TO: Senate and the Board of Governors
FROM: Dr. Paul Davenport
DATE: November 6, 1998
SUBJECT: Leadership in Learning: Strategic Plan Update - November 1998
Leadership in Learning: Western's Strategic Plan was approved by Senate in October 1995 and by the Board of Governors in November 1995. The Strategic Plan called for periodic updates to be submitted to Senate and the Board in May and November of each year. Such reports were provided on a recommendation-by-recommendation basis in February, May, and November of 1996, in May and November of 1997, and in May of 1998. For this report, a new format has been created, which lists major initiatives and developments in each of the eight areas addressed by the Strategic Plan rather than providing an extensive prose discussion. Many of these developments will be familiar to members of Senate and the Board; others can be specifically addressed by the President and Vice-Presidents in discussion of this report. Those desiring an update which follows the specific recommendations of the Plan may refer to the May 1998 update, available through the University Secretariat.
1. Undergraduate Students and Programs:
· The trend toward more and better applicants continues: the average entering grade has risen in each of the last four years, and is now over 81%.
· Minimum admission averages have been maintained at 75% across programs, and are significantly higher in many Faculties.
· The Senate-mandated first-year enrolment target of 3750 has been reconfirmed.
· Total student aid funding, including undergraduate and graduate, has been increased from $12M (97-8) to $16M (98-9). A special ScotiaBank loan program is in place for students in Medicine, Dentistry, and HBA programs.
· Continuing recruitment initiatives: guarantee of first-year course selection; the Centre for New Students, Scholars' Electives, peer mentoring, and residence theme floors.
· The guarantee of on-campus housing has been important to recruitment efforts - success of Essex Hall confirms this, and the University Drive residence is building upon it.
· The agreement with USC on the length of Orientation Week will focus on an O-Week which is safe, fun and informative, with a significant academic component.
· Recruitment materials have been completely revised and have been recognized by national and provincial awards - and well-received by prospective students.
· International student recruitment and exchange programs remain important for the University; with Ping-Hung Chan's return to faculty responsibilities, Jessica Braden has been appointed to oversee international exchange programs and to participate in international recruitment activities.
· The Centre for Continuing Studies, under Director Sharon Collins, is developing a strategic plan for new continuing education initiatives in partnership with academic units.
· The Distance Studies program has been completely revised; its new Coordinator, Kris McLeod, has been appointed as Coordinator and is working with academic units, the Educational Development Office, and the Information Technology Resource Centre to integrate information technology in undergraduate distance education.
· Course and Faculty Evaluations are in place at both the undergraduate and the graduate level; the most recent undergraduate survey was published in WN in October 1998.
· The report of Provost's Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Courses and Programs (David Bentley, Chris Essex, Lynne Zarbatany) was published in May, 1998. It examined the coherence of undergraduate programs, the viability of the 3-year degree, and changes impending because of secondary school reform. The report is currently under study by a special subcommittee of SCAPA. The impetus and direction for program changes should occur at the departmental and Faculty level, where expertise and commitment reside.
2. Graduate Studies:
· A comprehensive report describing current mechanisms of financial support of graduate students has been prepared by the Dean. The report includes proposals to broaden and increase levels of support for graduate students; the report will be brought through the Faculty Council, GPPC and SCUP to Senate early in the new year.
· Interdisciplinary studies continue to evolve at the graduate level: established programs in neurosciences and environmental sciences; new programs in rehabilitation sciences and comparative literature have recently been developed· New formats for program delivery have been and continue to be developed, particularly in continuing professional education: Family Medicine and Nursing have programs and coursework already in place.
· Strong inter-Faculty cooperation was achieved in development of submissions for CFI/OCF. Success was high in CFI New Opportunities, with 22 young researchers receiving funding support, and 9 of 14 CFI Institutional Initiative proposals have advanced to the next round in CFI competition.
· Canadian Institutes of Health Research proposal: the University has taken a leadership role in this initiative to link hospitals, institutes, and local business and government leaders with efforts to establish London and Western as a national centre for health research.
· Total research revenues have increased from $68M in 1995-96 to over $84M in 1997-98, an increase of over 25%.
4. Faculty Development:
· During 1997-98, a total of 45 appointments were made at the probationary and tenured levels. Strong interdisciplinary appointments have been made possible by the Special Faculty Renewal Initiative (SFRI) - attracting outstanding new faculty in creative combinations of subject areas. For 1998-99, five SFRI appointments will complement Western's proposals for support under the CFI and OCF funding opportunities and three will be designated for interdisciplinary appointments.
· Salary structures and evaluation issues, noted under this heading in the Strategic Plan, are among the subjects of ongoing first-contract negotiations within the new environment of a certified Faculty Association.
· Western is advocating a "2000 for 2000" initiative for province-wide faculty renewal, proposing a major government reinvestment in Ontario's universities to meet the pressing challenges to postsecondary education.
5 Institutional Restructuring and Planning:
· New undergraduate programs in Health Sciences and Information, Media, and Technoculture attest to the success of HS and FIMS as Faculty units; graduate and professional programs within those Faculties have also been invigorated by these programs and through amalgamation of the units.
· In the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, complex issues involving appointment structures and remuneration are under discussion.· The Cheng Yu Tung Management Institute of the Richard Ivey School of Business opened in Hong Kong in September 1998.
· The CFI/OCF opportunity has been a catalyst for Western's focus on resource-intensive research, resulting in integrated proposals involving participation from a number of Faculties, including Medicine, Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences.
· An update of Western's Campus Master Plan, in light of stadium plans for the 2001 Canada Games and new residence on University Drive, has been considered by Senate and the Board of Governors and discussed with local residents.
· Recent planning has brought a centralizing of classroom facilities, with new lecture theatres in Somerville House, and further consolidation of classrooms and classroom use is projected.
· A new undergraduate program review structure has been established, reflecting provincial program audit requirements; Western was one of the universities audited during 1998, and an auditors' report is expected before the end of the year.
6 Staff and Administration:
· Certification of UWOSA has created a new negotiating environment for first contract, reflecting salary and other issues discussed in this section of the Strategic Plan.
· Implementation of the PeopleSoft systems is complete in HR and approaching completion in Financial areas; immediate challenges lie ahead in the Student Records component, to be followed by Advancement/Development systems.
· Commitment remains strong to staff renewal and development opportunities and is reflected in the ongoing attention to job evaluation concerns advanced during the MOAT process, as an outcome of University/PMA negotiations this past year.
· Within the Department of Communications and Public Affairs, evolution of University communications activities continues through such projects as the University website, with "Campus News Stand," "This Week at Western," and "Western News on-line" promoting improvement in internal communications.
7 Community Relations, Western's Alumni, and Private Giving:
· Western continues efforts to reach into the community through joint endeavours: 2001 Canada Games (Ted Garrard co-Chair), Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Biotechnology Incubator projects; London Economic Development Corporation (President Davenport a Board member); Annual Community Meetings, with the next scheduled for February, 1999.
· Consultation with neighbours and members of the community has been undertaken as part of the Campus Master Plan update.
· Strong Alumni programs: Senior Alumni lectures and events, trips, and engagement in recruiting. Western's alumni now number over 160,000 worldwide.
· Gearing up for 125th Anniversary Campaign: priority-setting activities within the units is nearly completed and priority recommendations will be brought forward through the President/Vice-Presidents' group to Senate and the Board of Governors in early 1999.
· Several Faculty campaigns are already underway: Medicine, Richard Ivey School of Business, Engineering Science, Law.
· Inter-institutional cooperation is a major part of Western's academic agenda: exploration of degree/diploma programs with Fanshawe College and other members of the province's higher education sector, as well as appropriately engaging the transitions resultant from changes in Ontario's secondary school system are priorities in discussions with our educational partner institutions.
8 Operating and Capital Budgets:
· Effort continues, on Western's behalf and through the COU, to press the government toward the objectives of the Smith Advisory Panel with regard to increased grant support - to the national average from 10th out of 10.
· Fee flexibility has allowed university Boards of Governors in Ontario to set tuition differentially across programs. This has been implemented at Western for 1998-99; the 30% required revenue set-aside is being applied to student assistance through bursary and work-study programs.
· Effective student loan programs remain a top priority: the University is working with other institutions and student groups to develop appropriate programs. Tuition fee discussions on the campus involve consultation with students as to provision of aid, including the special loan programs established for Medicine, Dentistry, and HBA programs, and the Dean of Graduate Studies has brought forward proposals for a restructuring of student aid in graduate programs.
· The annual contribution of $750,000 from operating funds to address deferred maintenance has been maintained in all University Budgets since approval of the Strategic Plan in 1995.
· A comprehensive space inventory and centralized classroom assignment should improve utilization of facilities for maximum efficiency across the campus; the Provost's Academic Support Fund designates $1.4M for classroom upgrading and instructional technology initiatives during 1998-99.
· Equipment replacement and upgrade is an ongoing component of individual Faculty budgetting, discussed at annual planning meetings.