The University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) has released the first draft of its strategic framework, which outlines the university’s efforts to unify existing plans and to advise collective decisions. Representing a working draft, the purpose of this framework is to present an overview of the priorities that will guide long-term decisions and considerations.
Developed between July 2020 and August 2021, the framework provides students and faculty with a chance to observe what plans the campus will prioritize in the future and what can be expected. As mentioned in their document, it also represents “some of the fundamental spirit of academic inquiry.”
The Strategic Framework was developed in response to several documents and plans by the university that have been in long-term planning, including UTM’s Academic Plan of 2017, and U of T’s Presidential Discussion Paper of 2015. These papers examine the various conversations with faculty while also reflecting on UTM’s key priorities, including a focus on communication and community. They are fundamental as they are substantial precedents for mapping current and future priorities of UTM.
With a call to optimize student life and long-term decisions, the university draws upon several conversations to outline specific priorities and visions for the future.
“We developed this draft with tremendous input from students, librarians, staff, faculty and community partners,” says Alexandra Gillespie, UTM’s vice-president and principal in an interview with UTM News. “Now published online, the draft sets out a series of priorities to unify our campus’s existing plans and inform our collective decisions.”
The strategic framework consists of five priorities. The first priority, Centre Truth, Openness, and Reciprocity focuses on a call to deepen conversations with Indigenous communities. The second, Inspire Academic Creativity for Student Success, looks into giving students more creative freedom in their studies and cultivates more experiential education. Enable Impactful Discovery in Student and Faculty Research will commit to strengthen research networks with “world-leading faculty, graduates and students” and continue to grow the community’s creative outlets. Develop Inclusive Spaces and Sustainable Operations commits to creating a safe, inclusive environment for all, innovate more sustainable infrastructure, and combat racist stigmas. Finally, Embrace our Location for Connection, Wellbeing, and Care will commit to improve community health.
In the future, UTM plans to host conversations and forums with Indigenous partners, student groups, governance bodies, administrative committees, academic departments, and external stakeholders to gather updates to the framework. These conversations will operate to enhance the framework and ensure all priorities are being met and addressed.
These forums will also address questions for relevant stakeholders such as the following: Has this draft framework represented priorities with which you identify; Do you see your contributions reflected in its commitments; Will its language help you articulate our distinct role in the community; Does its narrative describe a campus of which you feel proud?
A schedule will be soon released informing when these conversations will take place.
As stated in the published draft of the framework, “UTM will deepen this trust with actions rooted in five priorities, which come together to form a campus narrative of collective flourishing: the flourishing of bodies and minds, of cultures and communities, of economies and ecosystems.”
When the schedules for the forums are finalized, all UTM students and faculty are welcome to attend these meetings, share their feedback, and complete reflection forms to express their ideas about the draft.