../Morning Post
Posted March 12 , 2010

Wilfrid Laurier University senate approves new academic plan

Waterloo - The senate of Wilfrid Laurier University has approved a new academic plan that will guide the university’s academic planning over the next five years.

The plan merges the 2005 Century Plan with the values, vision and mission statements created through the 2008-09 Envisioning Laurier process, and identifies the core principles and academic domains that make Laurier unique.

“The academic plan is intended to be foundational as well as aspirational,” said Deb MacLatchy, vice-president: academic and provost.

The academic plan emphasizes Laurier’s tradition of teaching excellence, sense of community and student experience, along with the university’s growing research intensity and graduate programs.

“The plan describes Laurier’s uniqueness as an institution while identifying that we need to work from our foundation to address our role as a university of the 21st century,” said MacLatchy.

The academic plan recognizes that as a multi-campus university, there is value in having variety in scope, specialization and core academic strength among Laurier’s campuses. This variety is dictated by the strategic location, history, vision, academic profile and student-learning environment of each campus.

By reflecting Laurier’s values, vision and mission statements, the academic plan serves to unite the campuses that form the Laurier community, while enabling each campus to continue to develop distinct specializations.

In setting out the university’s nine core principles and six domains, the plan first puts them into context:

“At Laurier, we focus on preparing people for lives of leadership characterized by responsibility, commitment and compassion. Acquisition of academic knowledge and critical thinking skills are balanced with opportunities for engaged and relevant application and reflective practice. This requires that we accommodate – indeed encourage – analysis and scrutiny of society’s most difficult and complex problems.”

Laurier’s core principles, the overarching characteristics and key intellectual areas that define the university institutionally, are defined in detail in the academic plan. They include:

* Discovery and innovation
* Civic engagement
* Diversity
* Integration
* Global citizenship
* Sustainability
* Justice
* Quantitative and scientific analysis
* Communication and performance

“The goal is to weave these principles, in a purposeful fashion, into the academic, academic-support and student-life experiences of each campus,” said MacLatchy. “Laurier graduates will be distinct from graduates of other universities because of what we choose to make meaningful within our Laurier degrees.”

The academic plan also outlines Laurier’s six domains, defined as the strategic areas, or spheres of influence, where Laurier faculty and students excel and where the university seeks to maintain or develop national and international recognition.

The domains emphasize the global impact and influence of Laurier’s graduates, scholarly output and community and professional outreach. They include:

* Professional programs
* Governance
* Environment
* Health and well-being
* Social and cultural analysis
* Cultural and artistic production

“The domains are supported by the comprehensiveness of our programs and our commitment to excellence in teaching, learning and scholarly activities,” said MacLatchy. “These clusters will grow in size and distinction by being magnets at Laurier for programming and scholarly activity.”

MacLatchy calls the academic plan a consensus document that represents dedicated work by the deans as well as feedback from the divisional faculties and the library council.

To read descriptions of each of Laurier’s principles and domains, click here to view the Laurier Academic Plan: 2010-2015 online.

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