Strategic consultation process gathers steam 

As the strategic planning consultation gathers steam, it's a good opportunity to take stock of where we are and where we're going.

The first of two sets of open meetings took place in October. The suggestions made by those present followed several common threads. Several mentioned the primacy of faculty and staff to the mission of the university – recognition and retention of both groups (particularly new faculty members and senior administrators) was seen as important in defining the future of Concordia.

Finding ways to increase the university's profile and reputation, both within and outside of the university, was also mentioned several times in different ways. Improving the quality of the research produced at the university was stated as important, but so was remaining accessible to part-time students.

The current consultation builds on a series of initiatives that began in 2006, prior to Judith Woodsworth taking the helm as Concordia’s President. The results of those initiatives are available as supporting documents on the strategic planning website and nourish the current framework of the consultation.

A qualitative survey of full- and part-time faculty in Dec. 2006 identified nearly a dozen key areas for further reflection. Working groups were established to look at several of these areas in detail, and the resulting recommendations were sent to the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities a year ago. That report is also online.

Under the leadership of the Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies, Faculties completed a strategic research plan allowing Concordia to identify its research priorities, and under the leadership of the Provost, they began work on identifying their departmental, Faculty, and institutional signature areas. The Strategic Research Plan, available online, and the emerging thinking about Concordia’s institutional signature areas continue to inform the process.

In addition, the Provost has convened a working group on Teaching and Learning, whose report will be posted online and will become part of the strategic planning process early in the new year.

All of this material, much of it certainly characterized as “grass roots”, feeds into the current consultation by helping identify the broad priorities for the university. It is those directions that are currently being discussed.

All members of the community are encouraged to attend open meetings (see dates dates), comment on the website, or to address Woodsworth directly at with ideas about the university's identity and direction, regardless of whether they see their ideas reflected in the current discussion.

Once the broad strokes are defined, an action plan can be developed (a sample is currently on the website) that will integrate some of the nuts and bolts recommendations from the previous working groups. The current consultation will define priorities from amongst the occasionally contradictory suggestions that normally emerge from processes such as this one. By next June, the final plan will be presented to the Board of Governors for approval.

In addition to the open meetings and comment opportunities, a random selection of people who support the university's function in different ways have been invited to a pair of world café events held on Nov. 11 and 12. The intention is to get people with different relationships to the university's academic mission to discuss some key questions face-to-face. Those who received invitations, which will be followed up by emails and phone calls, are urged to respond and engage in the forums.

To read more about the process, consult the documents mentioned here or add your own go to:


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