Monday, January 30, 2012

Strategic Planning Employee Survey - focus on Teaching and Learner Pathways

What strategic goals should we focus on in the short term?

That was a key question for faculty and staff in our recent strategic planning survey [Summary Report - PDF].

Each of the six goals in Pathways to Success, the Douglas College 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, are important. Integral, in fact, to how we are growing and changing.

But we can’t work equally on all of them at once – that wouldn't be practical. So given the current environment, and the challenges and opportunities facing us, and also looking at what we've done so far, where should we focus our efforts over the next couple of years?

Your feedback here was fairly consistent.

You said we should focus on Superior Teaching Quality and Learner Pathways.

Teaching was the most frequently identified goal, chosen by 70% of respondents overall and the top goal for people across the various divisions and departments. Learner pathways came in second, at around 60%.

Both of these areas are incredibly important. I've written before about Learner Pathways: h
ow highly mobile students want flexible learner pathways; how the theme of learner pathways is about the journey, not the destination; and what it means to be a learner pathway institution.

It was good to see the consensus about the importance of teaching. Clearly, teaching is at the heart of what we do. But it wasn't necessarily a given that so many people across the organization would identify teaching as a key area of focus in the short term, among the major goals of our strategic plan.

I think the message that we captured in the survey is not about individual teachers. Our faculty members are constantly working to adapt and to improve their teaching. Instead, the message is that we need ongoing dialogue about teaching and learning.

To that end, VP Academic Kathy Denton has asked a task force headed by Science and Technology Dean Thor Borgford to evaluate faculty members' participation in and satisfaction with professional development provided by the College.

After a process of seeking input from faculty members, the task force will make recommendations about how the College can best provide PD support to faculty as teachers, practitioners and experts in their disciplines.

You'll hear an update on the task force's work at our next strategic planning town hall forums in March (changed from February dates mentioned earlier):

At Coquitlam, March 7, 4-6pm in the Boardroom.

At New Westminster, March 14, 4-6pm in the Boardroom.

These events, open to all, will be opportunities to talk about what we've accomplished and what still remains to be done in order to achieve our vision for 2015.
[Feb 17 note: Town hall forums are planned with employees in mind, and so the discussion will be shaped for faculty and staff.]



  1. Dr. McAlpine, when you say "open to all," does this mean all stakeholders (i.e., alumni, such as myself)?

    Many thanks,

  2. Thanks for your question. The wording on my blog wasn't as clear as it should be. The forums in March are planned with employees in mind, and the discussion is going to be structured for employees.

    We consulted with alumni in the creation of our strategic plan and we welcome feedback from alumni any time as we continue to implement the plan. Feel free to contact me directly (mcalpines [at] douglascollege [dot] ca) or leave a comment or question on my blog.