Strategic Plan in action

The University of Lethbridge's 2009-2013 Strategic Plan is a plan for the future, one that will chart the general direction of the University over the next five years. It is a promise to stay true to who we are and continue doing what we do very well – fostering a personal, supportive learning community; ensuring professors are inspired scholars who integrate research and creativity with teaching; and delivering relevant programs that are meaningful and useful to our students.

Within this plan are strategic directions and priorities by which the University will shape its future. This month we look at the goal of enhancing the student experience.
Dr. Heidi MacDonald, history professor and Chair of the Department of History, gives her perspective on how the University can enhance the experience of its students.

On how she sees herself in the Strategic Plan

"I don't think there's any part of the Plan where I don't see myself. The teaching is obvious as well as the commitment to students. The phrase, "Preparing students for their lives", I see myself in that.

On what she learned about creating a positive educational environment for students

"I think as faculty members, we often see students' education as happening from the time they first come to their seats in the classroom. Having had the experience on the Strategic Planning Committee, I now have a much better appreciation for all the things that have to happen before a student comes and sits in a class."

On how the Strategic Plan addresses maintaining the University's student-oriented focus as it continues to grow

"We're still committed to teaching, learning and to research but I think we're ramping it up and that's something we hope everyone on campus will learn more about and be a part of.

There's an affirmation of the general principles of the University. The Plan reflects how we're still committed to academic freedom and that we're committed to research, controversial or not, fashionable or not. Those affirmations are very important."

On how the Strategic Plan can be taken forward throughout the University

"Look at the Strategic Plan and find yourself in it. I don't think anyone on campus will have difficulty finding themselves in it. It's natural we will commit ourselves to those things we are already interested in and if we see those things in the Plan and then can do small things in those areas, that will take it forward."

On where she expects the Strategic Plan will take the University in five years

"I hope that we have extended some of our areas at which our reputation is now strong, into other areas. I want to see us known for excellence in more research areas, known to have a more broadly based graduate program and that we're still excelling at primarily undergraduate education."