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By Karen Herland
Senators had the opportunity to discuss and debate the most recent draft of the university’s strategic plan as it is being finalized for presentation to the Board of Governors this June.
Reaching Up, Reaching Out outlines a strategy of goals and sample actions to take us through to 2014. It builds on months of consultations, open meetings, solicited comments and the work of various committees.
“This document differs from earlier versions. It is much more complete and includes analyses of our internal and external context,” said President Judith Woodsworth by way of introduction at the April 17 meeting. The new draft plan specifies the metrics that are the basis for the current set of assumptions for our position and establishes benchmarks to determine our progress moving forward.
The proposed plan incorporates several ideas and recommendations of three Presidential Panels (on student experience, employee engagement and community engagement). For instance, developing more formal ways to recognize student, staff and faculty community engagement. Similarly, student diversity is recognized as an enhancement of the academic experience of all students, but also as a challenge in terms of core academic skills.
The document provides a schematic of the various other levels of planning (financial, infrastructure, recruitment of staff, students and faculty and communications) that feed into the planning process, keeping it a “living, working document.”
Academic planning is central. This same Senate meeting saw Provost and Vice-President Academic David Graham deposit a lengthy report produced by his working group on Teaching and Learning after its review by the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities. This report as well as Mobilizing Knowledge, the Strategic Research Plan and plans governing Human Resources, recruitment and retention, government relations, and communications, will be used to inform the evolution and implementation of Reaching Up, Reaching Out.
Woodsworth encouraged Senators to comment on the much-expanded draft document, “I am looking forward to more feedback out of today’s discussion.” While the edges of this discussion touched on a desire to be more bold, and a concern over financing the plan, Peter Stoett, Political Science Professor, one of the first to comment on the document, expressed the general sentiment that the plan had “come a long way and it is clear that input has been integrated constructively.”
Senators also expressed a desire to move into the implementation phase of the plan. Woodsworth encouraged comments until May 1 in order to incorporate them into the final version of the plan to be presented at the next Senate meeting before going to the Board for approval in June.