The Interim Provost Lisa Ostiguy is inviting faculty, staff and students to get involved in a number of activities to support the implementation of the Academic Plan 2012-16. A new feature on the plan’s web page, called a dashboard, presents an overview of the many initiatives.
“Since the plan’s approval last January, work has begun in earnest on several initiatives,” says Ostiguy. “A lot of exciting things are gaining momentum as we move forward. I am encouraged by the level of commitment, and I am hoping more people will join us in our efforts to be creative and innovative.”
For example, the university is launching the first annual Teaching and Learning Winter Festival on February 1, which will encourage more sustained conversations about teaching and learning across the university.
“We are building a framework that will support the incubation of new ideas and use that knowledge to inform and improve our teaching and learning practices,” says Ollivier Dyens, vice-provost, Teaching and Learning. “This will lead to an enriched academic experience for our students.”
He adds that the Centre for Teaching and Learning Services has revised its mandate to place a greater emphasis on performing research and development functions for learning at Concordia. This will lead to more dynamic undergraduate learning.
Ostiguy emphasized that the university remains committed to making investments in the Academic Plan, despite the current budget challenges for the current fiscal year and for 2013-14.
“We must continue to invest in programs and projects that will benefit and support our current – and future – students, faculty and staff,” she says.
For example, funding earmarked in the plan has been protected for the hiring of 170 teaching assistants, or TA-led sections, to support undergraduate learning. More than 130 students, identified as top candidates, are also benefiting from tuition fee rebates for graduate programs. Concordia’s libraries have received a major investment for new acquisitions, part of a strategy to increase the university’s research strength.
Three areas have been identified as priorities for the plan’s implementation in the current academic year and for 2013-14: recruiting graduate students, developing innovative and dynamic undergraduate offerings, and investing in the libraries.
Concordia President Alan Shepard says the three priority areas support the university’s commitment to improving its research strength and in offering students an outstanding experience.
He points to a current initiative to identify research areas that can be advanced through the strategic hiring of faculty members and department chairs, beyond replacement hiring.
The interim provost and Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, Graham Carr will be working with the Faculty deans to identify research areas that can be advanced through strategic faculty hiring beyond replacement hiring, and to devise ways to increase the availability of internal research award opportunities and support the scholarly work of Concordia’s faculty members.
Planned activities to support graduate student recruitment include defining distinctive strengths of graduate programs and developing proactive plans to identify potential applicants. Additional initiatives include the launch of a new undergraduate research bursaries program in February, the implementation of writing and math centres and efforts to continue building Concordia’s research capacity.
Stay tuned for more stories about these and other activities in the coming weeks.
• Academic Plan implementation dashboard – get involved
• Academic Plan web page
• Academic Plan 2012-16 (PDF document)
• Teaching and Learning Winter Festival
• New library acquisitions: “World history through newspapers” — NOW, January 29, 2013
• New library acquisitions: “History of fashion goes online” — NOW, January 17, 2013 (New library acquisitions)