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Project Next: We all decide

Project-Next 4.jpg

University of Calgary community brainstorms school’s future leading to 50th anniversary

Faculty, staff and students at the University of Calgary have
embarked on the ambitious task of crafting a clear strategy for the
institution as it approaches its 50th year as an independent Alberta
university. Called Project Next, the strategic planning effort initiated
by President Dr. Elizabeth Cannon launched its campus-wide public
consultation process today with a roving booth set up in the MacEwan
Student Centre, a social media campaign involving Twitter, Facebook and
YouTube, and other activities to engage the community in deciding how
the University of Calgary can accelerate its evolution as a leading
centre of higher learning.

“The University of Calgary has grown
remarkably over the last decade and has reached the point where we need
to determine what’s next and set a direction that is ambitious, well
defined and supported by our campus community,” Dr. Cannon said.
“Project Next is a unique, collaborative process that has been
developed here, using our own talents, with our faculty, staff and
students in mind. It will result in a clear, shared strategic vision
that will take us to our 50th anniversary in 2016 and beyond.”

the next two months, all university stakeholders and community members
will be invited to learn more about Project Next and share their views
on the university’s future by visiting the project’s website and
answering a series of thought-provoking questions designed to spark
conversation using social media. Members of the university community
will also be invited to take part in a series of strategy workshops to
engage in detailed discussions about the university’s future. All of the
input will be used to articulate the university’s core values and
goals, as well as setting the over-arching strategy that will guide the
decisions and activities of all faculties, institutes and business

The process is led by a steering committee comprised of a
cross-section of the university community, including professors,
administrators, students and staff. It is being facilitated by Dr. Jim
Dewald and Dr. Loren Falkenberg, professors in the Haskayne School of
Business who specialize in strategy and decision making. Project Next
will build upon the feedback obtained during cross-university open
houses hosted by Dr. Cannon last summer. Those meetings identified the
need to build pride in the University of Calgary, ensuring it is a
research-intensive university with a strong mandate in undergraduate
education, and having the University of Calgary recognized as an
accountable and well-run organization.

“The importance of having a
strategy that is simple to understand and supported throughout the
organization cannot be underestimated,” said Dewald, Associate Professor
in the Strategy and Global Management Area. “Much like the world of
business, the competitive landscape for universities in Canada and
around the world is ever more complex and intense. This requires the
University of Calgary to take a close look at what its strengths are,
what areas it should focus on and excell in, and what trade-offs might
be required to achieve these goals.”

The outcomes of the Project Next are expected to be complete by July. For more information, visit the Project Next website at: