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Langara College T Building

Creating our new Academic Plan

In 2014, the College developed its first academic plan. Using the metaphor of a journey, the academic plan set a direction for us to follow as we aspired to achieve the goals of the five strategic themes of the plan. Now that the 5-year academic plan is coming to its close, we are about to embark on a new academic plan development process. The journey ahead, while driven by the core values that have made Langara College so successful, is significantly different today than it was five years ago as the waters are marked by sector-wide disruption, driven in large measure by technological advances, new competition, evolving learner demands, financial constraint and changes in demographics in our classrooms and in our communities.

The College’s future academic direction will be embodied within our next Academic Plan and sets forth a bold direction that responds to today’s context.

At the same time, our dynamic College continues to evolve. Since the start of our last academic plan, the College has undergone incredible growth. Our students, staff and faculty are more diverse; our role in Reconciliation and our relationship with Musqueam continues to evolve; advances in technology continue to change our pedagogy; and geo-political forces around the globe influence our classrooms and the financial stability of the College.

It is imperative that we understand where Langara fits into the current environment, and how we will continue to remain relevant and valuable as we move into the future with our next Academic Plan. To this end we have begun the process to develop our next Academic Plan that will guide the College through the next five years.

There are a variety of issues that demand our consideration if we are to define a clear vision of Langara’s academic future. These include, among others:

  • a continuing decline in government funding coupled with a high degree of fixed costs within our budget
  • growing government demand for quality and accountability assurance
  • declining traditional student-aged population (18-24-year-olds) within our catchment area
  • growing cost-of-living in Vancouver casting our students further from the College to find affordable accommodation
  • the response of government to the “skills shortage” with “talent development”
  • the increase in new-economy industries in BC, eclipsing traditional industries and sectors
  • increasing expectations from stakeholders (e.g., the desire for new and better services, and creating opportunities for community engagement)
  • the early introduction of AI and its implications for traditional classroom-based learning

Identifying these types of challenges and developing strategies for Langara will inform the shape of the College’s next Academic Plan. Our next Academic Plan will help us create strategies that will continue to guide us in the years to come.

The specific challenges we face are matched by unique opportunities that have been shaped by Langara’s existing successes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • a long-standing and respected reputation for quality university-transfer studies;
  • the quality of teaching and instruction as demonstrated by our high-calibre faculty;
  • a diverse set of valued community and career-related programs that prepare students for meaningful work;
  • innovative and popular Continuing Studies programming;
  • our global reputation as a leader in international student recruitment and services;
  • and a growing capacity in applied research and social innovation, providing work integrated learning opportunities for students through relationships with our community partners.

With the unwavering commitment to creating an exceptional learning experience for our students by placing them at the center of all we do, we must ask ourselves some important questions about the current Academic Plan: Of what are we most proud? What have we done well? What can we do better? What should be enhanced in the next Academic Plan?  These questions and more will likely emerge as we undertake our consultations and engagements through the Academic Plan development process.

The Process
The foundation of an effective Academic Plan is based on the active engagement of our academic community.  To this end, consultant Joan MacArthur-Blair, who has successfully assisted numerous colleges and universities with academic planning, has been working with us over the past few months in helping to shape a process for this important work.

Joan has been sought specifically because of her approach to developing our next Academic Plan.  A leading expert in Appreciative Inquiry, her engagement with the community will be collaborative and collegial (consistent with the spirit of appreciative inquiry) – in other words, truly Langaran.

Joan will continue to work with us throughout this project, most notably by engaging the campus while gathering and synthesizing data that you will provide.  Your feedback will form the foundation of the Colleges’ next Academic Plan.  Joan will work closely with the Academic Planning Steering Committee that was recently constituted.  The Committee supporting the planning and logistical requirements of this endeavour come from the breadth of the academic portfolio of the College, including the Provost’s direct reports, faculty, staff and students from across the College.

That Committee is chaired by the Provost & Vice-President, Academic and Students.  Working with our consultant, the Committee has approved an active consultation process that will commence next month.  That process will be inclusive and comprise a series of interviews, Appreciative Inquiry sessions, focus groups, and an on-line questionnaire.  We hope to have an initial draft of the Academic Plan ready for the first round of feedback by early summer.  After iterative rounds of feedback and roll-out meetings in the fall, we expect the Academic Plan will be ready in late 2020 for implementation along-side the Strategic Plan.

Your Role – The ASK
An effective Academic Plan is based on the active engagement and participation of our academic community.  As the Plan will be informed by you, we need your feedback and perspectives to make the Plan meaningful.

Throughout the week of November 25-29, Joan will be holding Appreciative Inquiry sessions – 14 in total throughout the week.  The scheduled times of each session are such that we hope as many people who want to attend may do so.  There are a number of sessions set up for faculty only.  All other sessions will be open to the entire community.  The time commitment is 2 hours.  While I know that is a big investment of time, this next Academic Plan sets the foundation for our actions for the next five years – and I would really like to have your input into our Plan.

When the invitation to participate comes out in the coming days, please try to attend a session in person.

We look forward to your input in this project, and thank you in advance for your valuable participation.

Ben Cecil
Provost & Vice-President, Academic and Students,
on behalf of the entire Academic Plan Committee

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