As a Comprehensive Academic and Research Institute in the Province of Alberta, the academic and research portfolios at the University of Lethbridge are mutually supportive and fundamentally interconnected. Thus, the University of Lethbridge Academic Plan and the University of Lethbridge Strategic Research Plan together form a strategic overlay to inform and support our Directions for Graduate Education.
The Strategic Research Plan highlights the importance of excellence in graduate student research, creative activity, and professional training as foundational aspects of our core function and mission as a comprehensive university. The Academic Plan likewise highlights the priority of exemplary research experiences for graduate students across the disciplines, the importance of academic quality in our graduate programs, and a commitment to cultivate an enriching and multifaceted graduate experience for our students.
Supported by this broader strategic overlay, our Directions for Graduate Education are operationalized through the School of Graduate Studies Academic Unit Plan. To that end, the School of Graduate Studies Academic Unit Plan shall annually identify, update, and articulate specific operational initiatives, projects, and programs which clearly and directly advance our Directions for Graduate Education and the four strategic objectives:
We will grow and diversify our graduate programs, and our graduate student population, in a manner that clearly reflects the University’s strategic academic and research priorities, and in ways that operationalize our University’s ardent commitment to academic quality and research excellence. Graduate growth and diversification will be connected to a clear and consensual understanding of University capacity in all of its dimensions, including availability of faculty supervisors, spaces for graduate student research and creative activity, funds for graduate student financial support, resources for graduate marketing and recruitment, and services to support the graduate student lifecycle and experience.
We will cultivate a campus culture where graduate students across all programs can be connected and their accomplishments can be celebrated. This requires ongoing commitment and support for meaningful graduate student symposia, conferences, and other student-driven initiatives that respond thoughtfully to the work and the social needs of a diverse student population, including Indigenous and International graduate students. It also requires a comprehensive commitment to inclusion, such that the presence and concerns of graduate students are seamlessly woven into all broader University initiatives to improve campus life.
We will create opportunities for a comprehensive graduate experience, beyond the boundaries of academic programs. To that end, we will cultivate the values of liberal education through increased opportunities for experiential learning and transdisciplinary scholarship at the graduate level. We will honour the recommendations of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through the Indigenization of selected graduate programs, curricula, assistantships, and culminating activities. We will provide a continuously supportive graduate student experience, through a commitment to ongoing orientation, from inquiry through to convocation and beyond.
We will sustain and continuously improve an organizational environment that is efficient, effective, respectful, and which supports an exemplary graduate experience for students, their supervisors, and University staff. We will continue to audit and improve policies, as well as digitize and automate all processes, related to the graduate student lifecycle. We will continue to critically assess and optimize the organizational relationships between the School of Graduate Studies and other academic, service, and administrative units on campus. We will maintain a commitment to the quality assurance, and ongoing enhancement, of all graduate programs at the University of Lethbridge.
The School of Graduate Studies Academic Unit Plan shall also identify metrics and report on outcomes required for assessing progress and success in achieving these strategic objectives.