By Saima Asad, May 4 2017 —
After roughly eight months of consultation and revision, the University of Calgary officially launched its revised Eyes High strategy on April 28. The five-year plan follows the previous Eyes High strategy, which was in place from 2011–2016.
Similar to the original strategy, the “energized” Eyes High plan has three goals — increasing research and scholarship focus, improving the quality of learning and integrating the university into the community.
The U of C first announced the new strategy at their annual Community Report in September 2016. Public consultation ended in November 2016 and a consultation summary was published in January 2017. U of C president Elizabeth Cannon said focus groups and online surveys provided the most valuable feedback.
“The two types of activities that really provided the most in-depth and rich feedback were the focus groups and the online surveys,” Cannon said. “In those two parts of the consultation process, we had over 4,000 people engaged.”
Students made up 21 per cent of that number, amounting to roughly 840 student consultations. Over 1,300 consultations were from alumni.
Cannon said that in addition to the three goals, the consultation also sought feedback on student experience and campus culture.
“A lot of the student feedback is centred on the overall student experience,” she said. “The two key themes that were highlighted as areas for additional attention and investment were in physical and social spaces and what we call ‘academic support.’”
Students’ Union president Branden Cave said he was pleased with the strategy’s implementation of student feedback.
“I’m very happy to see that student experience and campus culture have been prioritized in the document,” he said.
The revised plan will retain the original goal of making the U of C one of Canada’s top five research universities. In 2011, the U of C committed to achieving that goal before their 50th anniversary in 2016. The school currently ranks sixth in terms of research revenue.
“When we launched the original Eyes High and we aspired to be top five, that’s a stretch goal,” Cannon said. “I think everybody knew back in 2011 when we launched that, that we may not be sitting here in 2016–17 checking all the boxes.”
Cannon said the top five goal is still the right benchmark for the U of C.
“The new Eyes High says that in 2022 we will be recognized. So the community will actually see us in that cohort of top research universities in this country,” she said.
The updated strategy is available online.