Stay the course: peyak aski kikawinaw


New strategic plan to build on the past

Out with the old, and in with the new! / Brett Nielsen

Out with the old, and in with the new! / Brett Nielsen

When looking at the contents of the strategic plan of 2009-2014 and the new strategic plan of 2015-2020, there is not much difference. Both include the same basic goals and values. There is, however, one stark difference – thoroughness and concrete plans. This updated strategic plan, called peyak aski kikawinaw, Cree for “We are one with Mother Earth,” allows the university to “rise to the challenge we have set for ourselves” says President Vianne Timmons.

Timmons says that “The foundation of the strategic plan is a trio of pillars upon which the entire plan is constructed: student success, research impact, and commitment to our communities.” As well, underlying both plans is increasing the “indigenization and sustainability of the university.”

Our previous reporting on the strategic plan

Between the 2009 plan and the 2015 plan, there are major format changes for clarity. The new plan also now has an added “indicators of success” category to better inform the public of the plan’s goals and metrics for success. The 2009 document outlines what the university wanted to accomplish with little consideration as to how it would be accomplished. The 2015 document has fewer goals, but they are clearly defined with the means to accomplish those goals set out.

For example, in the 2009 plan one goal was outlined as “Promote and reward the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, and public service. Make the University widely known for excellence in all its activities” without any metrics to explain how they intended to do this except for mention of “recruitment and retention of excellent faculty, staff, and administrators.” This point is similar to many such broad statements through the report, which outline a vague goal, and gives a vague idea of how this will be achieved.

Instead of vague goals, the 2015 plan employs a more definitive approach to present its purpose. This new plan presents “the what, the result, and the how.”  For example, one goal is outlined as such: The what, “Strengthen support required for students and researchers to deliver high impact outcomes.” The result, “Increased funding and titled scholarships for supporting and recruiting high-calibre graduate students.” The how, “Increase the research funding budget.”

The 2015 plan represents an improved strategic plan that is more definitive than its predecessor. In contrast to the 2009 plan, the 2015 plan gives brief common sense plans to achieve its goals. Furthermore, it also outlines points of reference that allow the board of governors “to assess the failure and success of the plan.”

This plan shows that our university is learning and updating its strategic plans based on previous examples.

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