Strategy for Excellence, Equity & Enrichment in Service (SEEES)

SEEES

As Queen’s largest faculty with 30 departments of varying size and complexity, and in light of fast-growing and diversifying demands on staff that cannot always be accommodated within units, a more equitable and consistent approach to service and support is increasingly essential for the Faculty of Arts & Science.

Under the guiding principle of maintaining current staffing levels, solutions to this emergent issue will be developed in close consultation with departments to align with the FAS Strategic Plan. Specifically, existing structures and resources will be collaboratively reimagined to:

  • Enrich the student experience by ensuring equitable, consistent access to critical services
  • Enable a dynamic teaching and research environment by providing faculty members with appropriate and consistent resources and support
  • Maximize organizational efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Increase staff support and career-path opportunities
  • Provide units with equitable levels of support to meet key, emerging functions (eg: accommodations, remote learning support, research support etc)

This approach will be rooted in fairness and a strong commitment to supporting our people as departments collectively strive for excellence in teaching, research and service.

 

In addition to the concepts outlined above, these guiding principles will be employed throughout the project. All activities will:

  • Ensure staff feel valued, recognized and connected to the faculty through ongoing professional development and career pathways while maintaining current staff levels.
  • Adhere to our commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity.
  • Gain departments’ cooperation and collaboration through clear identification and articulation of optimal organization design, including service level improvements, productive resource allocation, and other benefits.
  • Engage students, faculty, and staff in decision-making and be open and transparent with regard to how decisions are made.
  • Identify and update position summaries to reflect the skills and abilities needed to move the faculty forward to achieve our strategic priorities.
  • Think and act using an evidence-based approach with ambition, creativity and teamwork on behalf of the Faculty of Arts & Science.
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As with any large-scale project, this will take time, patience, and teamwork. Below is a summary of the four primary project phases, and how you can expect each to unfold.

For details on specific, upcoming opportunities for your voice to be heard, see “SEEES The Day! Help Shape Your FAS.” In the meantime, if you have questions or ideas to share, please contact Maryanne Wainman, Project Manager, Organizational Design.

Nov 2020 – Feb 2021: DEFINE (Complete) 

Through preliminary consultation with Dept. Heads and Mangers/Administrators, we have begun to define and understand some of the greatest challenges and opportunities currently facing our faculty.

The following functions have been identified as having the greatest potential to alleviate strain, increase staff/faculty support, and enrich the student experience if resourced appropriately:

  • Student Accommodations
  • Academic Integrity
  • Remote & Online Learning Support
  • Experiential Learning Support
  • Marketing & communications (including website design, and Social Media)
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • IT Services
  • Facilities Management
  • Advancement
  • Research Support 

March – June 2021: DISCOVER (Complete)

This phase of the project was all about discovering and learning more about the experiences, perspectives and needs of current staff, faculty, and students. Information collected via surveys, small group discussions, and strategic data analysis has been used to expand our shared understanding of emerging challenges and opportunities. 

At the same time, we have uncovered best-practices at comparator higher-education institutions through benchmarking research.

July - Dec 2021: DESIGN (In progress)

Using the information and insights collected in the discovery phase, we are working collaboratively with stakeholder groups (via workshops, focus groups, Thought Exchange etc.) to explore challenges and opportunities in more depth and begin to design solutions and articulate success measures.

Jan 2022 onwards: DO!

By January 2022, we hope to begin implementing solutions. This will be an iterative process that will take place over many months; solutions will be tested and refined on a smaller scale before eventually being employed faculty-wide.

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The information below summarizes key, upcoming occasions when we will be seeking FAS staff/faculty input and involvement as we develop a Strategy for Excellence, Equity & Enrichment in Service (SEEES). Please note that this list will be updated on an ongoing basis, so continue to check back for the most up-to-date information.

The planning team is committed to providing timely, relevant updates, and we look forward to working with you and learning from your perspectives!

June 2021

Department Heads & Associate Deans meeting

  • Objectives: review emerging challenges and opportunities; discuss next steps; begin to imagine our future and conditions for success to best support our people.

Department Managers/Administrators meeting

  • Objectives: review emerging challenges and opportunities; discuss next steps; begin to imagine our future and conditions for success to best support our people.

FAS staff survey

  • Objectives: better understand emerging challenges and opportunities from the staff perspective; solicit staff interest in helping to design solutions.

July - Sept 2021

Solutions design – Phase One (“Challenges & Opportunities” focus groups)

  • Objective 1: explore emerging challenges and opportunities in more depth, with a view to collaboratively designing solutions for “Excellence, Equity and Enrichment in Service”, with input from Dept. Heads, Managers/Administrators and staff.
  • Objective 2: bring staff together from across FAS who perform similar functions to develop common understanding and language around possible synergies and areas for support.

“Champions” recruitment

  • Objective: recruit staff and/or faculty members to help develop and champion solutions within their respective units.

SEEES Staff Survey Summary of Results

Survey Summary of Results

Oct - Dec 2021

Solutions design – Phase Two (“Process & Policy” focus groups & workshops)

  • Objective: based on recommendations from Summer 2021 focus groups, continue solutions design and development of associated processes/policies with input from Dept. Heads, Managers/Administrators and Staff Champions.

Ongoing

Updates from the project planning team

  • Objective: ensure all FAS staff and faculty are informed and aware of key developments, actions needed, and upcoming opportunities for input/participation.

Additional staff feedback & idea sharing

  • Objective: provide FAS staff and faculty with opportunities to share feedback and ideas at key junctures throughout the planning process (via Thought Exchange, focus groups, one-on-one conversations etc.)
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Why is this a priority for the faculty? 

In recent years, demands on departments for increased and customized student support have grown significantly, including academic accommodations, academic integrity, support for experiential learning opportunities, and (due to COVID-19) remote learning support.
 
Many departments have found it increasingly difficult to keep up with these ever-diversifying demands. The pandemic has further compounded these issues, adding additional capacity strain that cannot always be accommodated within individual units. All of this has led to inequities in administrative support, as well as an inconsistent student experience between departments.
 
Faculty-wide, staff are managing heavy workloads and managers have noted increased levels of stress, burnout, and challenges with ensuring adequate vacation/medical coverage within their teams. Staff have also voiced concerns about lack of career-path opportunities and mobility.

This project will address these challenges by developing a more equitable and consistent approach to service and support. In alignment with the FAS Strategic Plan, we will assess current service and support, examine opportunities to streamline service delivery, improve communications, more effectively harness technology, and develop new processes.

Why now?

As part of the FAS Strategic Plan (2019-24), the faculty has committed to “supporting our people” by building and sustaining transparent and fair learning and working environments where continuous learning and professional development can flourish.

This project will help to realize these goals and address ongoing challenges for departments that have been further amplified by the pandemic (eg: remote learning support).

What does “developing a more equitable and consistent approach to service and support” look like in practice? 

The short answer is, we’re not sure yet! Beginning in July 2021, we plan to work collaboratively with departments to brainstorm and develop solutions based on shared interests and opportunities.

In the meantime, preliminary conversations with Dept. Heads and Managers/Administrators have identified the following functions as having the greatest potential to alleviate strain, increase staff/faculty support, and enrich the student experience if resourced appropriately:

  • Student Accommodations
  • Academic Integrity
  • Remote & Online Learning Support
  • Experiential Learning Support
  • Marketing & communications (including website design, and Social Media)
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • IT Services
  • Facilities Management
  • Advancement
  • Research Support

It sounds as though this could mean structural changes; should I be concerned about job security?

Maintaining current, overall staffing levels is one of the guiding principles of this project. Solutions will be developed in close consultation with departments, with a strong commitment to increasing staff support and career-path opportunities. Indeed, we will continue to support staff as a top priority and invest in meaningful and impactful learning and development opportunities.

Will my role, responsibilities, and/or reporting relationship be impacted?

In order to maintain current staffing levels, it’s possible that some positions may require adjustments to align with new opportunities and emerging solutions. Wherever possible, changes will be made with a view to increasing overall staff support and enhancing career-path opportunities.

Any staff whose positions require adjustments will be provided with plenty of advance notice and appropriate training, support, and/or peer-mentoring as needed to succeed in their revised roles.

Will I have opportunities to provide input?

Absolutely! The success of this project is largely dependent on your input; your insights, perspectives, and collective expertise will be essential to understanding common challenges and opportunities, and eventually developing solutions.

We plan to reach out numerous times over the coming months for your feedback. For details on specific, upcoming occasions for your voice to be heard, see “SEEES The Day! Help Shape Your FAS.”

The planning team is committed to providing timely, relevant updates, and looks forward to working with you and learning from your perspectives! In the meantime, if you have questions or ideas to share, please contact Maryanne Wainman, Project Manager, Organizational Design.

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