The Office of the Dean has designed a new vision draft that will help UTM determine its goals as a community, and guide the campus’ growth over the next years.
“This vision was about bringing together the departments; rather than just growing, we grow with a common purpose,” said Amrita Daniere, the vice-principal, academic and dean, in an interview with The Medium.
The draft is a result of an external review the campus underwent in 2015. According to the dean, three “eminent” professors reviewed the school’s facilities to determine how efficiently the school is operating.
“One of the professors’ main concern was that UTM had grown very quickly over quite an amount of time, and there wasn’t a consensus among the different stakeholders about where we were going,” Daniere said.
The current draft, created by the dean and other administrators, was distributed by email to students last week. It cites a variety of areas of focus the school would like to continue to develop, such as sustainability, communication, and innovation.
“I read the external review, I read the academic plan, I talked to staff and students informally,” Daniere explained.
“It’s a draft because it’s meant to spark discussion, to give people something to criticize and comment on.”
Daniere is planning on holding consultations with students regarding the draft by welcoming constructive feedback.
“In November, I’m going to have at least three focus groups, which will be led by a professional facilitator, and each focus group will be given an hour to give input in an organized manner,” Daniere stated.
“This is when we get feedback, and then we will revise the document based on feedback.”
In addition to the focus groups, the Office of the Dean is planning two open houses to be announced in October and November, where students can meet and speak with Daniere to provide suggestions about the draft.
“The goal would be to have two months of opportunity for feedback; then in December, I will re-draft the vision. In January, we will re-circulate it again. At that point, what we circulate will be close to final,” Daniere explained.
Daniere also explained that a working group of volunteers will be established to help bring the goals in the Vision Draft into practice throughout the campus.
When the plan gets finalized in early 2017, it will slowly be integrated and begin to guide any requests put forth by departments. These requests and investment opportunities would be held against the vision’s statements to ensure consistency with UTM’s goals.
According to the dean, the draft will not be enforced fully until this time next year.
Students looking to provide feedback can also directly respond to the mass email that distributed the draft last week. Daniere stated that the Office of the Dean is working on creating different modes of sending suggestions for students who wish to remain anonymous.
The dates and times for both the open houses and focus groups are expected to be announced soon.