IX. Collaborative Activities
is a university committed both to academic excellence and
to academic innovation. Our reputation as a
research-intensive university has been built upon
strength in the established scholarly disciplines and in
professional education. Although traditional areas
of scholarship continue to retain their vitality, they
are also in many instances expanding to encompass new
areas of inquiry, posing challenges for research and
teaching that are best met through collaborative effort.
At Western, faculty members have moved to meet these
challenges through the establishment of a broad range of
interdisciplinary research groups, centres, and
institutes. Collaboration has also been enhanced
through programs such as the Special Faculty Renewal
Initiative, which has seen the creation of a number of
faculty positions which cross traditional disciplinary
lines and improve our ability to respond in innovative
ways to new areas of inquiry.
Such collaborative efforts have achieved national and international recognition and have improved our ability to create the interdisciplinary networks often required to take full advantage of new research funding programs such as those of the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research & Development Challenge Fund. They have also led to the development of new and innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate programs and opened up opportunities for graduate students to become involved in broadly based programs of research. Just as we support the individual researcher and teacher and affirm the continuing importance of discipline-based study, we must continue to work to ensure that the creativity engendered by collaborative activity is nurtured and supported at all levels of the University and to ensure that both formal and informal boundaries that might inhibit the career progress and academic creativity of faculty involved in interdisciplinary work are minimized.
Many of the most interesting academic questions today cross the lines of the established disciplines. Western has responded to many of these evolutions in scholarship by creating new programs, such as the undergraduate program in Media, Information and Technoculture and the graduate Neurosciences program, as well as establishing courses of study leading to joint degrees in such professional program areas as Medicine, Engineering, Law and Business. In a somewhat different context, we must also work to encourage collaboration among faculty, staff, and students in the fulfilment of the University’s mission. A collaborative spirit throughout the University must be a priority. Among staff, for example, job sharing or exchange programs across academic units and administrative departments may provide an opportunity to enhance skills and to develop a broader appreciation of the challenges facing all areas of the University.
The collaborative spirit must be extended beyond the University. The University contributes significantly to the development and well-being of our surrounding communities through the substantial economic activity which it generates, as well as the participation of faculty, staff and student volunteers in community organizations and events. For its part, the community and its citizens have strongly supported the University through donations, direct financial support for key projects such as the City of London’s multi-year capital grant as part of SuperBuild, and in providing a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for our faculty, staff, and students. While continuing to ensure that academic freedom and the intellectual integrity of the research process are maintained, we must continue to strengthen our links within the local community - governmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and First Nations communities - to develop new partnerships. Some key areas include the creative development of solutions to important social issues through applied research and curriculum reflective of our diverse society, educational and employment opportunities, technology transfer and industry liaison in the promotion of local and regional economic development, and continuing enrichment of the cultural life of London and the region.
Western must also work with the local community, as well as at the regional, provincial and national levels, to expand its international horizons, as befits a research-intensive university of its size and scope. Currently, many members of the University community participate visibly on the international stage: faculty through publications, teaching, conference participation, and collaborative research; staff through professional associations and organizations; students through participation in an array of study-abroad and exchange programs. Such accomplishments should be celebrated and actively expanded. International research should become an institutional priority, and faculty collaboration should be encouraged in key areas of investigation where research strengths exist. Academic Plans at the Faculty, School, and Department levels should include components on potential international initiatives, and these should be consolidated into an overall institutional plan for the University’s international objectives. Selective partnerships with a limited number of universities, in Canada and abroad, should be pursued, based upon the potential for collaboration in research, as well as student, staff, and faculty exchanges. The University should also work to renew and enhance its commitment to Veritas et Utilitas well beyond the local area, encouraging new and innovative partnerships aimed at both assisting individuals and strengthening the capacities of institutions and governments in developing countries.
10. Western will enhance mechanisms to promote collaboration and interdisciplinarity with in the University. Our University community will:
11. Western will seek closer collaboration with local communities in support of community/University development. Our University community will:
12. Western will actively engage in a process of internationalization. Our University community will: