Monday, March 14, 2011

How does your work connect to strategic planning priorities and implementation priorities?

I'm pleased and impressed with the high level of engagement with our strategic plan. This engagement was evident at the March 9 planning and budgeting forum, where many of you asked specific questions and contributed thoughtful comments about our immediate focus on Learner Pathways and on new program development.

If you didn't have an opportunity to attend that forum, I still want to hear from you.

How does your work contribute to our strategic priorities for 2011/2012? How does the work of your department or office connect to those priorities?

In the coming days and weeks, I'll be making the rounds and having exactly that conversation with as many of you as possible. I want to hear your feedback, your stories and your ideas.

But why wait? I encourage you to share your thoughts right now, by leaving a comment on this blog post about how your work connects to our strategic planning priorities.

In fact, I have a little incentive for those who do: the first 20 people who leave a comment on this post will receive a deluxe President's travel mug with an inspiring word cloud theme. (Ceramic outer shell with stainless steel interior - very nice!)

Highlights from March 9 forum on 2011/2012 Strategic Priorities and budget

  • The focus now is on improving Learner Pathways into, out of, and within Douglas. This priority reflects the fact that students today are highly mobile [PDF]. We want to open our doors wider to receive students from other institutions.
  • If you missed the Program Development and Implementation Funding Envelope deadline of March 4, we are flexible on this so please keep the ideas coming. While we expect another formal call to be announced by late summer, new ideas are still welcome under the first call.
  • We have a multi-year budgeting framework that will allow us to grow - we have the financial resources that we need to grow, and those those resources are sustainable.
  • Space at the New West Campus is a concern as we look to grow. There are many options here and we are exploring ways to improve the use of space at the David Lam Campus.
  • Why is our vision to be the largest baccalaureate degree granting college? The vision captures who we are: by achieving our funded FTE target, we'll be the biggest in terms of credit non-ITA (trades) FTE. And we're already a four-year college. Having said that, we remain an access-based learner pathway institution, offering upgrading. certificates, diplomas, and degrees as well as short term training and continuing education.
  • Community engagement is embedded in all we do: we're a community-oriented organization. Community engagement is central to student, faculty and staff engagement, and that remains a priority for Douglas in 2011/12 and beyond.



  1. Wed March 9 was the first budget forum I had ever attended in the 5 years I've worked at DC (I'm staff) and it was very informative. What I was missing is the "why" of the strategic plan - I get to see the end results in the documented plan and in the budget but I am missing the high-level discussions and discussions/reasons that set the plan/budget in context. Many of the things discussed in the forum, and listed in this posting perhaps should be published as preamble to the strategic plan/budget release in future - set the scene for all of us who are not part of the planning process so we know more "why" in future.

    Kathy Peters

  2. I attended the recent budget forum as well, and found myself surprised at the amount of information missing from the collective knowledge base.
    The Douglas College library was in the fore front of offering virtual reference services (on line chats with librarians) beginning in 2003. In 2005/6, we participated in the provincial wide initiative called Ask Away, providing virtual reference (online) services to all public and post secondary library users. These service hours extend beyond regular operational hours (7 days a week).
    In addition to AskAway, the Library has provided an online email reference service for over 13 years. Initially targeted to distance education students, this service continues to be used today. We also launched our mobile website this Winter semester and are in the process of advertising our mobile services through the use of QR (Quick Response) codes.
    The Douglas College Learning Centre has been providing online writing tutoring to students since the Winter 2007 term. They are currently at the provincial table discussing a similar service to AskAway, where multiple post-secondary institutions will collaboratively offer on line tutoring for extended hours.
    On another point, I would like to suggest that a bus running between the Lougheed Skytrain station and the Coquitlam campus (every ½ hour - at least while classes are in session), would tremendously improve the accessibility issues students and employees face on a daily basis. Surely the folks at Translink would consider a trial - so what are we waiting for? I submit that putting money into a venture like this would serve the entire community for years to come.
    Shelley Waldie

  3. Kathy,
    Thank you for your comments on this blog. I know that the budget plan documents concentrated on the “what” and that the discussion on March 9 was, in many ways, focused on the “why”. Your suggestion of publishing a bit more of the background along with budget plans is a sound one which we will consider in the future. In the interim, much of the background information which was dealt with in the strategic planning process can be found in the Strategic Plan itself (PDF: and much of the background to the actual planning process is available for review on the "Planning Process" page ( of the strategic planning website. Here we have posted a variety of discussion papers, the environmental scan, results of focus group sessions, and so on.

    This being said, what is important here is that you attended the forum (thank you!) and that you are engaging with the Strategic Plan and the budget as we implement Pathways to Success. The Plan is, of course, a living document and if you have further suggestions for improvement and/or for implementation, these would be most welcome.


  4. As the supervisor of the Classroom Technology group, I'm quite excited about the pilot videoconferencing project. It was a wild ride going from zero to in-use in those two rooms in about 3 months!

    The focus as we move these rooms from prototypes to production is usability. This means, first of all, that we let teachers teach, and students learn. With that as the goal, we work hard to make the technology as invisible as possible, and as easy to use as we can manage.

    Among other things, my team is also involved in some display signage projects that will be part of the concourse renovation. Early days yet, but it's interesting stuff.

    Shelley, regarding your question about buses from Lougheed to the Coquitlam campus, the 97B already runs within 1 block of the campus, and the trip is scheduled for 25-32 minutes, depending on the time of day, and departures are every 8-12 minutes between 7 am and 9:30 pm.

    It would be nice if the transit trip between campuses was faster (with the Skytrain segment and walking, it's pretty much an hour from end to end), but the gains from an even faster bus would be minimal on that route.

  5. Thank you Ryan. Having a car at my disposal for travel between campuses keeps me out of the existing bus loop - excuse the pun.
    Upon reviewing the 97B route diagram however, I still feel that removing the 18 stops along the way and having the bus travel directly to the campus would save considerable time for many members of our community. Given that it only takes between 8 and 10 minutes to get to the Lougheed station from the New Westminster station, it should be possible then to travel between campuses inside of 40 minutes (30 if the stars are all in alignment), yet I hear from student assistants that it can take more than an hour. I wonder why?

  6. Shelley, thank you for the suggestion regarding a bus transfer between campus locations. I know that idea has been floated before, and I will investigate how viable it may be currently. I also appreciate your comments about the Library and Learning Centre. It's clear that Learning Resources has long been at the forefront of exploring ways to use technology to offer better service to students. On the AskAway service, this has been an amazing collaborative effort with other institutions and with BC Campus and it is clearly of value to our learners and to the system as a whole. This, in particular, is providing accessibility to College services and it is a great innovative and collaborative model. Keep up the great work as we continue to implement the Douglas College Strategic Plan.

  7. It might not be something big, but, if I could assist students who come to or call our field base and provide them with sufficient information they require, such as to get enrolled into a program or register in a course or even to find an instructor, I believe I have a positive contribution to their success in Douglas -- which will, also make Douglas a successful educational institution.

  8. Thank you for sharing the College's strategic plan with the whole College community!

    I still have to absorb all the details which I just read but I did notice one of our plans is to find software/system for scheduling and room booking. As a former Douglas College student and current staff, I believe this is the kind of project that can be taken on by our intelligent and ambitious students.

    Our students and grads are already developing software for large companies and government agencies such as BC Hydro and Agriculture Canada. In some cases their class term projects go beyond the scope of transforming a paper based system to an electronic online database. We can build stronger ties with our students if we value their skills.

    The project can be implemented through class term projects or co-op programs. We can also advertise the contract on our website and have student groups bid on it.

    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on your blog and giving me the opportunity to be heard. It makes me feel important... about as important as our students would feel if they could develop software and actually change their College's operations! ;)

  9. How does the work of your department connect to the strategic planning priorities and implementation strategies?

    It is our privilege to work on the following items:

    Largest College
    175 additional domestic FTE:

    We collaborate on projects to…
    • Double the capacity of the Douglas College TESL Program
    • Offer TESL in a variety of formats
    • Eventually offer graduation credit for courses in English language where the target proficiency levels are equal to or higher than those of other modern language courses

    Learner Pathways
    • Coordinate and teach courses that serve as pathways into degree programs for learners starting with English language studies.
    • Provide a way for English language learners to train as instructors in that field
    • Create clearly articulated pathways from private post-secondary institutions into Douglas College via language courses

    Superior Teaching Quality
    • Research and write a comprehensive program review.
    • Collaborate with a departmental Professional Development Committee to run a year-round PD program for faculty

    • Provide English Language Studies for large numbers of international students entering the college on that pathway
    • Provide entry into the College for a culturally diverse stream of new Canadians fronting their studies with language studies
    • Fill new degree programs with linguistically prepared learners from around the globe

  10. Taking a gap year in between high school and college or college and graduate school can be a rewarding and life-changing decision. College and graduate schools are serious financial and emotional investments. Many people will say that you should enter college or graduate school immediately, because it's "the normal thing to do".