Human Resources

Leaders' Forum 2010-2013

Making Western a Research Powerhouse

January 24, 2013

How does Western build upon its strong research history to become a university that is globally recognized for research excellence?  This is the question John Capone, Vice-President, Research posed as he tapped into the collective insights of the nearly 200 academic and administrative leaders in attendance at the January 24, 2013 Leaders’ Forum.

While Western consistently ranks 9th or 10th in Canada in terms of national research metrics, the University is looking to increase its research profile and overall impact at a global level in selected areas of strength, says Capone.  There is a commitment to building upon our research foundation to foster a culture that encourages and supports innovation.

At the forum participants held table discussions on ways to facilitate Western’s future research success. Some of the suggestions included:

Capone suggests “clustering” areas of research strength will be an increasingly important strategy for Western. Clustering allows a convergence of disciplines to tackle issues in very integrated ways.  This new way of organizing our research in areas of global significance will be part of our planning process.

With a changing research funding climate, Western will need to be bold and flexible in securing new areas of funding.  In addition to an aggressive approach to external funding, our internal allocation processes need to align with our strategic directions and institutional barriers must be reduced.

Another critical area to accelerate Western’s research reputation is a commitment to bringing in the world’s best and brightest. This includes faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

Along with the input and suggestions provided at the Leaders’ Forum, Capone and his team continue to work with the research community and institutional leaders to develop goals and objectives for the next strategic planning cycle.

In his concluding comments, Capone drew strong parallels between how Western developed strategies over the past 15 years to become a university focused and known for the student experience and now developing strategies designed to make Western a research “powerhouse.”

Missed Leaders' Forum? Watch John Capone's Presentation:

Beverley Ayeni, Energy and Environment Manager, Facilities Management shares some interesting facts on sustainability initiatives on campus at the recent Leaders' Forum.

Beverley Ayeni, Energy and Environment Manager, Facilities Management shares some interesting facts on sustainability initiatives on campus at the recent Leaders' Forum.

Highlights from the January 2012 Leaders' Forum

Master Plan Update

Western’s current Master Plan was completed in 2007 and has helped guide the University over the past five years. This plan was developed to ensure our built and natural environment met the needs of our changing campus community.

Two key areas this 2007 plan helped foster were the enhancement of common spaces in new and renovated areas as well as the shift of academic resources to the core of campus.

According to Mike McLean, Manager, Planning, Design and Project Administration, Facilities Management, it is now time to update to this document because of new strategic priorities that were not on the horizon five years ago.

These emerging priorities include:

Process for updating the master plan:

In concluding his presentation McLean pointed out the Master Plan is more than just a document, it really represents, “An opportunity to enhance this unique space that makes up the Western Experience.”

Sustainability at Western

Also on the agenda were updates from Beverley Ayeni, Energy and Environment Manager, Facilities Management and Lindsay Telfer from the Sustainability Solutions Group on sustainability activities on both Western’s campus and examples from leading campuses around the world.

IMAGINE 2022 | Our Path to Sustainability

Leaders were encouraged to think of how they can continue to inspire innovation and involvement by staff, students and faculty around sustainability.

Powerpoint slides from January 19, 2012 presentation (pdf)

Telling Western's Story, Supporting Western's Campaign

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Western's academic mission and bold international vision to be a top global university were discussed at this Leaders' Forum. A key aspect for success is a continued need to communicate Western's story to the world.

Featured Speakers included:

"Learning Beyond the Classroom: Methods, Benefits, and Your Role"

The first Leaders' Forum of the 2011-2012 Academic Year was held on Thursday, September 29, 2011. Discussion at the session revolved around understanding Western's approach to student development beyond the classroom. Student guests added their input on how service learning and other out of class experiences helped shape their learning at Western.

Guest speakers:

Communicating Western to the World

Kevin Goldthorp

Goldthorp At the April 21 Leaders' Forum, Kevin Goldthorp, VP External shared insights on the implications of work done over the past nine months to develop a better understanding of how Western is perceived by a variety of our key stakeholders.

This research will help guide the development of Western's key messages and visual identity as the University continues efforts to recruit top students, faculty, staff and attract funding. Campus community members are invited to download a copy of Goldthorp's presentation (Western login required - pdf).

Leadership on Trial - Leaders' Forum on February 3

Academic and administrative leaders responded with great enthusiasm to the recent Leaders' Forum with Dean Carol Stephenson and Dr. Jeffrey Gandz, Richard Ivey School of Business. They highlighted Ivey's recently published research on the role of leadership-- and of management schools-- in contributing to the global economic crisis sparked in 2009. They discussed their findings and their views on the "three pillars" for leadership development.

Session evaluations highlighted how the session provided an outstanding overview of important leadership practices with over 90% of the attendees ranking the presentations as effective or very effective.

Update on Western's Strategic Directions

Leaders Forum - Oct. 7, 2010

Updates to Western's strategic plan were on the agenda at the first Leaders' Forum of the 2010/2011 academic year.

A record audience of 250 academic and administrative leaders came together to hear President Amit Chakma's reflection on the past year at Western, as he praised the work of leaders, staff, and faculty. Chakma then turned his focus to the future, affirming his confidence that Western has what it takes to become a world-class university, and challenging all leaders to engage their colleagues and staff in this effort.

Western's new Provost, Janice Deakin, offered leaders an informative update on Western's strategic directions, including increased focus on raising Western's international profile, expanding its educational reach in the region and around the world, enhancing the quality of its programs, and enhancing supports for faculty and staff. The Provost joined Vice-President (Resources & Operations) Gitta Kulczycki in answering leaders' questions about the opportunities and challenges presented by these directions.

Over the next few weeks, this page will be updated with answers to additional questions spurred by the Forum discussion.

Leaders' Forum resources:

Western and Community Collaboration

Leaders' Forum - March 2010

At the March 4, 2010 Leaders' Forum more than 25 community members joined Western leaders and managers to discuss ways in which the University and our community could collaborate more closely to achieve mutual success. The themed views and ideas that came out of the small group dialogues as recorded by table facilitators are posted below. You are invited to review the comments and if there is a particular theme or interest which you would like to pursue further please contact Marcia Steyaert, Community Relations Specialist in the Department of Communications & Public Affairs, at 519-661-2111 ext. 85467 or

Read the questions and dialogue from the March 4, 2010 Leaders’ Forum.