The resulting Strategic Directions promises that Concordia will be committed to offer “next-generation real education,” to “experiment boldly,” to build “on our reputation as a caring university” and to “be purposeful about taking pride,” among other aims. “I wanted it to inspire people, catalyze the community to take the next steps in our development as an institution, and give members of our community enough breathing room to imagine their own futures inside this framework,” Shepard says.
At seven pages, Strategic Directions is also easily digestible. “It was an explicit goal from the beginning to have the directions short, nongeneric and written in a lively way, which would be much more likely to be read, to be remembered and to be used,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, BA 95, Concordia’s provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs.
The nine directions include “Get your hands dirty,” “Mix it up” and “Go beyond” — not a conventional tone for a strategic plan. Isabelle Dostaler, professor in the Department of Management at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, was a member of the advisory committee and chaired a task force on public and community engagement. “These directions resemble Concordia: there’s something unique about the way we say these things,” she says. “The words sound like us.”