Mount Royal University’s leaders know what they want the school to be, and why.
The university’s soon-to-be released 10-year strategic plan entitled Learning Together, Leading Together will steer the school toward its goal of being one of Canada’s top undergrad schools.
“We are primarily an undergraduate institution and that is what we will continue to be,” says David Docherty, president of Mount Royal University.
“We won’t be taking our focus off of what we do well. But we believe in 10 years, we can be one of the best at what we do.”
The 10-year plan emphasizes that the majority of the university’s programming will remain focused on four-year bachelor degrees, and those degrees will be supplemented by a number of direct entry and post-undergraduate certificate and diploma programs.
Docherty says in 10 years the goal is to offer more opportunities for undergrads rather than introduce graduate programs.
The school has certainly been moving in that direction since it became a university in 2009. Since then it has introduced 11 different baccalaureates for students and offers 23 different majors within those baccalaureate offerings.
“Developing our strategic plan involved some self-evaluation including deciding whether we are an ‘elite’ institution or an ‘open access’ institution,” says Docherty.
“When you look at some of our programs, they are by definition elite, because it is so competitive to get into them... And that’s OK. That’s good.
“However, we do not want to forget where we came from and what we built this school on. So we have decided we can be both by also providing for an education for those who do not fit into that particular niche.”
The plan also emphasizes that the university will remain committed to offering smaller class sizes without sacrificing access.
“Getting from 8,000 FLE (full load equivalent or full time) students to 13,000 FLEs means we need to open up spaces in our high-demand programs like business, nursing, justice studies and many others as well as improving access for students who might not be able to directly enter into programs that require such high marks,” says Docherty.
“The demand is here in Calgary and we want to meet that demand, because we do not want to be in a position where we’re turning away qualified students. That is where we are at right now.”
The vision is that the number of programs and major options, and courses within those majors, will equal that of a mid-sized university, he says.
“We want our students to remain at Mount Royal because they can access the variety of programs they need,” says Docherty.
MOUNT ROYAL’S FUTURE GOALS
Engaging students for current and future success:
1.Set the standard for a personalized learning experience;
2.Foster a sense of belonging among students;
3.Provide intellectually engaged learning;
4.Increase flexibility in student access;
5.Facilitate student success.
Uniting faculty, staff and management in a thriving learning
6.Foster a healthy work environment;
7.Enhance the culture of innovation.
Engaging broader communities in collaborative learning and scholarship:
8.Engage multiple communities in innovative and productive partnership
9. Enhance community outreach;
10.Advance economic, environmental and social sustainability.