Setting our sights on the future: the origins of Eyes High

In January 2011, President Elizabeth Cannon launched Project Next, a collaborative effort to define our future direction. Faculty members in the Haskayne School of Business tailored an original strategy-planning process using a contemporary approach designed to energize and focus the university community. The result of Project Next was the Eyes High strategic direction, which guided the university from 2011-16.


Project Next planning process

The Project Next planning process incorporated the most extensive consultation process ever undertaken at the University of Calgary. Participants examined competitive advantages and trade-offs, and were asked to be realistic about what was possible. More than 4,000 faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders participated in a wide range of activities including:

  • Six weeks of in-person conversations and more than 1,500 visits to a roving booth set up around campus

  • 25 small group workshops led by senior faculty members and university staff, attended by approximately 500 students, faculty, staff and community members

  • Three months of input gathered through the Project Next website and social media, including 4,000 website visitors and 1,300 votes on a “Question of the Week” series

Input gathered between January and March 2011 was combined with information from leading academic, government, business and non-profit sources and distilled into themes that identified strategic opportunities and potential goals for the University of Calgary over the next five years. The results were summarized in a strategy statement and document that defines the University of Calgary’s future direction.

Project Next was led by a Strategy Steering Committee comprising a cross-section of the university community and including students, faculty, staff and administration.

Why Eyes High ?

Eyes High was chosen because it reflects the university’s Gaelic motto Mo Shùile Togam Suas, which translates as “I Will Lift Up My Eyes.” It also highlights the determination of the university community and all Calgarians to look ahead to the future and dream big.