University academic planning, including that of the UofA, has most often been managed centrally. However, while widespread consultation had typically been sought, the process of reading and synthesizing all available data, and writing, obtaining feedback and revising the draft academic plan had never centrally involved UofA faculty members until 2006, when the Provost turned the process over to a working group of three faculty. He took a “hands-off” approach unless asked for consultation. Using the President’s “Dare to Discover” vision document, individual Faculty academic plans, academic and non-academic administrative unit reports, University committee and working group reports, student, faculty and staff association submissions, ideas gleaned from reviewing a large number of other University academic plans, and a variety of other documents as a database, the working group created a draft academic plan to be reviewed throughout the University. Verbal and written input from a variety of committees, other formal groups, deans, faculty and other individuals campus-wide was used to refine the draft plan. Because of substantial financial decentralization to Faculties, consensus on change had to be forged with fewer traditional monetary incentives. The consultation process was repeated until the faculty working group felt that they had essentially exhausted additional ideas, that the draft plan articulated innovative, exciting directions for the next four years, and that the draft was ready for submission to the General Faculties Council. It passed by a vote of 79 to 12. The University administration enthusiastically embraced the Plan and made significant financial resources available to pursue its objectives. The Provost’s commitment to a faculty-led whole-systems approach that encouraged engagement, innovation and ownership was key to success.
|Keywords:||Academic Planning, Whole-System, Faculty-Driven, Engagement, Ownership, Innovation|
Associate Professor, Department of English and Film Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Professor and Stream Leader, Public Health Leadership, Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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