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Athabasca University

Creating Our Strategic Plan


To the AU Community:

What would it take for you to become a student at AU?

It’s a question I’ve been asking a lot. I’ve asked community leaders, journalists, politicians, staff, professors, and random individuals who haven’t yet discovered Athabasca University. It’s a question I encourage you to ask too.

The answers have been insightful, often very personal, and consistently illuminating, while everyone’s story is unique, and the level of detail varies, the answer to this question is surprisingly consistent. Frequently, there is a strong desire to pursue university education, constrained by either uncertainty in themselves, uncertainty in their ability to balance education with the needs of their families and communities, and uncertainly about AU’s ability to deliver what they think they need.

It is abundantly clear, that students, alumni, government, and all of our stakeholders, including each of us wants AU to be successful and be proud of our place as the pioneers of new and innovative ways to learn.

We are meant to move, to always be on the journey, to blaze a trail only possible at a digital-first university. To set a course that others are compelled to follow and be part of. This is how we transform lives and transform communities - it is the genesis of our Imagine plan.

Imagine: Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities, is a five-year strategic plan to guide that journey. To help us navigate the unknown and allow us to move forward together. With each divisional plan, resource plan, and update, my commitment to you is to add clarity, show how activities fit together, add depth, and ensure you continue to have input in the choices we make. But have no doubt... we are moving.

Imagine is complex but understanding it need not be complicated. If you are new to our plan or if you are a regular reader, here’s how I would suggest you approach reading it:

  • Start with the Story. As you think about it, imagine talking about it with your friends or with your family around the dinner table. Find an example or a person you know who has lived it... maybe that’s you. Look for opportunities to tell our story again and again. Keep the Core Story in your mind as you read and think about the rest of the plan.
  • The next section is our “I-CARE” Values and our Commitments. On any long journey, there will be moments of excitement and celebrations as well as bumps and disagreements. Our values and commitments serve to keep us on track. They remind us of our commitments to ourselves and to our colleagues. They remind us of ‘how we show up’. They remind us to be collegial, collaborative, and be respectful of where we’ve come from and the communities whose paths we will share.
  • Our Strategic Directions are just that, they are our tools of way-finding and ensuring that our journey has positive impact on the things and people we care about. They provide us with our compass directions and guideposts by which to make our collective institutional decisions.
  • Our Priority Outcomes are the final part of our Imagine plan and is our Call to Action. It is a guide to align activities and resources across Athabasca University.
    • The 2018 Critical Actions are the foundation layer that every future outcome relies on. That’s why we must focus on them first.
    • The 2019 Priority Outcomes build on our foundation and emphasize what we need to enable our journey.
    • The 2020 Priority Outcomes are where we really advance, move, and flex our abilities.
    • Lastly, the 2021/2022 Priority Outcomes – across Learner Success, Research Success, and AU Success - these outcomes are years in the making and result in true transformation of AU.
    • Our cycle repeats.

We owe it to our students, their families, and their communities to deliver on our potential. We owe it to our alumni, to our stakeholders, and we owe it to ourselves too. I know that we believe in AU and the transformative change we enable for our students, their families, and their communities.

What’s next for each of us? Read Imagine: Transforming Lives, Transforming Communities, think about it, imagine how you can help, ask lots of questions, and be ready to move beyond.


Neil Fassina   PhD CPHR ICD.D


Working Group Membership

The Working Group membership is comprised as follows:

  • Dr. Neil Fassina, President
  • Dr. Matthew Prineas, Provost and Vice-President Academic
  • Dr. Pamela Hawranik, Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Dr. Alain May, Associate Vice-President, Student and Academic Services
  • Dr. Shauna Reckseidler-Zenteno, Associate Professor, Biology, Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Dr. Margaret Kierylo, Director, Integrated Planning, Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic
  • Charlene Polege, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Ann Conguergood, Academic Expert, Faculty of Business
  • Eva Sale, Liaison Officer

Steering Team Membership

The Steering Team membership is comprised as follows:

  • Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Chair
  • Dr. Matthew Prineas, Provost and Vice President Academic
  • Jennifer Schaeffer, Vice President Information Technology & CIO 
  • Rick Harland, Vice President University Relations (Interim)
  • John Latremouille, Director, IT Operations
  • Dr. Donna Romyn, Associate Vice President, Research
  • Dr. Alain May, Associate Vice President, Student and Academic Services 
  • Dr. Deborah Hurst, Dean, Faculty of Business
  • Dr. Veronica Thompson, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Margaret Edwards, Dean, Faculty of Health Disciplines
  • Dr. Lisa Carter, Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology 
  • Dr. Pamela Hawranik, Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Carol Lund, University Secretary 
  • Charlene Polege, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Dr. Paul Jerry, Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines
  • Dr. Martin Connors, Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Dale Dewhurst, Associate Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Eric Wang, Associate Professor, Faculty of Business
  • Dr. Marc Cels, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes, Professor and Chair, Centre for Distance Education
  • Priscilla Campeau, Chair, Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research
  • Betty Loree, Tutor, Faculty of Health Disciplines  
  • Katilyn Hillier, Tutor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences  
  • Dr. Georgia Goth, Academic Expert, Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Lantry Vaughn, Academic Expert, Faculty of Business
  • Dr. Robert Sochowski, Instructor, Centre for Distance Education
  • Dr. Mark Dimirsky, Tutor, Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Mark Fabbro, Associate Registrar, Operations
  • Carrie Anton, Assistive Technologist, Access for Students with Disabilities
  • Jessica Butts Scott, Director, Partnerships and Student Recruitment
  • Elaine Fabbro, Director, Library and Scholarly Resources
  • Lyla McDonald, Student Support and Advising Specialist, Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Shawna Wasylyshyn, Athabasca University Student Union (AUSU)
  • Lindsay McNena, Athabasca University Graduate Student Association (AUGSA)

Updated March 15 2018 by Web Services - University Relations

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