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Advancing our plan

Over the past several years, we’ve made great strides in the implementation of our strategic plan. In fact, it’s a challenge to keep this update to just a few items, but here are a few of the highlights from among recent related achievements.

New research plan approved

(Goal 1, Strategy D – Promote the centrality of research to the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence and to the intellectual life of our community members.)

Under the leadership of Dr. Ardra Cole, Associate Vice-President, Academic and Research, and the Committee on Research and Publications, a new Research Plan for the Mount has recently been developed, and subsequently approved by our Senate.

Aligned with, the university’s Academic Plan, the Mount’s new research plan, Making a Difference through Research, articulates a research direction and agenda for the Mount for the next three years.

With an emphasis on the distinctive character of the Mount, the plan reflects, recognizes, and supports our research community’s commitment to exploration and discovery. It also notes our response to the complex social, cultural, environmental, health, education, and economic needs of individuals, communities, and society. The research plan focuses on seven main areas: 

1. research and scholarship diversity; 

2. areas of emphasis, in particular areas in which we will seek to enhance research capacity;

3. community outreach and engagement;

4. local, regional, national, and international partnerships;

5. relationship between research and teaching; 

6. student research opportunities; and

7. research environment, culture, and institutional support. 

Mount researchers are making a mark:

- Mount professor breaking ground on the problem of climate change for plants

- The critical need to care for family and friend caregivers

- Canadian astronomer and Mount instructor helping map the Galaxy

- Most comprehensive report on community food security in NS released

McCain Centre opened

(Goal 2, Strategy E – Provide high-quality facilities for teaching and learning.)

On May 29, 2015, the Mount marked the opening of its new Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research. The first building on a Canadian university campus dedicated to the accomplishments of women, the McCain Centre celebrates women’s contributions to business, public policy, family life, academia, the arts, sciences and community. The building is an important addition to the Mount campus, offering technology-rich teaching, learning, research and student-centred spaces.

Social responsibility working group established

(Goal 3, Strategy B – Extend our commitment to social responsibility through collaborative work with local, national and international organizations who are working on behalf of social justice.)

The Mount has a commitment to social responsibility threaded through its history and current way of being and doing. Recently, we undertook an initiative to ensure that these many efforts and our organization’s approach are articulated as part of a social responsibility strategy. 

As a first step, a new social responsibility working group (including faculty, staff and students) has been established, and its members are working to develop a statement reflecting the Mount’s pan-university commitment to socially responsible action. Theworking group is also exploring what we can do to further emphasize this commitment – articulating where it’s already evident in our work and then identifying how to engage more of the Mount community as we seek to build on what we are already doing.

Advancing our safe and respectful university environment

(Goal 4, Strategies A and B – Foster a healthy, vibrant and collegial working environment for all members of the Mount community. Foster the creation and maintenance of an inclusive and respectful workplace.)

At the Mount, we place a high value on respect, safety, security, inclusion and support. In March of 2015, Mount students, faculty and staff met for some important round-table discussions about our university environment. What we heard in that open dialogue is that we already experience a safe and respectful campus – and there is great value placed on what we already have – but there is always more we can do. 

From that discussion, the following themes emerged: diversity and inclusion, communications, student services/support, infrastructure, and leadership/visioning. Over the next short period, we will gather together leads in each of these areas in a plenary session to ensure we continue to advance items that need our attention.

Ramona Lumpkin, CM, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
presidents.office@msvu.ca

New Academic Plan Approved

Over the past year, Mount Saint Vincent University has been developing a new Academic Plan for the University.  The new plan is rooted in the qualities and principles that make the Mount distinctive and is intended to help guide our University's academic programming over the next three years.  

On January 27, Senate approved the Mount’s new Academic Plan. The plan reflects substantial and widespread contributions and ideas from students, faculty, staff, and administrators across the campus. It builds on our many strengths and values and identifies areas for continued development in three core activities of our academic mission:

supporting students’ learning

enriching academic programming

enhancing teaching quality

Fifteen key recommendations emerged from the consultation process, including:

•developing a strategy to enhance first-year students’ academic experience and retention

•increasing the range of applied learning opportunities for undergraduate students

•implementing strategies to better support graduate students and graduate programs

•exploring the potential of programs to be offered on-line or in blended modes

•increasing collaborative relationships both within the Mount and with our sister institutions. 

While the Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (CAPP) will oversee the implementation of the plan, CAPP can only attain the plan’s goals with the input and engagement of the Mount community. CAPP will be reaching out in the next while and welcomes your continued support of the plan.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Church, PhD
Vice-President Academic
Chair, Committee on Academic Policy and Planning
elizabeth.church@msvu.ca

Signs of Early Success

As progress continues on the formation and approval of strategic documents including Academic, Research, and Enrolment Management Plans, signs of Mount 2017’s early successes can already be found across campus. It is my pleasure to share some of these results with you.

Celebration and Promotion of Research (Goal 1, Strategy D, Action iii) 

In October 2013, the Mount hosted Research Remixed, an annual celebration of research, learning and knowledge comprised of over 40 sessions ranging from Pecha Kucha presentations to Twitter-facilitated discussions.

Dedication to Aboriginal Education (Goal 2, Strategy B, Action iii)  
In February 2013, the Mount’s new Aboriginal Student Centre opened its doors, providing Aboriginal students with academic advising and counseling while creating opportunities for the on-campus community to learn more about Aboriginal culture through events and programs.

Supporting Early Student Success (Goal 2, Strategy C, Action i/ii) 
In September 2013, the Right Start pilot program was introduced to support students in the crucial first months of university. Right Start proactively connects struggling students with academic advising, financial aid, and counselling as needed.

Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies (Goal 3, Strategy A, Action ii) 
In September 2013, Dr. Deborah Stienstra was appointed the Mount’s 13th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies. Dr. Stienstra will play a central role in our commitment to the advancement of women as she raises awareness of core issues and facilitates discussions throughout the region.

Fostering a Healthy Working Environment (Goal 4, Strategy A, Action i)
Mental Health First Aid training opportunities throughout 2013 have already resulted in the certification of over 30 faculty, staff and student first responders. This program is the result of collaboration between the Office of Student Experience and the Mount's Wellness Committee in an effort to encourage a proactive approach to physical and mental well-being.

Project TWENTY12 (Goal 5, Strategy B, Action i/ii) 
In April 2013, the Mount community celebrated the success of capital campaign Project TWENTY12 as we exceeded our goal of $12 million raised to construct the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research. The McCain Centre will change the face of our campus as our first new classroom facility in 40 years.


Ramona Lumpkin, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
presidents.office@msvu.ca