Brock’s new Strategic Plan focuses on student experience, research, community engagement and inclusivity

Brock University is capping off an exciting 2018 with a major achievement — a new Institutional Strategic Plan that will be instrumental in guiding the University into the future.

The document, entitled “Brock University:  Niagara Roots — Global Reach,” was developed through a broad-based, full-year consultation process and has been approved by the Board of Trustees and University Senate.

The Plan celebrates the University’s connection to the Niagara region, and reflects Brock’s advancing global reach and reputation. Looking at a seven-year span, from 2018-2025 — which includes Brock’s 60th anniversary in 2024 — the document brings focus on identifying and achieving the University’s academic, cultural and community objectives, defined by developments and growth into a dynamic next-generation university with enhanced strengths, experiential and work-integrated learning, advanced research activity and activated community partnerships.

The entire Plan can be viewed at Brock University Institutional Strategic Plan.

The document sets out four priorities to guide planning and decision-making until 2025:

  • Providing a transformational and accessible academic and student experience
  • Increasing the University’s research capacity
  • Enhancing the life and vitality of communities across Niagara region and beyond
  • Fostering a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization

Realizing these priorities will assist the University in better meeting student academic and career aspirations; supporting faculty and staff initiatives in teaching, learning, research and scholarly activities; advancing the University’s role in regional community and economic development; and enhancing the work and learning environment at Brock.

The Strategic Plan also recognizes the University’s ability to play a dynamic role in building and contributing to the vitality and attractiveness of the Niagara region for individuals from across Canada and the world to come to learn, live and thrive. Already, the University contributes approximately $640 million each year to the economic vitality of the region, and expects to support even more growth. Brock also plans to strengthen its global reach through excellence and achievements in teaching and learning, research and community engagement activities.

The document grew out of extensive consultations that included meetings with people on campus and in surrounding communities, from students and academic deans, to social agencies, members of Indigenous communities, the Senate, Board, alumni and others.

Gary Comerford, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said the exercise of consulting, drafting and finalizing the Plan was an invaluable experience for the institution.

Brock University President Gervan Fearon talks with fifth-year Kinesiology student Paige Burnie, left, and third-year Business Communications student Ashlan Macdonald, right.

“We are at an exciting moment in the University’s history,” said Comerford. “Brock spent its first half century building a strong reputation for learning and discovery. Now it looks into its future with a Strategic Plan that everyone can believe in, because so many people had a hand in creating it.”

Scott Henderson, Chair of Senate, also felt the consultation process created “an impressively clear sense of Brock as an institution.”

“Feedback from senators, from Board members, from faculty, staff, students and community members, was all very much in alignment,” said Henderson. “It is a reminder that we have done an excellent job of carving out a unique identity in our first 50-plus years, and that positions us well for dynamic growth as we head towards Brock at 60.”

President Gervan Fearon called it a Plan “we embrace with pride, for the vision it holds for the future of the University,” and said the document highlights how Brock can contribute to post-secondary education in Ontario, and support the development of the talent and capacity needed for advancing regional community and economic development.

“Brock is an increasingly national and internationally recognized University for its leadership in experiential and work-integrated learning programs,” he said. “We are building on these strengths to further our research profile as a comprehensive university.  We are forging the future together, by reflecting what we heard through the consultation process.”

The President thanked former-Provost Tom Dunk for his leadership during the consultation process. He said developing the Strategic Plan involved many individuals and stakeholders across the University community, and they can all be proud about what has been achieved and the future ahead.

“This document sets out the pathways for us to follow,” said Dunk, “but there are more specific things that will have to be determined at the unit level, decisions that need to be made on the ground.”

“A university cannot exist in isolation of its own region. This is a priority that came directly out of our consultation process, both internally and externally.”

As part of the Strategic Plan’s implementation, individual Unit Plans will now be developed in Faculties and units across campus, along with metrics and measurable outcomes to reflect Brock’s commitment to accountability and to mandates that inform post-secondary education in the province.

These detailed Unit Plans will be developed through faculty and staff engagement, and the co-ordination of the Vice-Presidents, including Greg Finn, Vice-President, Academic, and Provost, Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research, and Brian Hutchings, Vice-President, Administration. Annual progress reports and updates will be made.

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