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I am delighted to present the 2017 Strategic Plan of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) at the University of Guelph.

When I arrived at the University early in 2016 to take on the role of CSAHS Dean, I quickly realized that one of my first challenges would be to lead the College in a collective visioning and planning process. The existing CSAHS Integrated Plan was in its final year, and the landscape at the University had changed significantly with new leadership and development of the University of Guelph Strategic Framework: Our Path Forward. We needed a new guide for decision-making within the College and clear direction for our actions over the coming years. It had been a number of years since members of the College had engaged in planned, collective discussions about their shared future. As a newcomer to the community, it was essential that I spend time talking with and listening to a broad range of College stakeholders to ensure that my leadership would be based on a shared vision for the College.

What you will see as you read through this Plan is a guide for moving the College forward in a purposeful manner to become a world-class leader in scholarship addressing critical issues facing our world. There is an emphasis on excellence, and on being recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for the outstanding work we do. The complexity of the issues we address and the changes we seek to facilitate require that we work together across and beyond our disciplinary traditions, so there is an emphasis on putting structures, resources and incentives in place to facilitate effective interdisciplinary collaborations and engagement with academic and non-academic partners outside of the College. This does not mean that disciplinary scholarship is less valued or supported. Indeed, strong interdisciplinary work requires strong disciplinary grounding. However, our sense is that we have solid systems in place to facilitate excellence in disciplinary work. We will continue to support those systems while we work to enhance inter- and trans-disciplinary endeavors. The Plan also emphasizes enhancing College infrastructure (including work processes, policies, and financial, physical, and human resources) to ensure that we provide a supportive work- and learning-place that allows students, staff, and faculty to thrive and excel.

Gwen Chapman, Dean

A Message from CSAHS Dean, Dr. Gwen Chapman

With a new Strategic Renewal Framework in place for the university, it is time for planning and renewal in CSAHS strategic direction as well. One of the key priorities  is to develop a framework to guide decision-making within the College for the next five years and beyond.

Our college community has a strong sense of pride in our work through our leadership in community engagement and experiential learning, our use of innovative approaches to research and teaching that address complex issues facing society in areas such as the environment, health, food, communities, and law and justice, and our desire to be a place where students, staff and faculty thrive. Additionally, there is a sense that we have not yet realized all of our potential, and that we can and should be taking action to focus our efforts and enhance our reach and recognition in key areas.

We've strived to give all members of the college community the opportunity to help define where we will focus our efforts and what types of actions we should take. Following this community input consisting of a series of discussions, the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee held a one-day retreat in early December to reflect on what we had heard and identify key components of the planning document. A draft plan was created to discuss with Dean's Council earlier this year, and a final draft is now ready for review by staff, faculty and students. Your feedback is requested as we continue to make this a community effort, so please view the draft Strategic Plan and Join the Conversation.

I am excited to continue to engage with you all as we finalize and launch our Strategic Plan at the start of the fall semester. 

Please do not hesitate to connect with me if you have any questions.

Sincerely, Gwen