The most exciting and transformational components of the Strategic Plan are in its proposed actions - the concrete steps we will take to achieve our goals and objectives and move us towards our vision. The initiatives outlined below are comprehensive and integrated. Each of our proposed actions addresses multiple goals and objectives, and each goal and objective is addressed by multiple actions.
The College Research Office, with input from the Research Advisory Committee, will develop and implement a detailed plan for building supports for research excellence and productivity in the College. This will include increasing funding available through internal grants, creation of new staff position(s) to assist with research grant administration, providing faculty with support and opportunities to improve grant-writing and other research skills, and identification of mechanisms to support achievement and national/international recognition of the impact of CSAHS research.
Build a profile of excellence in research, teaching and engagement for a suite of interdisciplinary Centres and Institutes
The College will provide support to existing and newly established interdisciplinary Centres and Institutes by working with each Centre/Institute Director to identify current strengths, challenges and opportunities, and develop and implement plans to enhance the work, profile, and national and international engagement of the Centre/Institute.
Establish and build an 'Interdisciplinary Hub' to foster and support multi-, inter- and trans- disciplinary research/teaching/engagement clusters
In addition to supporting well-established interdisciplinary collaborations through formal Centres and Institutes (Action 2), the College will establish an infrastructure to stimulate and incubate emerging interdisciplinary activities, bringing together new groups of researchers, students, practitioners and/or community stakeholders to work on complex, real-world issues. The infrastructure will include all or some of providing an interactive, physical space for this work, staff support, and funding for seed grants, graduate students, and visiting researchers/professionals.
It is expected that CESI will play a prominent role in setting up and supporting the Interdisciplinary Hub, but the Hub will support a range of research/teaching clusters, some of which will involve community engagement. Participation in Interdisciplinary Hub activities is expected to involve not just members of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences community, but also people from across the University, throughout the Guelph community, across Canada, and other countries. Over the life of this Strategic Plan, some of the clusters might lead to new Centres, Institutes, or academic programs, while other clusters might be shorter term collaborations.
With leadership and support from the office of the Associate Dean Academic, and in partnership with Open Learning and Educational Support, the College will establish a staffed unit within the College to work closely with departments and interdisciplinary groups to foster excellence in teaching and learning.
This unit will facilitate curricular innovation, course and program development, production and use of scholarship of teaching and learning, adoption and use of experiential learning and other high impact teaching practices, and curriculum embedded community engagement, among other strategies. The unit will have an advisory board that includes graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff (including representation from CESI).
The College will provide support for developing and implementing new interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs. Specific programs that are currently being considered are professional masters' degrees in Food Security (led by the International Development program) and Conservation Leadership (led by Geography), and a PhD program in Social Practice and Policy (led by the CSAHS Office of Research and Graduate Studies).
Proposals for interdisciplinary programs that emerge over the life of the Strategic Plan (e.g., through research/teaching clusters incubated in the Interdisciplinary Hub) will be welcomed and supported as appropriate.
Graduate students have a unique place within the University, taking on multiple roles as students, employees, and researchers in addition to the roles they play outside of their university life. They may face distinct issues relating to balancing these multiple roles and the relationships those roles entail, as well as concerns relating to finances, health, relocation, and family. The College will develop initiatives to enhance graduate students' experience, recognizing the complexity of the issues they face.
Initiatives will include hiring a Graduate Programs Manager and establishing a Graduate Advisory Committee that includes graduate students, staff and faculty representation. This committee will address issues relevant to graduate programs across the College, such as student funding, expectations of the student-supervisor relationship, development of professional skills, workload management, connecting students within and between departments, and establishing a mechanism so that graduate students can safely raise concerns. The Committee may propose policy changes to Dean's Council. The Committee will also sponsor networking and skills development opportunities such as a graduate student speaker series and/or a student research conference.
In consultation with Indigenous and settler members of our communities, we will identify and act on strategies by which the College can foster reconciliation and mutual understanding. This may include building positive relations between the College and local Indigenous communities, recognizing and promoting Indigenous perspectives in hiring, teaching, supervision, research, pedagogy, and curriculum development, and creating a safe, respectful and welcoming environment for Indigenous students, staff and faculty.
A committee will be struck to review current internationalization activities in the College, including faculty research collaborations, existing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) at the University and College level, student participation in international studies abroad, and numbers of international students in graduate and undergraduate programs. Findings will be used as a baseline and to establish targets in all of these areas.
The Committee will provide recommendations to identify universities where we might develop active partnerships, to develop strategies to support international research collaborations and increase student mobility, and to foster opportunities for increasing the number of international students in the College.
Develop and roll out a comprehensive marketing/communication strategy for the College to enhance communication with external and internal audiences
Our new marketing/communication strategy will enhance and streamline internal communication with faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students, using a variety of media channels (e.g., website, email, social media, digital signage). Communication to external audiences (e.g., prospective undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, national and international academic colleagues, prospective public and private funders, the general public) of the importance and excellence of social and applied human sciences at Guelph will also be key.
Establish processes to promote recognition of the excellence and skills of students, staff, faculty, and alumni
We will establish a College Honours and Awards committee and processes within the offices of the Associate Dean Academic and the Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies to identify and nominate students, staff, faculty, and alumni for local and national awards. We will also develop digital communication streams to publicize significant achievements of students, staff, faculty and alumni.
We will work to develop and maintain relationships with a range of College alumni, representing all of our programs. Through consultation with alumni, we will identify and generate a variety of opportunities for interaction, such as mentorship programs, professional continuing education programs, and research partnerships.
Develop and implement strategies to enhance the College's provision of a supportive work and learning environment
We will work collaboratively and at multiple levels (College, Department, and in partnership with central University resources) to develop policies and programs to enhance the sense of student, staff and faculty that the College is a supportive community where individuals are seen as a whole person and their needs for balance and connection are recognized.
Specific actions may include development of college-wide events for staff, faculty and students that have social, professional development and/or wellness goals, programs to recognize and reward exemplary achievements, and strategies to address workload concerns. As well, we will work to streamline policies and procedures to, as much as possible, allow people to focus on their core work.
In April 2017, the University Senate and Board of Governors endorsed an inclusion framework that challenges the University to "foster a culture of inclusion for everyone, irrespective of culture, circumstance, race, aboriginality, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, language, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, and place of origin."
The College of Social and Applied Human Sciences will respond to this challenge by supporting University-wide initiatives and, where appropriate, taking College-specific actions to foster diversity and inclusion in the College. A steering committee led by the Dean with representation of faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students will be formed to direct these processes.
Specific areas to be addressed may include representation of minority and marginalized populations within our workforce and student body, development of resources to promote the success of underserved populations, support for faculty/staff training to increase cultural competence and awareness of diversity, and review of College policies, practices, and actions to ensure alignment with principles of inclusion.
Develop a suite of fundraising priorities that support the College, and actively work to identify and attract appropriate funding sources
We will work with Alumni Affairs and Development to articulate College funding priorities, identify possible funders, and bring new financial resources into the College.
We will work with external consultants to review existing spaces used by the College and identify existing and future needs. Primary consideration will be given to enhancement of research, teaching, and learning spaces (including both classroom and informal learning spaces), improving accessibility of our spaces, ensuring availability of appropriate technology, and consolidation of space where possible so that we are less spread out across campus and have a more significant presence in the spaces we occupy. Based on the recommendations that come out of this review, we will work with the University executive, alumni, and other funders to renovate, rejuvenate and enhance College spaces.