Providing the "best student experience among Canada's leading research intensive universities" was adopted as the University's formal Mission in Engaging the Future (2007). Western is proud of its present reputation for offering "the best student experience" and remains fully committed to retaining and enhancing that reputation. The new Strategic Plan introduces a still broader perspective on "experience" – one that emphasizes the importance of developing a global perspective and establishing a stronger international presence with respect to teaching, scholarship, and research.
Achieving Excellence on the World Stage celebrates these achievements and, more ambitiously, extends our reach toward higher goals. What might we accomplish as an academic community if we broadened our perspective beyond Edward Hall's 1956 challenge? In answer, our Mission and Vision challenge us to be bolder—to think beyond our standing in Canada and imagine the larger role we could play on the world stage.
"The world's brightest minds" include undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff and alumni. Accordingly, our updated Vision invites all members of our academic community, not just students alone, to be part of the Western "experience." Our updated Vision also qualifies the "experience" to indicate learning in the broadest sense of the term: through pedagogy in our classrooms, laboratories and alternative pedagogical or technological teaching practices; through active participation in both basic and applied research and scholarship enterprises; through co-curricular and extra-curricular activities available on our campus, including student clubs, varsity athletics and recreational sport; through the on-campus residence experience; and through the facilitation of opportunities beyond our campus in community-service learning, internship, and international experience of the kind students will pursue upon graduation.
Informed by our Mission and Vision, Achieving Excellence on the World Stage outlines four fundamental strategic priorities that will drive Western's academic planning and activity:
Successful pursuit of these priorities will be possible only through the commitment and contributions of all the people who are members of our campus community. At Western, we strive to attract and retain the best talent available while simultaneously increasing the diversity of our workplace. In recent years Western has been successful in achieving its goal to increase the number of women appointed to faculty, to staff, and to leadership positions across the campus, and has worked hard to decrease barriers to their career progress; we must continue these efforts. Western is a community that respects, embraces, nurtures and celebrates the diversity of its members. Our community is one where all members are valued, respected and included. We strive to ensure our workplace is fully accessible and respectful of people's different needs and abilities. Western supports a healthy work-life balance and recognizes the right of every member of the Western community to study, work and conduct his or her activities in an environment free of harassment and discrimination. Each member of our community is accountable for ensuring that the University's policies in support of this imperative are upheld.