People Plan taking shape at U of L

In the last two years, the University of Lethbridge has developed both an Academic Plan and a Research Plan that, together with the University Business Plan, serve to shape and support the actions of the University Strategic Plan.

But the University can only succeed through its people. Several members of the University community recently gathered to talk through the feasibility of creating a People Plan and how best to go about it.

"As we begin work on the next five-year iteration of the University Strategic Plan, it appears that a bridging document speaking to the needs of faculty, support staff, APOs, senior administration and other groups is missing from our framework of support," says Elaine Carlson, associate vice-president, Human Resources. "A People Plan must align with the University's fundamental principles of a commitment to society; creativity, inquiry and discovery; students; inspiration; and responsible action, among other attributes."

Carlson says the People Plan is intended to link all employees to the University's chosen direction, regardless of the focus of their work.

"As a growing comprehensive academic and research institution with an increasing campus footprint and several campus locations, we are concerned about losing the sense of connection and community that has been a feature, if not a hallmark, of our development since the University's inception in 1967," says Carlson. "By bringing this initial group together, we were able to do a lot of brainstorming and direction-setting that will move us forward, so that we can encourage all members of the U of L Community to participate in future planning sessions."

Carlson says that with the assistance of Vic Shewchuk from VisionWorks Consulting (who is also the senior advisor, Organizational Planning and Development at the University of Alberta), the group was able to take dozens of ideas and focus them into a narrative from which a report to the president will be prepared.

As of now, the group has not confirmed how it will be engaging with different groups, but expect to hear from them before Christmas.

"This preliminary planning group is open to hearing ideas from everyone on campus," says Carlson. "This group is highly motivated to provide the groundwork for the creation of a People Plan – a living document that will hopefully enhance the way we at the University feel about our workplace and our roles within it."

To learn more about this Strategic Planning process, please visit this website:

This story first appeared in the November 2012 issue of the Legend. To view the full issue online, follow this link.