June 30, 2010
Dear Queen's Community,
On April 23rd, I sent a spring Update on Academic Planning to students, faculty and staff to explain the process leading to an Academic Plan for Queen's. This summer update will outline what has occurred to date and what will be happening over the summer and beyond.
The Academic Planning process began in January with a vision document I wrote called "Where Next?" I asked that faculties and administrative units respond to the document by sending their thoughts for their own plans by April.
Over the spring there were several staff, student, faculty and department meetings where additional input for the Academic Plan was gathered. An advisory committee composed of faculty, students and staff provided further feedback as did an email comments site where viewpoints and suggestions could be sent in, named or anonymously. Over the past few months I have also met with many academic units, and with individuals, on a wide variety of issues, including the academic plan. I have received many helpful suggestions on Where Next? and also on the process of Academic Planning itself.
Since May, six faculty members have been amalgamating Queen's community input. Over the next two months they will be holding Town Hall meetings and small group meetings to gain further insights and by the end of August they will have developed a set of recommendations that synthesizes the input of academic and administrative units, faculty, students and staff.
Over the past several months, concerns have been expressed that the time for consultations in particular areas of the university was insufficient over the winter; in particular the very diverse Faculty of Arts and Science, which did not have an existing strategic plan on which to build, was unable to conduct, in the time it was given, a full discussion within and between academic units. At the same time, it has become clear that the original timeline between September and December to finalize the Academic Plan may also have been unrealistically short.
Given the importance of the process-we are collectively setting the course for Queen's for the next decade or more-and the need to have the broadest possible discussion (including inter-departmental and cross-disciplinary dialogues that the winter process afforded little space for), I have decided on the basis of the community's collective advice, and with the agreement of the Academic Writing Team, that we should elongate the Academic Planning time horizon by several months.
Given this longer schedule, I will also be asking Senate to take an active and enhanced role in the development of the proposals from the Academic Writing Team into a full plan over the fall and winter term.
There will be further opportunities for wide discussion and consultation during this period. I am also pleased to note the recent creation of a student committee, chaired by the Rector, which will be working on developing a student perspective on, and responses to, the Academic Writing Team's proposals.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank students, faculty and staff for their interest in helping to shape the Academic Plan. I will send a further update on the planning process in the fall.
Wishing everyone a happy Canada Day, and an enjoyable summer, I would also like to thank the community for making my wife's and my first year back at Queen's a rich, exciting and intellectually rewarding experience.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor