Situational Context Analysis, AKA, environmental scanning is an essential component of integrated planning.  An exploration and analysis of the internal and external factors affecting an institution. External forces and trends can be categorized as: social forces, technological forces, economic forces, environmental forces, and political forces.  Internal forces are linked to institutional context, namely the mission, vision, core values, and institutional resources dedicated to meeting the mission.  All forms of integrated planning, such as strategic planning, operational planning, budget planning, and unit planning benefit from systematic environmental scanning.

One way to scan the environment is to review national or international reports focused on the forces influencing higher education.  The links below you will lead you to a number of reports, categorized by topic or source, that provide important information related to the nature of the environment impacting higher education.