Strategic planners seek university-wide input 

By Barbara Black

The university community will be consulted on a set of strategic positions that reflect a determination to attract the brightest students and professors, forge closer links with the community at large, become an outstanding employer and make Concordia a leader in sustainability.

A strategic planning initiative has been in progress for nearly two years, and the time has come to discuss the progress made to date. The team that oversees the process will visit faculty councils on April 11 and 18, and hold open town hall meetings this month for faculty, students and staff.

The consultation will encourage discussion about Concordia’s direction, and provide the incoming president with as much information as possible about current thinking at Concordia.

The university is determined to provide an environment that is “dynamic, accessible, diverse, innovative, and friendly,” but the challenges are many. Boxed in by the rising cost of higher education and the lowest tuition in Canada, the university must work carefully to realize its goals.

Brad Tucker, Director of Institutional Planning, said the important thing at this point is that the whole Concordia community should agree on the university’s strategic position. The operational planning, i.e., how to realize those goals, will follow. “The second cannot be envisaged while discussions about the first are ongoing,” he said.

For example, if the university as a whole agrees that, to quote the SCAPP (Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities) report, “Concordia will be recognized for its signature programming, both with respect to current programs as well as to new ones,” steps will be devised as part of the operational process to ensure that this is so.

To take another example, this time from the section on faculty recruitment, “Concordia will be a leader in the development and deployment of research capacity.” The goals in the section on Concordia as an employer affirm that the university will be known for its transparency, the respect it shows its faculty and staff, and the strength of its internal communications structures.

This is the third phase of a five-phase process that began with the establishment of a steering committee in the summer of 2006. In the first phase, Tucker’s office consulted with professors to determine their priorities. In the second, committees of internal and external community members examined eight subject areas in depth.

The current third phase, called community collaboration and guidance, will be followed by “prioritization and validation.” The steering committee will go over the recommendations to determine their feasibility and what is necessary for their implementation. They will address resource allocation, linking the strategic priorities to the university’s annual operating plan.

The results of this fourth phase will be shown to the university community, and then validated by the President’s Executive Group, the faculty councils, University Senate and the Board of Governors.

A website will be launched next week to provide the discussion document, the SCAPP examination of the eight workgroup reports, and other background.

The dates and venues of the town hall meetings will be on Community members who cannot attend any of the meetings will be able to submit their comments online.


Concordia University