From September to December 2016, students, faculty, staff, Board and Senate members, alumni and community members responded to the university’s request to help energize the Eyes High strategy for 2017-2022 and shape the future of the university. They provided feedback by participating in focus groups, completing an online survey, visiting roving booths across campus, completing weekly polls, and submitting written comments. Over three months, more than 10,000 points of engagement were recorded — 4,000+ of those involved survey completion and/or focus group participation.
Since the consultation process concluded, the working team has been busy analyzing the feedback collected. Loren Falkenberg, associate dean, research, from the Haskayne School of Business, chairs the Energizing Eyes High Secretariat and has been deeply involved in reviewing the data. “Our community believes that we’re heading in a good direction and people have offered excellent input to help us leverage our momentum. Overall, I am impressed with how thoughtful the feedback is,” she says, “and by how vested our community is in the future success of the university.”
Three working papers and a consultation summary capture the contributions of the university community. They are now available online and serve as key reference documents for members of the Strategic Oversight Committee as they refine the original Eyes High strategy:
- Survey working paper
The online survey investigated the three foundational commitments of the Eyes High strategy (teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and community and environment) as well as two additional areas (campus culture and student experience). Respondents evaluated several factors under each area, indicating “Where are we now?” and “Where should we be?” A total of 2,318 responses were included in the analysis, with students accounting for the largest proportion of survey responses. Scores indicate broad support of the factors investigated, with a desire for the university to increase effort further in each of them.
- Focus group working paper
The focus group sessions were structured to gather feedback on progress made since 2011, and to seek advice concerning necessary changes that will advance the university toward the achievement of its vision by 2022. A total of 893 people participated in 39 focus group sessions, exploring the same five areas as the survey. Similarly, they were supportive of factors identified within each area and would like the university to put additional effort and resources into them.
- Environment scan working paper
Community members were asked to identify plans and reports that provide information about the university’s operating landscape, which were then reviewed from the perspective of the political, economic, social and technological environment. The environmental scan considered key planning documents produced by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary, the federal research granting councils, and other post-secondary educational institutions.
This brief overview comprises results from the survey, focus groups, and environmental scan grouped within the three foundational commitment areas of the Eyes High strategy, as well as the two additional areas of campus culture and student experience.
“The rich feedback we received through the 2016 consultation process is of tremendous value as we begin to draft an energized Eyes High strategy,” adds President Elizabeth Cannon. “I am personally very grateful to everyone who generously shared their insights on how to advance our university. It is exciting to confirm that we are on the right track and to learn where people feel we can focus to improve even more. Now comes the important next phase to develop our institutional priorities for the next five years.”
What happens next?
Over the course of February, the detailed analyses will be shared with groups across campus in small sessions delivered by Falkenberg and Bruce Evelyn, vice-provost, planning and resource allocation.
At the same time, a refined strategic direction is being drafted and moving through our governance bodies — the General Faculties Council and the Board of Governors — before it is finalized and then introduced on April 28, 2017. From there, the energized strategy will cascade throughout the university to serve as a guide to planning at all levels.