Even if it’s just words, the U of R’s strat plan has good ones.
Author: Sydney McWilliams
After diligently sitting down and reading through the 24-page PDF file that is the University of Regina’s 2015-20 strategic plan, peyak aski kikawinaw, I have come to a few conclusions. First of all, while their plan sounds like a solid and well-thought out idea for the future of the institution, it seems like it really is the ’dream’ idea of what any university would want to aspire to.
Their main vision statement is like the tagline for a cheesy commercial: “The University of Regina aspires to be a national leader in developing educated contributors, career-ready learners, and global citizens, and in generating meaningful, high-impact scholarship.” Change the name of the school and you can basically apply it to anywhere, even though it starts with a fraught attempt at a philosophical notion the rest of the plan is not a letdown.
The authors of the strategic plan define the University’s top priorities as Student Success, Research Impact, and Commitment to our Communities. Student success is something I imagined most universities strived for from the beginning, but I am glad an effort is being made to make the University a “vibrant, challenging and stimulating” learning environment. I just know stimulated is not the way I would describe sitting through some classes. Details of the student success plan include things like developing and implementing plans to help students transition into university and evaluating student support services. Along with many other things detailed and outlined, I think the whole plan sounds like a fantastic initiative.
The plan also includes a section to increase Indigenous learning throughout the school. The supporting actions for this plan include providing workshops to all departments and faculties to help them understand how to Indigenise their teaching, as well as offering courses in programs that address Indigenous concepts. It does not specifically outline what this would entail and how a lot of these plans would be carried out. Being culturally aware is an important part of life, and having knowledge of how Aboriginal people live is important in our society, but I also believe people paying tuition to attend a post-secondary institution have some right to take classes and learn about what they choose. As long as nothing is forced on people, having those opportunities at our school will make it a more inviting and diverse place; this will benefit everybody.
Strengthening support for research at the University of Regina, and focusing on community commitment are essential to minting a good reputation as a university, and it was fantastic to see how well laid-out the plan was as I read through the details. Included in the community commitment section is a plan to have extended hours for campus access, a great idea for those people who work odd hours and need the time to get to the library or study.
The U of R’s new strategic plan, while slightly vague on some details, is solid in its framework and notions. I am glad to see the University listening to students and faculty alike to address some issues and to make itself a better place. The issues addressed are key to improving the school as whole. We can’t expect everything to get better overnight, but this plan gave me some glimmer of hope that things are being done. The whole plan is a big undertaking for five years, and they are going to have to put wheels into motion if they don’t want to be making the same promises by the time 2020 rolls around.