At Queen’s, we talk a lot about being the quintessential balanced academy. It’s a vision that sets us apart from the country’s other universities. But what it means is simple: we want Queen’s to be “the Canadian research-intensive university with a transformative learning experience.” We want Queen’s to be a destination of choice for top-notch researchers and graduate students, but also for bright and curious undergraduates who will make the most of the research-informed education that faculty members deliver. With a well-earned reputation already in place, it might seem that simply building on past success will ensure such a future.
But as I wrote two years ago in The Third Juncture, in these times of economic change, technological advance, and the globalization of education and knowledge, we cannot simply take that continued success for granted. Increased competition and significant financial challenges threaten our ability to achieve our vision and to strengthen the student experience and our research prominence.
That’s why, over the past few months, I have worked closely with the Provost and the Board of Trustees to develop a Strategic Framework to guide the university’s decision making over the next five years – from now through until 2019. Queen’s will have to make deliberate, and sometimes difficult, choices to ensure that we continue to advance our vision.
The Strategic Framework serves as a capstone to a sustained period of planning at Queen’s. It saw the development of the Senate-approved Academic Plan and Strategic Research Plan, as well as the submission of our Proposed Mandate Statement and the implementation of our activity-based budget model. At last weekend’s Board meeting, the Trustees approved the Campus Master Plan, which will guide the development of campus infrastructure for the next several decades. The framework is closely aligned with all of these foundational documents and initiatives, reflecting their values and ideals.
At its core, the Strategic Framework identifies four strategic drivers – or priority areas – where we will focus our attention as we move forward: the student learning experience, research prominence, financial sustainability and internationalization. Essentially, these priorities will help support our vision and guide our decision-making over the next five years. The Framework also lays out specific objectives for each of the strategic drivers and identifies a series of performance metrics that will serve as yardsticks to measure our progress as we move forward.
Of course, the framework is not meant to be unduly prescriptive. Ultimately each of our faculties, schools and service units, enabled by our incentive-based budget model, will be responsible for determining the specific actions they will take to support the university’s objectives and overall vision. While all faculties and support units will be expected to align their priorities with those of the institution and will be regularly evaluated for their contributions to advancing the university as a whole through their own and collaborative, cross-unit activities, there is enormous scope for local innovation and creativity. In short, we all have a role to play in the university’s success over the coming years.
Here are a few links that might be of interest: