Leaders’ Forum: University and Community Dialogue: Collaborating for Mutual Success
March 4, 2010, Views and Ideas from the Small Group Dialogues
4. What can Western and the city and region do, collaboratively, to attract exceptional faculty, staff and students to Western? What attracted you if you came from another city?
Build on Strengths: We have a lot to be proud of
- Expert health care
- Good schools; good education system for children
- Great university
- Research funding
- Thriving community college
- Safe city: outsiders see it as a nice, small city.
- Good quality of life
- Good places to work: university, research, health care, college, 3M etc.
- New manufacturing park; opportunity to be entrepreneurs
- Affordable houses
- Ability to work in London but live in surrounding communities
- Cultural diversity
- Cultural excellence: World-class concert hall
- TD Waterhouse Stadium - Drivable distance to Toronto, Detroit, Port Stanley
- Increased airport travel (i.e. London to Chicago) – transit from downtown to airport - Economics is the easy part (getting the research funding); the cultural side is more difficult (e.g. faculty recruitment).
- Recruitment may be more important than retention (which is a repeated theme in conversations).
Identify Methods for Collecting Information on Life in London
- Are there statistics that identify the reasons people leave the city or the school?
- Ask potential staff and faculty and students what things are important to them in their community.
- Conduct exit Interviews with students.
- Office of Faculty Relations needs to be more of a two-way street.
Find out and Enhance What Appeals to Students
- Recruit them to stay here by providing non-standard education, experiential education during their degree that can lead to jobs after the degree.
- Jobs are the motivator to stay in London for graduates – the connection to the city/region comes afterwards.
- Student employment opportunities lead to keeping talent pool and young professionals in the city/region.
- Market the city/region to young people.
- Provide students with more connections to the city– community involvement via city parks, recreation, community organizations, community theatre, community outreach.
- Involve our students in the community.
- Do more internal nurturing/talent management of current students and young professionals, e.g. via service-learning.
- Consider if it matters to students that their families are here.
- Grow our reputation.
- Market London as a place for families: London is a “family friendly city”. - Find out what opportunities are available for spouses/partners.
- Find employment for spouses – this is a place where community collaboration would help greatly.
- Point out the cost of living differences.
- Parents allowing their children to live at home after graduation.
Facilitate Integration for Newcomers
- Western needs to help create an attractive community for staff and faculty.
- Consider how we can get new residents/faculty/staff to link into the community.
- Encourage new members of our Western community to reach out to the city/region – invite members from the community to new faculty BBQ so new faculty meet vital community members.
- Build on current employees’ networks to improve connections.
- Network within an institution and outside community.
- Inform people about London.
- Conduct employee orientation to the community.
- Promote opportunities Western offers to students from London – e.g. experience the world at Western – Alternative Spring Break, internships, etc.
- Talk more about the quality of life.
- Get government leaders to know what is going on here.
- Intensify our marketing/communications – need to get the word out more consistently.
- Students find out about Western through the internet - use technology for outreach purposes.
- People who work at Western need more information to be able to provide current and accurate images to help others see the attractions of Western (Faculty Relations has a CD with London information).
- Have departments put emphasis on the “hidden aspects” of London when recruiting
- Messages about London say more about the region (i.e. Stratford, Great Lakes, Toronto) – what about London itself?
- Need to sell the “package” of London.
- We're not a major centre like Toronto, so it might take a little more effort for us to recruit.
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overview of key discussion points.
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