The Discussion Document for the Academic Plan 2015-2018 was prepared by ACAPLAN/COPA for circulation to the Faculties (acknowledging the new structure) in June 2014. The request to Deans was for ACAPLAN/COPA to receive the feedback from the Faculties regarding modifications, additions, deletions by November of 2014. The goal was to allow ACAPLAN/COPA to formulate a recommendation to Senate in 2015.
The Academic Plan for the Laurentian University needs to be situated within the context of other planning documents including the Strategic Mandate Agreement which was signed with the Province of Ontario, the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan and the 2012-2017 Strategic Research Plan.
Since it is also relevant to the context, it should be noted that in the last year: a) Senate has approved the creation of a School of the Environment and a School of Northern and Community Studies; b) the Province has initiated a process for Major Campus Expansion (i.e., Barrie); and c) Laurentian is committed to a major process of Campus Modernization in Sudbury.
The University’s Purpose articulated in the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan reads as follows:
Laurentian University with its federated partners offers an outstanding university experience, in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education, that prepares students as agents of change by stimulating them to ask new questions, to challenge what we know, and so empower them to create innovative solutions for future local and global issues.
The four key goals for the Academic Plan 2015-2018 are as follows:
- Review Early Leavers Studies and internal surveys to design and implement a Laurentian response;
- Focus on work-integrated learning and develop a central office to support these activities;
- Pursue the development of interdisciplinary degree program options, and design the timetable to ensure these program options are available to students and facilitate multi-year planning;
- Ensure appropriate academic and library supports are available for all students with a particular focus on Indigenous students.
2. Develop French language and Indigenous programming consistent with the University’s unique Purpose.
- Review the 100 plus first-year course sections offered in French, to determine whether the structure of existing programs could be improved to increase the choice of courses after the first year;
- Explore the launch of French programs in signature disciplines in high demand;
- Explore the creation of a first-year interdisciplinary seminar in French on contemporary issues, and a similar seminar during fourth-year in French to reflect on their learning;
- Design programs to accommodate students completing French immersion programs, and facilitate “bilingual” degrees (majors/minors) with students taking courses or writing exams in either language; e. Promote an expansion of Indigenous content in the curriculum.
- Expand academic supports for graduate students, e.g., teaching workshops, including meeting space needs, instrumentation for advanced study, and appropriate library/archival resources;
- Support the creation of new graduate programs, including a focus on Health, Indigenous perspective, and the North;
- Support the appointment of internal Research Chairs to help expand existing degree programs or establish new programs.
- Expand opportunities for faculty to embrace technology through start-up or project grants, and promote use of the Institutional Repository to publish scholarly activity;
- Develop the Laurentian Online Institute to include a focus on adult and distance education learners, coordinated delivery between online and on-campus courses, library online research skills instruction, a goal of 100% utilization of the Learning Management System by 2018-19 and a blended learning format in 20% of courses delivered;
- Promote and support a focus on teaching with technology and an expansion of Indigenous content in the online curriculum.
Impact on Resource Allocation
As the University resources its Academic Plan, the Deans/University Librarian have a particular role with regard to staffing and resource allocation within the academic units. The Deans/University Librarian shall base their recommendations for new or replacement staffing on: the enrolment in a program; the centrality of the program to the University’s mission; the ability of a Department/School to offer an advertised program completely; the research excellence of the unit; and where relevant, retain accreditation. Finally, in responding to requests for hires, Deans/University Librarian shall consider the cohesiveness and functionality of the department /school making such requests.
The Academic Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis starting in March 2016.