By Doug Sweet
After two years of consultations and presentations of preliminary versions, early this fall, Provost Anthony Masi will present to the McGill community “ASAP 2012: Achieving Strategic Academic Priorities.” ASAP 2012 is an iteration of the strategic academic priorities and plan. It builds on the 2006 document “Strengths and Aspirations,” which has ensured that University-wide and Faculty-specific resource allocations were designed to achieve top academic goals and objectives.
According to Masi, ASAP 2012 “offers a road map for advancing McGill’s academic leadership among the world’s great universities and will set our strategic directions for the next five years.” He also emphasized that like its predecessor, ASAP 2012 must be “flexibly adaptable.”
The plan will be posted on the Provost’s website before the end of September: www.mcgill.ca/provost/asap2012. The McGill community is encouraged to provide comments via a website feedback form or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Masi said the updated plan “recognizes that academic priorities will drive the University’s multi-year budget and other resource allocations, and should provide the structure from which other University planning activities are or will be derived.” He added that “the plan is supposed to serve as a catalyst for unbiased analysis and measurement so that we can understand potential contradictions and deal explicitly with necessary trade-offs.”
ASAP 2012 was developed with wide-ranging and robust consultation across the McGill community. Beginning in spring 2010 and continuing through 2011-2012, the Office of the Provost established an extensive program of outreach and communications that engaged students, faculty, and staff, academic and governance leaders, including multiple presentations to Senate, in a process that produced thoughtful consideration and useful feedback.
Six work groups that were given the task of investigating specific areas for in-depth exploration and follow-up offered additional recommendations. A McGill faculty member chaired each work group. The work groups brought together more than 100 professors, administrative and support staff, and students from every Faculty and major administrative unit on campus and engaged in further outreach and consultation activities that reached hundreds of others.
Masi’s consultation process produced a number of valuable lessons:
• There is considerable interest on campus in furthering opportunities for collaboration across McGill Faculties, departments, centres and units.
• There is a strong desire for more effective co-ordination of, and communication about, McGill’s extensive community-engagement efforts.
• The University is poised to take advantage of, and harness, technological advances that are rapidly transforming research, teaching and learning at home and around the globe.
ASAP 2012 reflects previous University planning efforts, the campus-wide feedback, and lessons learned. The document is organized according to five broad goals, three cross-cutting themes, and 10 major strategic objectives, and proposes actions designed to strengthen campus initiatives and advance McGill’s aspirations.
The goals emphasize McGill’s efforts to maintain world leadership in research and creative activity; develop stronger collaborations across Faculties, schools, departments, and other units; extend outreach in areas of research, scholarship, and educational strength; enhance the quality of services and support to students, faculty and staff; and further a culture of inclusion that welcomes diversity of origin and ideas.
The three themes – Internationalization, Sustainability and Innovation – offer the means for achieving a variety of valued ends: enhancing the quality and scholarship and discovery; producing globally aware and innovative graduates who can become engaged alumni; and furthering a commitment to service that addresses, proposes and contributes sustainable solutions to world problems.
The 10 strategic objectives aim to ensure continual faculty renewal; enhance undergraduate and graduate student educational and experiential environments; implement transformative research programs (based on the Strategic Research Plan implemented by Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Dr. Rose Goldstein); apply the best administrative practices to all operations, both academic and administrative; enhance career development opportunities; measure progress for improved performance; extend and promote McGill’s service to Quebec, Canada, and the global community; encourage diversity; and reinvigorate professional programs.
Masi will formally present ASAP 2012 to Senate in October.