Opening Minds and Changing Lives

Mount Royal University
Strategic Planning Framework

Mount Royal University is located in the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut'ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda. We are situated on land where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. The traditional Blackfoot name of this place is "Mohkinstsis," which we now call the city of Calgary. The city of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation.

Opening Minds and Changing Lives is MRU’s strategic planning framework for 2021 to 2026: a roadmap for our future. This framework captures what is core to MRU — our vision, mission and values — and provides the strategic direction we need to build and update all other University plans. Unlike traditional strategic plans which were often presented as both final and finite, Opening Minds and Changing Lives is just the beginning.

Opening Minds and Changing Lives is aspirational, and I hope you find it inspirational as well. As we establish a new way of planning at MRU, this planning framework will remain our touchstone, where we return again and again.

Tim Rahilly Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor


At Mount Royal University, we actively prepare for the future, in recognition that our success depends on proactive preparation today. After 110 years Mount Royal remains ideally positioned to thrive.

Opening Minds and Changing Lives renews our commitment to strategic planning and charts a fresh and relevant path forward, setting out a new vision and a focus on the core values of transformation, belonging, boldness, inquisitiveness and authenticity. Five strategic directions will inspire and inform how we will come together to meet the challenges that lie ahead, as we reaffirm our enduring commitment to academic excellence, student success and inclusion for all.

Right chevron A vertical parallelogram - the right half of one of the chevrons in Mount Royal University's logo.


Opening minds and changing lives


To provide meaningful and engaged learning opportunities that create individual transformation and societal benefit

Photo of a group of students studying in the Riddell Library and Learning Centre. There is half of a chevron from the Mount Royal University logo overlayed over the photo in blue.


Mount Royal University recognizes the importance of creating an aspirational culture with shared, deeply held community values to support the achievement of our mission and vision. Shared values serve as guiding principles or beliefs that shape our decisions and actions. We are committed to fostering a safe and healthy environment that empowers our campus community to live by our shared values as we work to fulfill our mission and vision.


  • We are positive and future‑focused with the energy to create and lead
  • We face changes in the world with courage, connection and capability
  • We provide an educational experience that empowers students to succeed and have an impact in an evolving world


  • We celebrate the diversity of people, culture and ideas by fostering a safe and inclusive campus
  • We meet students where they are, providing an education and experience accessible to all
  • We support people to become who they want to be, through academic and personal growth
  • We are rooted in the Calgary community and we welcome the world to experience MRU


  • We are risk-takers and changemakers: courageous, collaborative and confident
  • We are ambitious and comfortable challenging traditional expectations
  • We offer a space to enable people to become who they want to be, on their journey of self‑discovery
  • We view challenges as opportunities to adapt through new ways of thinking and doing


  • We appreciate knowledge is limitless and continually seek to learn
  • We recognize critical thought is the basis of education and encourage new perspectives
  • We value dialogue and inquiry rooted in free expression, together with civility, mutual respect and empathy
  • We pursue scholarly inquiry through research and innovation to inform teaching and contribute to the advancement of knowledge and practice
  • We help students understand the world so they may apply their knowledge for societal good


  • We know who we are and seek to change and grow in a uniquely MRU way
  • We proudly pursue a path in post-secondary education that puts undergraduate students first
  • We admire people who, as part of their MRU legacy, are true to themselves and make a positive impact in the lives of others, in their communities and in the world
  • We have a 100-year legacy of service and will thrive for many years to come

Strategic directions

Taken together, our strategic directions guide our future planning and decision making. Though listed in this order, they are of equal importance and intersect to enhance our strengths while rising to meet the challenges to inspire and inform how we will fulfill our mission and vision over the next five years.

Provide a transformative education

We will transform minds in order to transform our community and our world. We will produce the graduates our community, our city, and our province needs. Through our commitment to liberal education, students will develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills they need not only to succeed in their first job, but throughout their lives.

Through our commitment to experiential learning in all its forms, we will give students the practical experience they need to succeed in today’s ever-changing world. Through opportunities like work-integrated learning, students will bring new thinking, creativity and innovation to industry, government and community organizations.

We will continue to internationalize our University, through our curriculum and growth of our international enrolment. We will provide domestic students access to international experiences, including exchange programs.

Strengthen diverse communities

We want all students, faculty and staff to feel that they belong, and that they are accepted and valued at our University. We will provide a positive and accepting learning environment and workplace by removing barriers to learning and providing support to students and employees.

We will build capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect among students, faculty and staff. We will strengthen and expand our relationships with diverse communities in order to grow our knowledge and understanding and to help create equity and inclusion on our campus.

We acknowledge the genocide done to Indigenous peoples by colonization and the trauma inflicted by the residential school system and the public education system, including universities. We support the ongoing work of reconciliation, including the objectives set out in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Through the implementation of our Indigenous Strategic Plan, we will continue to Indigenize and decolonize Mount Royal University.

Innovate for a dynamic future

We will provide a contemporary and relevant learning environment for students by embracing innovation in all our programs. We will continue to respond to the tremendous impact of technology on our everyday lives, and prepare graduates for a future we can now only barely glimpse. We will adopt emerging technologies and delivery methods tailored to meet the future educational and professional needs of learners.

Recognizing that defining an aspirational culture is not enough, we will bring together diverse perspectives and ensure a supportive environment where boldness and responsible risk-taking are encouraged. We will ensure employees have the skills and tools necessary to thrive in an innovative workplace.

We will develop new programs, founded in our current strengths, that meet the needs of the students and employers of the future. We will explore new types of credentials that supplement degree programs in ways that students and alumni need to succeed in their chosen fields and to contribute to their communities both locally and around the world. We will continue to provide flexibility and access to post-secondary education to Alberta learners.

Recognizing the unprecedented pace of change in post-secondary education in Alberta, in Canada and across the world, we will continue to diversify our revenue sources, leverage technology and implement operational efficiencies to ensure our continued environmental, social and fiscal sustainability.

Foster a culture of inquiry

We will expand research and scholarship and seek new opportunities for interdisciplinary research and partnerships. We will continue to strengthen Mount Royal’s reputation as an undergraduate university in which students can gain valuable research experience through participation in cutting-edge faculty research.

We will build upon our success in attaining external funding, particularly through growth in Tri-Agency funding and Canada Research Chairs. We will continue to strengthen our infrastructure to support all forms of research, scholarship and community engagement taking place across our campus community.

Enhance impact through meaningful connections

Going back to our century-long roots, Mount Royal has always been part of the broader community. We have employed community service learning as a teaching and learning practice for more than twenty years through community-based projects where students apply academic theories and processes. Through mutually beneficial connections with communities, we work together to make a difference in the community and address real-world challenges and opportunities.

We will remain true to this history by building on and expanding our existing partnerships with government, other post-secondary institutions, businesses, employers, Indigenous nations, communities and alumni. We will become even more integral to local, provincial, national and global communities, broadening our impact in addressing inequalities in our communities, creating and applying knowledge for the greater public good, and preparing students for lives of continued service.

Left chevron A vertical parallelogram - the left half of one of the chevrons in Mount Royal University's logo.
Strategic planning framework graphic A series of circles, indicating the framework by which all planning at the university should follow. Vision, Mission, and Values inform Strategic Directions which inform Goals, Outcomes, and Measures. Goals, Outcomes and Measures inform the creation of the Academic Plan, Research and Scholarship Plan, and Indigenous Plan which are guiding documents for Cross-institutional Plans which guide the creation of Divisional and Faculty Plans. These final plans inform governance.

Strategic planning framework

Our vision, mission and values appear at the centre, to show our commitment to students, faculty, staff and our broader community.

The strategic directions will lead to the development of goals, outcomes and measures.

In the fourth circle, we show the relationship between the University Strategic Plan and the three high-level planning documents for the University.

Other cross-institutional plans, whether developed already or in development, follow.

Divisional and faculty plans are on the outermost planning circle.

Governance, which is not a plan but a principle, is represented on the outermost circle. The planning framework can only be effective through good governance.

Note: Other than the University Strategic Plan at the centre, the order does not indicate hierarchy or priority, but rather the various roles the plans play. The plans must connect with one another to be effective.

Photo of the exterior of West Gate at Mount Royal University. There is half of a chevron from the Mount Royal University logo overlayed over the photo in blue.

Accountability Measures

  • Total enrolment
  • International enrolment
  • Indigenous and under-represented students and employees
  • Experiential learning opportunities
  • Sense of belonging for students and employees
  • Satisfaction with overall student experience
  • Graduation rate
  • Graduates employed or enrolled in further education
  • Sponsored research revenue and expenditures
  • Donations
  • Community partnerships
  • Total revenues, expenditures and Campus Alberta grant

Opening Minds and Changing Lives

Mount Royal University
Strategic Planning Framework

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