Digital Strategy

About Laurier's Digital Strategy

Over the last year, higher education institutions were forced to adapt to unprecedented changes and demands in response to COVID-19, accelerating digital transformation within the sector. As we look forward, we need a digital strategy to help us determine how we can make the most of this momentum to build new pathways between teaching and learning, research, administration and technology.

A Digital Strategy provides clear and realistic expectations of technology, services and operational practices, and ensures that the solutions we implement are approached purposefully and meet the needs of the communities that we serve. This will enable individual and institutional success, help us to understand the potential of digital technologies and associated services, prioritize our investments, and readily apply them to better serve our diverse community.

Our Digital Strategy will assist us in selecting the right combination of technologies, tools and strategies that can be combined to create these experiences. Laurier’s Digital Strategy is not a standalone initiative. We see it as an integral part to Laurier’s current priorities, projects and strategic plans, and essential for all future initiatives.

Why Digital Strategy?

Our Digital Strategy will provide a shared vision to enhance teaching, learning, research, administration, and service through sustainable digital innovation for Laurier and for our community of partners. In developing our approach, the Digital Strategy Working Group has identified a series of values that will drive its development.

Through this strategy we will:

Implement: Smart and Responsive Tools and Services

  • Services are easy to find, accessible, personalized and provide timely assistance.
  • Easy-to-use digital tools that are available regardless of location.
  • Tools and services that seamlessly integrate with existing infrastructure and institutional culture.

Facilitate: Data-informed Culture

  • Collect and use data dynamically and securely to inform our strategy and priorities.
  • Harness information to drive user experience and service design.
  • Analyse and use KPIs to assess the effectiveness of activities, services, and programs.

Enable: Collaboration and Connectivity

  • Introduce technology and services that enable innovation, creativity, and collaboration.
  • Seamless engagement between all members of our communities.
  • The ability to share, collaborate, and work easily and securely anytime, regardless of location or resource availability.

How to Get Involved

The following opportunities are available for students, staff and faculty to help shape our Digital Strategy.

Focus Groups

In October we are hosting a series of focus groups for students, staff and faculty to get their feedback on what a digital future at Laurier should look like in the next three to five years. Space is limited and more sessions will be made available based on community response.

Survey

Following our focus groups, we will release a survey to allow our community to provide more insight into what digital goals and objectives should be prioritized in the coming years.

Newsletters

Quarterly newsletters will be sent out on the progress made towards developing our Digital Strategy and implementing the objectives we have decided on as a community.

Timelines

Since the winter of 2020 when the Digital Strategy working group was formed, we have been engaging with Gartner, external partners, and executive leadership to determine the direction and approach that we will take.

This journey did not begin with the development of the Digital Strategy Working Group or in response to COVID-19. Our digital journey has already started through the implementation of various initiatives, including the Laurier Learning Management System (D2L/Brightspace, MyLearningSpace), a wide range of electronic resources, services and platforms available through the Laurier Library, eduroam, the Microsoft 365 migration, ConsignO e-signing solution, the COVID-19 self-reporting application and more.

Phase One: Developing Our Digital Story

Having engaged with senior leadership and the executive leadership team to get a sense of how they view our digital future at Laurier, we are working to develop a framework and story that tells our digital journey. As we continue to develop our Digital Strategy and implement new projects and solutions, this digital story will grow and evolve over time.

Phase Two: Stakeholder Engagement

In the late summer and into the fall, we will begin holding focus groups, meetings, and distributing surveys to define the priorities of different groups and ensure that their input helps to inform our strategy. We are currently developing our stakeholder engagement plan and more details about these engagement opportunities are forthcoming.

Phase Three: Draft Digital Strategy

Once we have met with stakeholders and collected feedback, we will begin to cluster and prioritise goals and objectives to develop our digital strategy. The Digital Strategy Working Group will then work closely with senior and executive leadership teams to review the strategy for final approval.

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“Digital Strategy helps us to determine where we are going as an institution.”

Members of the Digital Strategy Working Group

The Digital Strategy Working group is made up of diverse leaders from across the university that represent various strategic priorities of the university. The group meets bi-weekly to discuss current priorities, work planning and actions required. Sponsors are provided a monthly report detailing the progress that have been made towards developing our digital strategy.

Current Members of the Digital Strategy Working Group

  • Gohar Ashoughian, University Librarian
  • Dan Dawson, Assistant Vice-President, Student and Ancillary Services
  • John Fraser, Assistant Vice-President, Integrated Planning and Budget
  • Charity Parr-Vasquez, Assistant Vice-President, Research
  • Nela Petkovic, Chief Information Officer
  • Mary Wilson, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning

Sponsors for Our Digital Strategy Working Group

  • Jonathan Newman, Vice-President, Research
  • Lloyd Noronha, Vice-President, Finance and Administration
  • Anthony Vannelli, Provost and Vice-President Academic

Support Staff

  • Kyle Harris, Manager Digital Transformation Strategy
  • Chris Pasierbski, Administrative Assistant ICT

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Frequently Asked Questions

"Digital Strategy" vs. "IT Strategy" vs. "Digital Transformation": How are they different?

Digital strategy sets the stage for how our institution should evolve to survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. It provides a lens that is informed by digital considerations and impacts all aspects of university mission, the academic, research and business strategy. Digital strategy focuses on making changes to the way we as an institution use technology to improve activities, processes, and the services we provide.

IT strategy assumes the business strategy is set, then considers how to use IT to make that strategy successful. IT Strategy is usually conducted after an overall institutional business strategy is set. IT strategy has been to determine which technologies to adopt or invest to ensure that strategy is successful.

Digital transformation drives change in three areas: customer experience, operational processes, and business models. The process of digital transformation requires coordination across the entire organization and involves business culture changes.