee through which they manage non-academic matters.
The organizational structure of the polytechnic includes five academic schools and 13 service units. Heads of these units report directly to the rector.
The five schools are Pure & Applied Science, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Management Studies, and Part-time Studies. Headed by a dean, each school consists of not fewer than four academic departments. For purposes of control and coordination, the departments link with the central administration through their respective deans.
The service units include the Registry (the central hub of the administration), Library, Bursary, Works & Services, Medical Centre, Academic and Physical Planning Unit, the Directorate of Student Affairs, Polytechnic Consultancy & Industrial Services, Internal Audit, Directorate of Linkage & Affiliation, Entrepreneurship Developmental Centre, Centre for Research & Development, and World Bank STEP-B Project Centre.
The institution is managed by a committee system as provided for in the Federal Polytechnics Act (1990) or Decree No. 33 (1979). Consequently, the Governing Council, the Academic Board, and the management run the institution's affairs through several statutory standing committees and necessary ad-hoc committees.
REVISION OF THE POLYTECHNIC'S MASTER PLAN
The process outlined in figure 2 was adopted as the procedure for the revision of the institution's existing master plan. Highlights of the revision process are described below.
* Step l: In addition to the NBTE's call for the revision of the master plans of Nigerian polytechnics as a condition for receiving the government's special budgetary capital subventions, the institution's Governing Council noted that the existing master plan was outdated (1979-2014) and the infrastructure and facilities were grossly inadequate to meet the increasing demand for polytechnic education. Consequently, polytechnic management embarked on a revision of the existing plan to meet the challenge of expanding access to tertiary education through the introduction of new academic programs while ensuring accreditation requirements were met.
* Step 2: Polytechnic management formed a master plan review team with membership (i.e., professionals) drawn from Academic and Physical Planning, Works & Services, and the Departments of Architecture Technology, Urban & Regional Planning, Estate Management & Valuation, Quantity Surveying, Surveying & Geo-informatics, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. The team was charged with revising the existing master plan and producing one that would chart the course for development over the next 15 years (2016-2030).
* Step 3: The master plan review team obtained and appraised all necessary documents related to the implementation of the previous master plan, status of existing facilities and infrastructure, accreditation status of existing academic programs, strength of staff, student enrolment statistics and records and their management, and instruments (laws) of establishment including their amendments. The team also reviewed external environmental factors including governmental policy on polytechnic education, funding patterns, and the policies of the regulating agency (i.e., the NBTE) regarding the accreditation of programs and institutions. The synthesis of these reviews revealed the key strategic issues to be addressed in the revised plan. These helped establish a baseline for the development of the new master plan in support of the campus's continued growth over the next 15 years.
* Step 4: It was decided that the revised master plan would provide for infrastructure and facilities to support 25 additional academic programs, total student enrolment of approximately 13,000, staffing levels of 3,500, enhancement of open spaces, adjustment and extension of the road network, and provision of staff and student accommodation.
* Step 5: Three possible growth scenarios were explored, and a preferred alternative was selected following an environmental impact evaluation. The preferred concept was a design for infrastructure and facilities that would accommodate the anticipated additional academic programs and projected staff and student populations. The new plan adhered to the majority of the design principles established in the first master plan. However, a modification was made to the road network in which a road was terminated and a new route created to accommodate the adopted growth pattern. Also, provisions were made for accommodation of both students and staff, and open spaces were re-evaluated to give new character to an improved academic and social environment.
* Step 6: The draft of the revised master plan was prepared for the first critique session.
* Step 7: The draft was presented for evaluation at a conference of all stakeholders including the master plan review team; polytechnic management; dean of Student Affairs; representatives of the Staff and Students' Union, Academic Board, host community, and Governing Council; and a representative of the Alumni Association. Feedback from the critique session was used in preparing the final document.
* Step 8: The Governing Council approved and launched the revised master plan.
From the foregoing, it may be concluded that the adoption and implementation of an appropriate master plan guarantees the realization of the institution's vision and mission. However, frequently changing characteristics in the internal and external environments require an existing institution to assess its weaknesses and strengths and both a new and existing institution to assess threats and opportunities. Key elements and a step-by-step approach to preparing an effective master plan in both cases have been presented in this article. However, the polytechnic's proprietor and/or management need to agree on the draft master plan before its adoption.
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by Ayodeji Oloyo
AYODEJI OLOYO is currently a lecturer III in the Department of Architecture Technology at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro. He was formerly in the Academic and Physical Planning Department of the polytechnic as an architect I where he was involved in the development of infrastructures and academic programs.
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|Title Annotation:||FEATURE ARTICLE|
|Publication:||Planning for Higher Education|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2018|
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