Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,
I would like to thank the approximately 150 people who came to the Holiday Open House at 179 John Street on December 12th. Last week, we also had the opportunity to say farewell to Diane Massicotte after 35 years of service at Laurentian, and to Robert Bourgeois four years after joining Laurentian. As I said in my blog posting of June 9th, I cannot emphasize enough how much Diane has had such a positive impact on our university community. She was any President’s dream Assistant, always available, reliable, proactive, knowledgeable and insightful. Likewise, Robert was a highly valued member of the Executive Team who served with distinction as Acting President in 2008-09. He led the development of the Three Year Plan to Regain Sustainability and played a key role in drafting the business plan for the proposed Laurentian School of Architecture. Robert was instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition when I joined the University in April 2009.
In today’s blog posting, I would like to discuss the development of Laurentian’s next strategic plan.
In June 2008, the Board of Governors approved the University’s current (2008-11) Strategic Plan.
In October 2009, the Board streamlined the content of the strategic plan from 132 to 50 strategic actions (10 which would do the most to advance national recognition, 10 which would do the most to make Laurentian the university of choice, 10 which foster strong student engagement, 10 which would enhance our responsiveness to the communities we serve, and 10 others which were strategic imperatives). Ten performance indicators were endorsed as well to measure progress over time.
I am pleased to report that after consultation with members of Senate, the Board of Governors approved the process that will guide the formulation of the 2012-17 strategic plan for approval by the Board. This strategic plan for 2012-17 will guide the future of the University.
The Board’s Executive Committee recommended some principles to guide the process. The new strategic plan will focus on what will be Laurentian’s Purpose, Values, Aspirations and Results for 2012-17, building on our unique strengths and opportunities. It must answer questions such as:
- Why does Laurentian University exist?
- What do we do now that is core to Laurentian? What are our current strengths? What do we need to put into place to build on our strengths?
- What could we do that would be different and would be difficult to imitate elsewhere?
It must contain measurable outcomes so that progress can be monitored over the period of 2012-2017. The new strategic plan is to be informed by the updates to the academic plan and the research plan contemplated for 2011. The Board is mindful that the process informs the outcome and is not itself the outcome and, as such, wants the strategic plan to be focused while engaging everyone in discussions about our strategic directions for 2012-2017. The intention is to use as much as possible existing structures and committee meetings to inform the strategic plan.
The Board also approved the scope of the next strategic plan. It will be:
- For the period 2012-2017;
- No more than five pages long;
- Focused on what will be different in five years compared to now;
- Used as a framework (Purpose, Values, Aspirations and Results) for guiding budget decisions and program approvals;
- Connected to the four key goals endorsed by the Board of Governors in October 2009;
- Centred on what differentiates Laurentian from other Universities or “what Laurentian could be the first to do”;
- Building on Laurentian’s strengths;
- Purpose-driven, relevant and bold;
- Ambitious and achievable;
- Explicit about what we will do and what we will not do;
- Measurable over time;
- Focused on unique opportunities for all sectors of the University; and
- A living document that is reviewed and assessed regularly (i.e., every two years).
The Board also specified that the strategic plan will not be:
- A composite of everything we already do at Laurentian;
- The status quo;
- A list of every participant’s hopes and ideas;
- An Implementation Plan;
- An exercise detached from decisions over the period from 2012-2017
- Relevant to a few and irrelevant to many; or
The Board approved the creation of a Strategic Plan Steering Committee. The purpose of this 24 member Steering Committee will be to ensure that:
- A 2012-17 Strategic Plan is recommended for approval by December 2011.
- The recommended Strategic Plan is consistent with the Scope approved today by the Board.
- The development of the Strategic Plan is consistent with the Principles and Process approved today by the Board.
At this time, I am inviting faculty members and students interested in serving on the Steering Committee to inform the Registrar and Secretary of Senate, Ron Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), by January 14th. Senate is expected to appoint at its next meeting on January 18th four faculty members and four students to the Steering Committee.
The Board’s Nominating Committee is seeking volunteers for one of the following positions:
- 4 members of the Board of Governors;
- 1 Vice-President;
- 1 Dean;
- 1 Canada Research Chair;
- 1 member of the Leadership Group from a non-academic sector;
- 1 support staff;
- 1 alumnus/alumna;
- 2 community members: one from Sudbury and one from Simcoe catchment areas;
- Chair of LUNEC or a designate.
Interested individuals for these positions are asked to contact Dr Anne-Marie Mawhiney (email@example.com) by January 14th.
The following individuals will also serve on the Steering Committee:
- President and Vice-Chancellor (Committee Chair);
- Vice-Provost, Simcoe;
- Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Programs;
- Registrar and Secretary of Senate;
- Special Advisor to the President (supporting the Steering Committee).
The Steering Committee is expected to meet six times between February and November 2011 on the following tentative dates: February 17, April 4, May 25, August 31, September 28, November 10. These meetings could include opportunities to receive submissions by interested parties. The Board’s Nominating Committee will finalize the composition in January, taking into account the complementary of the skill set, gender and linguistic balance.
The Board has approved a process which includes town-hall meetings open to all, focus groups with students planned for March 28th, targeted external consultations that may be necessary with key informants and groups including alumni, consultations with universities federated with Laurentian. A discussion paper will be developed to solicit views from the internal and external community. Members of the Leadership Group will work with their managers and councils, committees and teams to provide input into the Strategic Plan using existing processes. The intent is to be inclusive of all who want to participate through councils, written submissions, team meetings, town halls etc. The Steering Committee will review submissions received throughout the process. Submissions will be particularly encouraged before each town-hall meeting. Senate will receive a process update in April, vote electronically in June on key issues/questions before a first draft is developed, and have the opportunity to comment on a draft in October.
As this will be my last blog posting in 2010, I wish to you and your loved ones safe and happy holidays.
As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.