On Monday, December 2 the University of Ottawa released its strategic plan for the next 10 years, Transformation 2030. The following is a conversation with President and Vice-Chancellor Jacques Frémont who explains how this new vision for the coming decade will make the University more agile, more connected, more impactful, and more sustainable.
Why are we talking about 2030? Isn’t that a long way off?
uOttawa’s previous strategic plan, launched in 2015, was called Destination 2020. Given that 2020 is now only a few weeks away it is clear that we need a new strategic plan to help guide our future.
There’s a common perception that because of the speed of change in society today, it isn’t possible to plan more than a couple of years ahead. But we reject that as too short-sighted, as not ambitious enough. On the contrary, we choose to extend our vision to cover the entire coming decade. Of course, we can’t hope to map out today every single thing we are going to do for the next 10 years, but working with our community we have created a vital roadmap that defines clear and potent strategic priorities that we are confident will help us realize our potential and maximize our value to society.
The plan is called Transformation 2030. What exactly are we going to be Transforming into?
There are a few ways to answer this. One is to simply say: we will grow up. uOttawa has undergone tremendous growth over the past few decades, but not always with clear aims, and not without real growing pains. Our new plan builds on our emerging strengths while also directly addressing our weaknesses so that we can mature with intent, intelligence and integrity. From this perspective we are going to become more us.
Another good answer is that we are going to continue our trajectory towards excellence; in teaching, in research, in innovation, in partnerships, in impact, in community engagement and more. We are now ranked among the top 150 universities in the world, and that rank is rising steadily. In 10 years we aim to become a truly illustrious and influential international university whose positive impacts are felt around the world. Again, we are going to become more us.
That sounds ambitious and exciting. But how exactly are we going to achieve this transformation?
We will get there by embracing the 4 strategic pillars of our new strategic plan. Keep in mind that each pillar has objectives, and each objective also has numerous detailed action items associated with it. Individuals across campus are being assigned responsibility for seeing that each action item is enacted, tracked and iterated upon to deliver success. This progress will be shared periodically in the Updates section of the Transformation 2030 website.
We must all – every dean, every staff member, every student, every full-time and part-time faculty member, everyone – embrace our four strategic pillars and support the actions that will fulfill our ambitions. In future everything we do must be more agile, more sustainable, more connected and more impactful. I understand that this will be a learning process as we figure out new and more creative and effective ways of working together. But we are – after all – a university. If we aren’t willing to learn then we’re surely in the wrong place.
Ultimately, the most accurate and also most inspiring answer is: we will get there together.