This past Monday a Divisional Council meeting was held for the Faculty of Liberal Arts in RCE 217 that discussed the draft strategic academic plan for 2015-2020.
Referred to as the White Paper, this strategic plan was initiated to confront challenges faced by the major re-design of the Ontario post-secondary education system by the provincial government, and a foreseeable decline in students graduating from Ontario high schools.
Developed through several meetings and workshops of the two groups in charge of making academic strategic plans for the university institution: the Vice-President’s Academic Council (VPAC) and the Senate Academic Planning Committee (SAPC), relevant themes have been narrowed down to: academic excellence, immersive learning and diversification.
The major goal of the academic excellence themes is to “Identify and support the academic programs which exemplify academic excellence and Laurier’s strengths in immersive, community-engaged learning and pedagogical innovation and leverage these program strengths to build impact as a comprehensive university,” as written in the White Paper. The Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Music, and Master of Social Work have been identified as programs that have strong strategic significance.
The goal of immersive learning is stated to “build an intentional structure of immersive and experiential learning connected to program learning outcomes which themselves are connected to the ‘communities of interest’ critical to Laurier’s graduates.”
The final goal of making Laurier a diversified 21st century university is to “Diversify the student body by educating a larger proportion of students from outside the traditional cohort of Ontario high school graduates,” as stated in the White Paper. A specific focus is put on under-represented groups such as aboriginal learners.
The White Paper hopes to strengthen Laurier’s institutional value proposition and place Laurier in more of a competitive position.
“The faculty and staff who were [at Monday’s meeting] raised very good questions and concerns about the way the document currently stands that will be taken back to VPAC and the SAPC, and inform the next stages of the Strategic Academic Planning process,” said the Heidi Northwood, Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts, in an email.
The White Paper is in the process of circulation of feedback for perspectives of the broader university community.
The minutes from Monday’s meeting will be distributed back to the faculty with the top concerns and questions highlighted sometime next week. Check back for more details on this story at thesputnik.ca.