By Jane Van den Dries
Photos by Mike Pinder
A campus-wide event on Sept. 5, 2019 marked the official launch of Carleton University’s strategic planning process.
About 250 people attended “Carleton’s Strategy: The Next Chapter,” where the four co-chairs of the recently established Strategic Integrated Plan (SIP) Task Force introduced the planning process Carleton will undertake over the next year. The launch event featured a keynote by higher education expert and futurist, Ken Steele.
“Thank you for being here today and for caring about strategic planning,” said Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon.
“Planning matters and over time the strategies we develop become our reality. We are starting on a journey that will plant the seeds of our future successes.”
Renewing the Strategic Integrated Plan
Bacon reviewed the themes, goals and outcomes of the 2013-2018 Strategic Integrated Plan, “Collaboration, Leadership and Resilience: Sustainable Communities – Global Prosperity,” demonstrating that the vision and objectives laid out in the plan have now been realized.
That plan centered on four themes which remain essential to Carleton’s success: teaching excellence, research excellence, organizational excellence and continuing to be a student-centered institution.
“Our last plan was developed in 2012, and that was a remarkably different time – and the pace of change is accelerating”, said Bacon.
“Our task this year is to determine the directions we must take now so that we can be the best Carleton University we can be in five to 10 years. I’m excited that we will write this next chapter together.”
Four Collaborative Leaders Stepping up to the Challenge
Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Jerry Tomberlin, introduced the SIP Task Force co-chairs, who will lead the university through the strategic planning process over the next year.
“The co-chairs will be integral to the success of Carleton’s planning process,” said Tomberlin.
“Carleton is fortunate to be able to rely on leaders from across the university who are willing to step up to take on this important challenge. This is an exciting time for all of us to think strategically about Carleton’s future and we are eager to get started.”
The four co-chairs are Lorraine Dyke, deputy provost (Academic Operations and Planning); Betina Appel Kuzmarov, clerk of Senate; Patrice Smith, dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs; and Cindy Taylor, assistant vice-president, Human Resources. Together, they will lead a task force of 19 faculty, staff and students who are representative of Carleton’s faculties, research and student support, and administrative units.
Ways to Engage in the Process
Dyke said the task force is planning a broad consultative process that will help to develop the next Strategic Integrated Plan.
“The task force welcomes your feedback and comments at any point in this process,” she said.
“We have planned multiple ways for you to participate and encourage you to attend an upcoming event and send comments through our website. We are looking forward to a productive and engaging conversation about Carleton’s strengths and vision for the future throughout the fall term.”
The task force is hosting a guest speaker series to prompt members of the Carleton community to think strategically about significant topics related to higher education. Open consultation sessions have been scheduled and are available for registration. Later in the fall, themed consultation sessions will be scheduled based on feedback received through the open consultation events.
Thinking Forward: The Road Ahead for Higher Ed
Steele, a well-known expert on Canadian higher education and authority on strategic planning, led the audience through an interactive presentation.
He is the co-founder of Academica Group and the creator of Academica Top Ten, a leading news daily focused on Canadian higher education. Since leaving Academica in 2012, he has focused on public speaking and facilitation work as the founder of Eduvation Inc.
His talk, called “Thinking Forward: The Road Ahead for Higher Ed,” addressed emerging trends and forecasts for Canadian higher education.
Using vivid examples and interactive polling throughout his presentation, Steele illustrated several key trends and opportunities related to higher education, including experiential learning, student mental health, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other disruptive technologies, learning enterprises, simulated experiences, micro-credentials and competency-based education.
“We know that the road ahead is still under construction,” said Steele. “We don’t know exactly where higher education is going, because we’re still surveying the landscape and we don’t really know what we’re going to encounter until we get there.
“Every college or university should be thinking about mapping its own course and we don’t all have to take the same road. Strategic planning is your opportunity to figure out the route Carleton can take to get to where you want to be, which is one of the very creative and exciting things about this process – you get to do some lateral thinking to imagine where you want to go at this stage.”
“We have heard that Carleton is well-positioned because it has been dynamic and innovative, it has been partnering with industry and it has some resources to invest. You have a strategic planning opportunity here to shape what the future could look like and it’s exciting to see an institution willing to accept a certain level of risk and to think big.”
Updates to the strategic planning process will be posted on the Strategic Integrated Plan website.
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