In September, Wilfrid Laurier University embarked on a consultative process to develop a five-year Strategic Plan: 2019-2024.
Since October, the steering committee has been meeting and working to develop a plan that will set strategies to guide the university over the next five years. Over this time, they have reviewed literature, data sets, historical documents, learned from expert guest speakers and received input from over 2,000 members of the Laurier community through extensive consultations that were held in January.
Based on this information, this draft strategic plan attempts to capture the Laurier community’s aspirations and vision for the next decade. Throughout the month of April, there will be various opportunities for the community to share feedback on the draft strategic plan. Consultation opportunities will be posted on wlu.ca, students.wlu.ca and on Connect.
A final draft will be presented for approval to the university Senate on May 22 and to the Board of Governors on June 6.
Wilfrid Laurier University is renowned as an exceptional learning community. From our roots in Kitchener-Waterloo as a small Lutheran seminary that opened its doors in 1911, we have evolved into a comprehensive, multi-campus, multi-community university with an expanding research profile. Since the turn of this century, our institution has experienced historic growth, while maintaining the small-campus feel and student-focused approach to post-secondary education that form the essence of Laurier.
The foundation of Laurier’s success is built on this collegial spirit. It informs our academics, research, and relationships with each other, our host communities, and communities around the world. Throughout the consultation process central to developing the strategic plan, students, faculty, staff, and alumni overwhelmingly spoke of our university’s unique character and the desire to preserve it.
The foundation of this sense of community is Laurier’s commitment to purposeful learning and research. Every day our people build meaningful relationships that have lasting impact, whether it is between students and faculty, staff and alumni, graduates and employers, researchers and community organizations, or entrepreneurs and investors. Through collaboration we find inspiration.
As we look ahead to the next decade, it is Laurier’s spirit of community that will propel us forward as we innovate to meet the challenges and harness the opportunities of the next decade. Successfully navigating these changes requires nimbleness, creativity, and collaboration. We have a significant contribution to make as we educate and inspire.
The core underpinnings of a university education will remain constant. Students require intense intellectual engagement combined with hands-on learning that prepares them as engaged members of their communities who are collaborative, innovative, and ready to solve the challenges of the future.
Laurier is committed to academic excellence, research, scholarship and creative endeavours that advance knowledge to improve quality of life, build bridges inside and outside the university, and contribute to local and global economies. Laurier’s long tradition of community provides the foundation for our Strategic Plan: 2019-2024. Over the next five years, the strategic plan will equip the university with a road map that clearly defines who we are, where we are headed and how we will move forward together.
The next decade will bring significant changes to the way we live, learn and work. Engaged and aware global citizens are needed to address challenges such as social inequality and cultural divisions, environmental change, and rapidly-changing technology. These profound challenges are distinguished by their highly interdependent nature; the connections among them are deep, circular and complex.* Universities are in a unique position to address them through collaboration, interdisciplinary approaches and partnerships across institutions, communities, government, and industry. The university’s role in enabling critical, contextual, and technical thinkers through research and teaching has never been more important.
In this environment, Laurier must commit to developing new levels of skill in our graduates, so that they emerge ready to face whatever challenges the future may hold. The university must recognize the critical role interdisciplinary and university research will play in our society and economy. We must, therefore, examine our own structures and practices to better understand how we can pursue our mission in new contexts.
As we confront the challenges of the next decade and beyond, we are guided by our institutional mission, vision and values, which were approved by the Senate and Board of Governors in 2008.
*Adapted from Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World by Kurucz, Colbert & Wheeler (2013).
Approved by the Senate and Board of Governors in 2008.
Our mission describes our core purpose and commitment to stakeholders:
Wilfrid Laurier University is devoted to excellence in learning, research, scholarship and creativity. It challenges people to become engaged and aware citizens of an increasingly complex world. It fulfils its mission by advancing knowledge, supporting and enhancing high-quality undergraduate, graduate and professional education, and emphasizing co-curricular development of the whole student.
Our vision provides a lens that we use to look at the world to understand what we do and what we aspire to be:
Our commitment is to justice and sustainability now and in the future, so we strive to ignite the minds, spirits and hearts of our communities through excellence in teaching and learning, in the discovery, scholarly exploration, and application of new ideas, and in instilling the courage to engage and challenge the world in all its complexity.
Our unique values are drawn from the key elements on which Laurier was founded and which will continue to nurture and shape what we become.
To pursue strategic objectives, the university must have sufficient strength and capacity. For Laurier, the critical enablers of strategy are the quality and engagement of our people – faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni – and the stability and sustainability of our finances, systems, and physical structures.
Laurier will excel at creating a culture where all members of the university community can thrive. From this foundation, our comprehensive university will develop future-ready people who will transform the communities where they live, work, and continue to learn.
Laurier excels at creating a culture that facilitates the development of the whole person...
...by fostering a highly personalized equitable, diverse, and inclusive community in which all members can experience the powerful sense of belonging that has distinguished Laurier throughout its history.
...by pursuing enhanced and accelerated initiatives to integrate Indigenous knowledges and ways of doing into all areas of the university.
...by facilitating the expression, testing, and challenging of a range of perspectives and ideas grounded in reason, evidence, and frameworks of knowledge and creativity.
...by increasing internationalization of the university to cultivate global citizens with strong intercultural skills.
Laurier excels at preparing people for whatever challenges the future brings...
...by creating new credentials which address the needs of people at all stages of life and career, and enhance lifelong learning.
...by developing a range of competencies and knowledge that lead to innovative and creative thinking, nimbleness, good judgment, and ethical action and leadership.
...by augmenting experiential opportunities that encourage reflection, expand knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and heighten self-awareness for all students.
...by instilling an interdisciplinary mindset that enables people to bridge disciplines and different ways of knowing.
Laurier excels at knowledge creation and dissemination, community development, and engagement...
...by focusing disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and scholarship to address the most pressing challenges of our time.
...by facilitating mutually-supportive relationships and networks in our communities with alumni, other educational institutions, government, industry, and the not-for-profit sector.
...by connecting research, scholarship, and creative activity with communities locally, nationally and internationally.
...by leading the sector in environmental sustainability of our campuses and inspiring the incorporation of sustainable practices in society and the economy.
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