Strategic Planning Update


April 29, 2021

Dear Members of the Western Community,

Since October, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC) has been working hard to help us set the course for Western’s bold future.

Broadly representing our entire campus community, this group of thirty-seven colleagues has done a super job of leading an ambitious consultation process that has engaged thousands of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

On behalf of the SPSC, I’m pleased to share an update on our progress.

Through interactive Zoom sessions, online surveys, and written submissions, we’ve received more than 3,600 inputs from community members.

Your response has been enthusiastic, revealing a tremendous sense of optimism about Western’s future.

The diverse feedback we gathered converges around several themes:

  • prioritize face-to-face learning while leveraging online technology to optimize the student experience and to expand access to our academic programs
  • offer every student opportunities to engage with research, entrepreneurship, community service, internships, and other forms of experiential learning
  • energize our mission as a public research university through partnerships and interdisciplinary and collaborative work that tackles the grand global challenges of our times, while also maintaining support for individual research, scholarship, and creative activity
  • embed equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our culture, which includes overhauling our student admissions process and faculty and staff recruitment practices
  • set ambitious goals on sustainability that engage community and institutional partners in alignment with national carbon reduction efforts
  • empower our campus with contemporary digital resources that facilitate collaboration, support research, enhance learning, and drive administrative decision making
  • advance our reconciliation with Indigenous communities
  • intensify our international engagement to increase learning and research opportunities, and increase the diversity of students who make up our campus community
  • engage our alumni network as partners in lifelong learning, teaching, research, student recruitment, employment for graduates, and ambassadors for Western
  • ramp up lifelong learning as a fundamental channel for our public service mission
  • grow smartly as a means of increasing our capacity to compete with other prominent universities and boost our capacity to do good in the world
  • tend to our reputation by investing in strategic communications and advancement

Faculty, staff and students have been invited to an information session to learn more on May 12. The SPSC looks forward to presenting a draft plan to Senate and the Board of Governors in June, 2021.

On behalf of the SPSC, thank you for your participation in this important process.

Your engagement is deeply appreciated.

Sincerely,

Alan Shepard
President