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Concordia introduces the next chapter of its digital strategy

Successful pilot projects are now making the move to other units
April 14, 2021
By Leslie Goldstein

Woman's head with a graphic depicting internet symbols (wifi, cellphone, etc) superimposed over the top.

Since early 2018, Concordia’s Digital Strategy team has been developing a shared vision and roadmap and implementing an array of projects to help shape the institution as a next-generation university.

The team conducted in-depth research through public consultation group discussions and individual interviews to explore the community’s experience with technology, from a general perspective and in the Concordia context.

The interviews provided detailed information about Concordians’ expectations and challenges related to technology and helped identify potential areas of improvement.

The investigation also included an environmental scan report that reviewed digital strategies from other complex organizations, providing insight into their key components and successful implementation.

Drawing from the successful digital strategies outlined in the report, the Digital Strategy team recognized the need to strike a balance between “getting the basics right” and setting ambitious goals, while maintaining the primary focus on users ahead of technology.

The strategic projects that make up the university’s digital strategy cover a wide range of topics including digital capabilities, the Lab for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (LITL), Open Educational Resources (OER), the Concordia hub and the service adoption of the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, or productivity suite service adoption.

‘An extraordinary experience’

The majority of the strategic projects are now well underway, underscoring the digital strategy’s level of maturity. “It has been such an extraordinary experience to create a vision and roadmap for Concordia’s digital strategy in collaboration with students, faculty and staff,” says Guylaine Beaudry, vice-provost of digital strategy and university librarian.

“From their infancy as pilot projects, the digital strategy initiatives are ready to be transitioned to other units and eventually become fully operational.”

The OER and Digital Capabilities projects are examples of initiatives that will shift to other units — in this case, the Concordia Library. As part of the Digital Capabilities project’s changeover to the library, the team will collaborate with Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) to ensure the renewal of an online learning platform, a service currently provided by Udemy.

“The Digital Capabilities project will continue to focus on finding opportunities to improve the community’s digital competencies,” says Paul Fournier, director of digital strategy.

Other examples include the Productivity Suite Service Adoption project that will migrate to IITS and the LITL that will become part of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. The Concordia Hub project is in the final testing stages of the student hub experience, part of the project’s phase 1, and is aiming to release the faculty and staff hub experience in mid-June as part of phase 2.

In tandem with this digital strategy and project evolution, Fournier will become director of the newly formed Digital Transformation Office within the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic. He will report to Marius Paraschivoiu, vice-provost of planning and student experience.

The Digital Transformation Office will focus on providing process review and change-management services for digital projects that touch the academic sector. To that end, Fournier will manage the Process Review and Redesign project currently under digital strategy.

Linda Campione, digital strategy’s director of process transformation, has been leading the Process Review and Redesign project, which offers support to Concordia staff to find ways to improve the university’s services to students.

Campione will now provide leadership in coordinating the work across sectors to imagine how Concordia can become a model university of the future, part of the university-of-the future consultations co-led by Anne Whitelaw, interim provost and vice-president, academic, and Michael di Grappa, vice-president of services and sustainability.

“It has been truly rewarding to see the digital strategy projects evolve over the last three years,” Fournier adds. “The success of these projects and the overall digital strategy is a result of the strong leadership of Guylaine Beaudry and the continued collaboration of the project leads with the Concordia community.”

With the university’s Digital Strategy firmly established, Beaudry will refocus her energies on planning for the renovation of the Vanier Library and a number of other institutional initiatives.

Visit Concordia’s
Digital Strategy website to learn more about the strategic projects and initiatives.



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