With the creation of its first Academic Plan five years ago, Mount Royal had a strategic blueprint for successfully transforming from a college into a university.
With the 2012–2017 Academic Plan, launched earlier this year, Mount Royal has a new academic map for reaching its next goal — becoming Canada’s premier undergraduate university based on measures of student success and satisfaction.
The plan was created through extensive consultation with the University community and through the work of numerous committees, led by the Academic Planning Committee chaired by Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Robin Fisher.
“This second Academic Plan is confirming what we already agree is Mount Royal’s direction and then saying, ‘OK, how do we get there?’” Fisher says. “What kind of university do we want to be?”
Fisher says the plan is a series of recommendations that focus on teaching and learning and on student learning.
“Learning outcomes and assessment outcomes are at the core of the plan so we know what learning graduates are leaving with,” Fisher says.
Recommendations within the plan focus on themes including teaching and learning, programs, University and student profile, student supports and development, scholarship and research, communities and resources. The complete plan is available on MyMRU.
At two information sessions held in April to introduce the Academic Plan and the new Student Services, Plan, Fisher acknowledged that there had been some controversy around both the learning and the assessment outcomes.
“Just as learning outcomes and the assessment of outcomes are central to the plan, they were almost the centre of the discussion, too, and a lot of work was done by a lot of committees consulting and working through it,” Fisher says.
“It was a good, vigorous discussion. I think that’s the piece that people are still thinking about and the implementation’s going to be crucial. We’ve got to think about a way of implementing this that will work.”
And, following the news of position eliminations and future budget challenges outlined at the President’s Town Hall on June 5, Fisher says he is also aware of concerns over implementing the Academic Plan during a time of limited resources.
“That does make things more difficult, but I don’t think it means you should stop thinking strategically,” Fisher says.
“Maybe the implementation of this plan might involve more reallocation than simply addition, but those are the challenges we need to face.”
Fisher says an Academic and Student Services Plans Implementation Committee has been struck and will begin meetings in the near future.
“We’ll begin by talking about implementation generally and then we’ll talk about all the recommendations and who’s going to be responsible,” Fisher says, adding that because both the Academic Plan and the Student Services Plans cover five years, the implementation process will also be spread over five years.
“It’s really important for this plan not to just lie on the shelf but for us to get on and implement it,” Fisher says.
“You need to have a map or a plan if you’re going to get somewhere and this plan is to get us to that point.”
— Nancy Cope, June 7, 2012