Laurentian University laid out a road map for the future with the launch of its 2012-2017 strategic plan, Feb. 6.
Among the Sudbury university's goals are to be among the top 25 per cent of Canadian universities in student satisfaction and engagement.
The plan was developed after a 10-month-long process involving more than 40 consultation sessions in Sudbury and at its Barrie campus.
“What really came about during the consultations was the need for our university to focus,” said Laurentian University president Dominic Giroux.
Among Laurentian's aspirations are to be known for its world-class expertise in rural and Northern children’s health; mining innovation and exploration; genomics and bioinformatics; particle astrophysics; environment; applied evolutionary ecology; and nanotechnology.
The university also intends to raise the total annual research dollars from $21.9 million in 2010 to $30 million, and boost full-time student enrolment from 7,200 in 2011 to 8,300. Modernizing the Sudbury campus with new classrooms and more flexible space is in the works, along with the intention to increase the number of international students from 6.1 per cent in 2011 to eight per cent.
“We wanted the strategic plan to be useful to the university, to guide decisions and investments between now and 2017-'18. That's why we're really excited with the outcome,” said Giroux.Giroux said the university's budget planning over the next five years will be earmarking “significant resources” to support its implementation.
The fact that Laurentian has a balanced operating budget, and is well on its way to meeting its $50-million capital fundraising goal, makes it easier to implement the strategic plan.
“We're in a much better position compared to other universities,” Giroux said.
Board of governors vice-chair Michael Atkins said the board wanted to make sure the document had measurable goals, and wasn't just “a list of things we'd really like to do.”
“What I thought was remarkable was we had 27 people who met with literally hundreds of others, worked through all sorts of individual priorities, and were able to isolate the things that were most important.”
An interactive version of the full strategic plan can be viewed at www.laurentian.ca/strategicplan.