Creating Our Strategic Plan

July 27, 2017

Good afternoon everyone,

I am pleased to share an important next step in the advancement of our academic mission and the strengthening of our institution.

Taking hold of our own path, Athabasca University is launching an extensive effort to reenvision our strategic direction. Honouring and building upon the extensive engagement, analysis, and planning by the University over the last couple of years, we will shape and mold our future path together through an inclusive and iterative process. AU’s new Strategic Plan will be instrumental in moving us to a new level of excellence as it will set out clear aspirations for our shared work ahead. As we have done before, we will leave behind the art of the possible and embrace the art of the imagination in meeting the needs of our learners and the communities we serve.

Recently, the AU community has engaged in disciplined and thoughtful faculty and department strategic planning and accreditation activities and undertaken both internal and external reviews, including the Independent Third-Party Review. With this robust knowledge in hand, we are prepared to look into the future together with good information, diverse perspectives, and confidence.

To enable excellence in leadership throughout the planning process, I will bring together a Working Group and will be coming to the community shortly to establish a Steering Team to lead, support, and steward the university-wide effort to create AU’s Strategic Plan. The composition of these teams will be posted on the Office of the President website in the coming days.

To further support an inclusive and transparent planning process, plans are underway for a Vision and Values Conference. These three interactive all-day gatherings in Athabasca, Edmonton, and Calgary will bring the University community together to discuss and refine core components of the strategic plan, to articulate institutional values, and to explore the future of open and flexible learning. These participative events will culminate with the University community creating a shared picture of the institution’s future. I encourage all of you to participate as the conference will be influential in shaping the final plan. These meetings will be on August 28 in Calgary, August 29 in Athabasca, and August 31 in Edmonton. Further details of the day will be provided shortly.

In addition to the Vision and Values Conference, we will provide additional face-to-face, teleconference, and digital means by which to participate, have your voice heard, and shape the final direction of the plan.

I want to thank all of you in advance for your participation in the process and for your commitment to this effort as we work to define and achieve excellence in 21st century online and distance education.