Strategic planning: new phase 

By Karen Herland

The articulation of the university's strategic goals is moving from a passive to a more active stage. Newly constituted presidential panels will now identify and seek to fill gaps in the information collected.

Last fall, all members of the university community were encouraged to share their vision for Concordia in public meetings, more intimate world café settings, website posts or private conversations with President Judith Woodsworth, Provost David Graham or other members of the strategic planning team.

The people have spoken and their voices are evident in the reworking of the university's five-year strategic plan. The lastest version will be available on the strategic plan webpage.

“I am extremely grateful for the level of engagement of faculty, staff and students in the consultation process,” said Woodsworth. “We have received an overwhelming body of comments, totalling nearly 50 pages, which has been very helpful to us in moving forward with the development of our strategic plan.”

Since early December, members of the president's team have been sifting through emails, minutes of meetings and café conversations to identify common threads, overlooked points and reactions to the initial plan.

The reworked version of the plan responds to requests to tone down the jargon, better clarify goals and means of measuring success, ensure the role of staff is better defined and integrate the occasionally overlooked sectors of Concordia (such as the Libraries) into the overall objectives.

The plan aims to situate Concordia among the top comprehensive universities in the country and make it a preferred destination for students and faculty in a variety of identified fields of study.

Greater attention has been paid to research and creative activity. “We heard very clearly from our colleagues that Concordia’s strengths in this vital area needed more prominence in our plan,” said Graham. “We’ve also focused more sharply on the importance of our faculty and staff to our success and stated unambiguously that Concordia’s academic mission is paramount.”

The process still has a way to go before the president submits the plan to the Board of Governors for its approval in June.

Three presidential panels of five to six people, representing relevant sectors of the university and the broader community, will examine comments and input related to key areas within the plan:

• Student Experience chaired by former Dean of Students Donald Boisvert;
• Employee Engagement chaired by Associate VP Enrolment and Student Services Roger Côté;
• Community Engagement chaired by Associate VP Government Relations Russell Copeman.

“The three areas on which the panels will focus are very important to me, hence the name presidential. Members of each committee were selected based on the interest they have shown in the course of the consultation process,” said Woodsworth.

The panels will build on material collected to date, both in the open consultation process and prior to that via town hall meetings and strategic initiative reports produced over the last two years. In areas where information seems incomplete or contradictory, each panel is charged with soliciting submissions, holding limited or general consultations or otherwise seeking additional input.

As this material is gathered and choices are made, the action plan will be filled in, specifying targets, goals and resource allocation required to achieve the strategic objectives.

While this stage of the process provides for less extensive input, everyone is welcome to email panel chairs with their comments. The final set of objectives and action plan will evolve over the next few months so they can be reviewed by the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities and Faculty Councils before being endorsed by Senate, and ultimately brought before the Board.

To view the draft strategic plan and learn more about the presidential panels, go to


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