Message from Dan Patterson: Board approves 2017-2021 Strategic Plan

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At its last meeting, Niagara College’s Board of Governors approved our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, endorsing a set of strategic directions that point Niagara College toward a bold future as Canada’s leader in applied experiential learning.

Niagara College Strategic PlanThe plan envisions a student-focused, inclusive learning community offering a breadth of programs that respond to key sectors of our region, province and the broader global economy; immersing students in a unique, highly experiential learning environment; producing innovative and entrepreneurial graduates who possess global and cultural competencies; and leveraging our expertise as we pursue new sectors and markets at home and around the world.

The plan will guide our decisions and operations over the next four years, as we face the challenges and opportunities that come with declining enrolments, increased competition in the postsecondary sector, the changing needs and expectations of learners and employers, and fiscal restraint.

The strength of our plan rests on an institutional foundation that defines our college and its approach: a collaborative and resourceful culture that values innovation and entrepreneurship in our programs and operations.

This institutional foundation supports three key strategic directions:

Culturally and Globally Engaged: As we seek to attract a broader range of learners and meet the changing needs of learner and employers alike, we will:

  • Infuse diversity and cultural and global competencies within our academic programs;
  • Act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations;
  • Build international and domestic enrolments that are diverse in age and background, in a breadth of programs; and
  • Expand opportunities to experience intercultural study/work travel.

Experientially Focused: As postsecondary education moves toward more distant and remote program delivery, we will look to strengthen an exceptional campus experience that sets Niagara College apart. We will:

  • Expand our range of experiences and applied learning offerings, including expanded learning enterprises;
  • Diversify student opportunities for work-integrated learning, in Canada and abroad;
  • Develop the skills for lifelong learning; and
  • Build on our unique learning environment/location.

Creative, innovative and entrepreneurial thinking: Through creativity and innovation we develop as educators, meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners, and support the economic development of our region and beyond. We will:

  • Foster development of creativity and innovative skills within our students;
  • Support entrepreneurial thinking in students appropriate to career opportunities and expectations;
  • Develop innovative programs that meet the needs of diverse students and open new recruitment markets; and
  • Support the local and global success of business through engagement with our students, our faculty, and our local and global relationships.

Our Collaborative and Resourceful institutional foundation will help us to move our specialized departments and areas into a fully integrated organization, as we build:

  • Integrated and entrepreneurial thinking across the College;
  • Innovation in our services and business processes;
  • Efficient/strategic allocation of resources; and
  • Expanded sources of global funding.

Moving forward, our focus will turn to operationalizing our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan at the departmental and college-wide levels. The plan is online here and I encourage all staff and faculty to review the plan with a keen eye to how we can turn our strategic directions into action at the department – and individual – levels.

As with any effective strategic plan, ours was developed collaboratively, and includes insight and ideas from all corners of our college community, as well as external stakeholders. I thank everyone who contributed feedback over the past year.

I also extend my thanks to Strategic Planning Co-Chairs Steve Hudson and Pam Skinner for their leadership on this important initiative, along with the Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Working Group for their important work over the past year. I look forward to working with all of you to pursue and achieve the goals and ambitions that we have identified together.

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