I’ve been looking back on recent Carleton strategic plans, in particular Defining Dreams (2009-2013) and the recently completed Collaboration, Leadership and Resilience (2013-2018).

Overall, I would say that the vision and objectives laid out in those plans have been realized, and we can take great pride in all that has been achieved at Carleton over the past decade!

Higher education continues to change. In fact, the pace of change is accelerating and we must ask ourselves: What directions must we take now to be the best Carleton we can be in five to 10 years?

I say “directions” plural because of the richness and complexity of our mission. How must we evolve in student life and student success, pedagogy, research and innovation, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, Indigenous initiatives and more? It’s not simple.

“Strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: its starting point,” the great Henry Mintzberg argues. The best strategic plans set a direction without binding the organization to specific actions.

We are a unique institution with a rich history, strong values and unique strengths. To get this right, we must anchor our future strongly in our past, but always remember that in a fast-changing world, remaining true to one’s values will require change in directions that may not be on our radar today.

With the right strategy as a starting point, our plan will emerge over time – in the words of Mintzberg – “a pattern in a stream of decisions.” Every action taken in line with the strategy will add to this pattern, flowing towards a bright future.

I announced at Senate recently that I have asked four great leaders in our community to co-chair our Strategic Integrated Planning (SIP) process. We say “integrated” because we take a global view of all aspects of the university’s mission.

I want to sincerely thank Lorraine Dyke, Patrice Smith, Betina Appel Kuzmarov and Cindy Taylor for their willingness to take on this challenge. Our four co-chairs will soon be issuing a call for nominations towards forming a broad and representative task force to assist them in this important process.

We should be launching an extensive consultation and engagement process in the fall of 2019, with the aim of presenting the Strategic Integrated Plan for approval to Senate and Board in the spring of 2020. We will make sure to keep everyone informed at every step.

We are building on strength and the next decade will be incredibly exciting for Carleton!

On Strategic Planning