I trust that everyone had a restful and happy holiday season.
I’m looking forward to 2017, my first full year as president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia. It promises to be an exciting year for UBC, as we start work in earnest on developing our new strategic plan, UBC’s Next Century.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, the strategic plan will help us focus even more intently on our core priorities of education and research. It will allow the UBC community to define our collective priorities and the means by which we can build upon the achievements of the past century.
We started the planning process last month through a survey that asked the UBC community four questions about UBC’s strengths, what differentiates UBC, what priorities you have for our next strategic plan, and how to engage as many people as possible in the process.
So far, more than 600 members of the UBC community have responded. You’ve told us how much you value UBC’s people: the staff, faculty, students and alumni who make UBC a great public university. Many of you have identified our commitment to diversity and inclusivity, our good relationships with Indigenous communities and our emphasis on sustainability as factors you value greatly and wish to see us continue to support. The quality of our research – both fundamental and applied – arises repeatedly as a particular strength. The beautiful setting of our two campuses and UBC’s “West Coast feel” are among the qualities that differentiate us from other universities.
Many respondents identified UBC’s capacity to combine global relevance with community engagement as something you’d like to see us continue to foster across all of our activities. You’ve asked us to ensure that our next strategic plan is built with maximum meaningful input from the UBC community and to continue breaking down silos across disciplines and fostering engagement between UBC and the broader community, especially alumni. You’ve emphasized that you want us to write a plan that prioritises people and community, and that makes specific commitments to achievable goals. You’ve asked us for more surveys like this one and for us to demonstrate to you that we are listening. We will continue to analyse your responses to our questions and your insights will shape our work throughout the strategic planning process.
If you haven’t responded to the survey yet, I’d still love to hear from you. The survey will be available online at https://survey.ubc.ca/s/strategic_planning_launch/until January 20.
The planning exercise will be led by my senior advisor, Dr. Emma Cunliffe. She will work closely with a steering committee of faculty, staff and students, who will work with your feedback to set the themes and directions within the strategic plan. Our work will be supported by The Napa Group, a strategy, leadership and organizational consulting firm with proven expertise in higher education planning. More information about the strategic planning process will be announced soon.
Watch this space as we plan for UBC’s next century.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor