U of G Moves Forward with Strategic Mandate Agreement

October 02, 2012 - Campus Bulletin

The University of Guelph has filed its strategic mandate agreement (SMA), a new requirement from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) intended to help universities chart directions and align with provincial priorities.

In its SMA document, each institution outlines a strategic mandate, a vision that differentiates it from other institutions and three priority areas. They also must explain how their priority areas mesh with government objectives, and set goals and metrics to measure progress.

All 44 Ontario colleges and universities were required to submit SMAs to MTCU by Sept. 30; U of G’s is available on its integrated planning website.

SMA funding implications – if any – are unknown.

“We were well-positioned for this exercise because of our on-going integrated planning efforts,” says Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic).

“This fact distinguishes us from other universities. Recognizing our initiatives within a government-acknowledged and -supported mandate will only strengthen our efforts.”

Guelph’s SMA content was taken directly from the Integrated Plan (IP2).

“As part of the IP process, priorities and goals were selected and honed through a vigorous, participatory process of reflection and self-assessment,” Mancuso says.

“Including them in the SMA enables us to continue to enhance our productivity, effectiveness and leadership.”

Highlights of the SMA:

  • A strategic focus on food, health, communities and the environment;
  • A mandate to pursue areas in which U of G already leads or excels, including support for student learning, community service and outreach;
  • A vision that includes continued leadership in learner-centredness and research-intensiveness; and
  • Three priority areas contained in the Integrated Plan that mirror the objectives of the government’s discussion paper and agenda-- transformative program innovation, student success and engagement.

“Transformative Program Innovation is consistent with the recommendations of the 21st century curriculum committee,” Mancuso says. “It outlines ways in which we must continue to revamp the delivery of our curriculum with reduced costs and improved student learning.”

Included in program innovation is redesigning large, first-year courses for enhanced learning and cost effectiveness, and creating new pathways programs with colleges to facilitate credit transfers and ensure strong applicant pools and appropriate programming.

Among the highlights of the “student success” section are learning ePortfolios, designated courses that reflect acquired or developed skills, and appropriate use of analytics to further assess and document learning outcomes.

Engagement initiatives include the School of Civil Society, community-engaged scholarship efforts and “global literacy,” or considering global impact and context in student problem-solving and decision-making.

“We’ll achieve our goals by focusing on mission-critical efforts and managing resources, risks and opportunities,” Mancuso says. “Guelph will continue to lead in transforming post-secondary education.”

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1