Working Together on our CoM Strategic Plan

I trust you are having a wonderful summer so far and have had, are having or will soon have some holidays complete with time to rest and rejuvenate. I have just returned to work this week after an amazing break and feel ready once again to take on the incredible opportunities and important challenges of our College of Medicine. I always am excited to see September come around to launch a new academic year and I look forward to all of us coming back together from the summer with renewed energy and fresh perspectives.

The reason this is so important this year is the CoM is embarking immediately—at the end of this month—on a college-wide strategic planning process in which all members of our community have a voice, should you choose to share it. I strongly encourage you to do so. Why? Because everything we have been through in recent years, which has been difficult and at times even painful, has helped set the stage for our college, now, to move forward in the best possible way.

I am looking for a shared commitment to doing this work together. With all of our community’s individual voices coming together to create a pool of knowledge and experience of the CoM, we have our best shot at creating a plan that will reflect the diversity of our work, needs and aspirations at a grassroots level—to ultimately elevate our students’ experience, our teaching excellence, and the reach and impact of our research.

The strategic plan development process will follow a rapid timeline – we plan to have the full college consultation and information gathering process completed between the end of this month and the end of this year. That’s just four months to gather a vast array of detail, input and knowledge from a large group—all of our faculty, staff and students. Accreditation requirements necessitate this timeline, but we will work to engage with you in this timeframe through a range of methods for you to share your perspectives and suggestions: focus groups, online surveys and other discussions and meetings.

Why are we embarking on this planning process now, and on this timeline? We are at the natural point in time, in terms of our planning cycles. The President has initiated a process to renew the vision, mission and values at the U of S and will be embarking on a new 8 year strategic plan. Our 5 year plan that will take us from 2017 to 2022. will fit into that plan. Currently, our School of Physical Therapy is developing its own five-year plan. Starting in 2013 the College did tremendous work creating the strategic vision document, The Way Forward which in many ways was primarily a strategy for restructuring the College of Medicine. We have worked very hard over the last 2 years and most of that plan has been done or is well underway. It is now time to set our aspirations on what the College of Medicine can do to become one of the best medical schools in Canada and a College all of us can be proud

At a high level, the next four months will look like this: during September, two task groups will cover the areas of teaching and learning, research and innovation, as well as separate engagement forums to review and discuss clinical care service and community engagement, governance and partnership, and administration. If you are interested in participating in any of these discussions please let us know. In October and November, these task groups will lead engagement forums for your participation, including visioning and prioritization events, focus groups, and so on. Ultimately, we will arrive at a draft plan early in 2017 that will need to be ratified by the College of Medicine Faculty Council.

The outcome of this work will be a new vision, mission, values and priorities for the CoM. At that stage, there will also be tremendous opportunity (and a healthy dose of encouragement from myself and other leaders across the college) for your involvement in the very important work of implementing our plan and its deliverables. The implementation of our college strategic plan will be decentralized in nature, with broad participation and support an absolute necessity.

We will be sharing information about the planning process through: high level information targeted primarily to external audiences on our website through a CoM Strategic Plan page, more detailed internal information and content to come later, and likely through further blogs, as well as various reminders, dates and news through our internal, weekly E-News.

I’ll close by reiterating how much I hope for your involvement and input in, and support of, the planning process I’ve outlined here. Working together now to shape the next five years in the history of the CoM will be well worth the effort!

As always, I welcome your feedback.