From the Academic Plan for 2021-26
Saint Mary’s, like all universities, is unwavering in its deep commitment to academic strength and success. With support and guidance from the university’s strategic plan, the Academic Plan summarizes areas of priority for attention and broad actions, while still allowing flexibility to react and adapt to significant new opportunities that might present themselves.
It is also important in moving forward that we pay attention to the needs of the academy, particularly the students and faculty, and the way they seek support. How we are organized is secondary to being responsive to those needs. At this time too, as we look to the opportunities for the university as we emerge from the pandemic, we need to be mindful to seize on lessons learned, the creativity that has been shown by so many, and the greater awareness of the needs of different types of learners.
As we work through the next five years, we must also pay attention to our learners. We seek to improve their experience but need to hear from them as to how well we are succeeding in that goal, and where we need to improve. Our students are our primary group of learners, but we will see in the plan opportunities for faculty, staff, and leadership to all be learners – and the same need to pay attention exists with all.
In that spirit, it is important that we align the relevant support structures in the university to be engaged with and supporting key elements of the plan. Each area brings significant strengths to many aspects of the plan and collaboration is vital to the university’s success. These common areas of support include (but are not necessarily limited to): the Patrick Power Library, the Studio for Teaching and Learning, the Research Office, Student Affairs and Services, Enterprise Information Technology (EIT), Facilities Management and Human Resources. In addition, the Academic Senate and its various key committees (e.g. Academic Planning, Committee on Learning
and Teaching, Curriculum, Regulations, Academic Literacy, Accessibility) will also be engaged in most, if not all, of the priorities identified in this plan.
The university is also at a critical juncture in its need to not just speak to accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion – but to act. The Academic Plan has a critical role to play there in how the learning and scholarship environment on campus must transform. In fact, the plan must help the university lead and these principles must be viewed as important to each and every component inside this plan, whether explicitly stated or not.