Strategic Academic Plan
The Strategic Academic Plan — Liberal Arts for the 21st Century 2022-25 was approved by University Senate in February 2022. The plan was developed by faculty and academic staff with input from students and key staff members. The plan is divided in thematic areas and includes a total of 66 recommendations.
Alumni Engagement Strategic Plan
The vision, values, mission, tactics, goals, and objectives in the Alumni Engagement Strategic Plan 2022-2025 were informed by research conducted by the ad-hoc Alumni Engagement Strategic Plan Committee in spring 2022. Over 360 alumni participated in the consultation process with a heavy emphasis on recent graduates, Indigenous alumni, and volunteers.
Campus Master Plan
Beginning with a single academy building, the Mount Allison campus has evolved and changed over time and currently includes 38 buildings on 72 acres.
In order to maintain and support the quality of the Mount Allison experience for current and future students, we must ensure the sustainability of our physical environment.
The Campus Master Plan helps establish priorities for campus infrastructure so we can move ahead with improvements in a planned way. It also seeks to determine and anticipate the University community's needs over the next number of years.
The current campus plan was completed in 2002 and updated in 2016-17. The update was developed with the assistance of a consultant whose expertise is in campus planning.
Campus Master Plan update — February 2017
Facilities Master Plan
Download the plan: Campus Master Plan update (pdf)
In 2015-16 and 2016-17 the University undertook an integrated planning process to assist and guide University planning and decision-making. This integrated planning process involves an overall Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) and five working groups focused on academic matters, research, student affairs, advancement, and campus facilities.
The Presidential Advisory Committee drafted the following mission, vision, and values statement:
Mount Allison University is committed to learning, to creating and disseminating knowledge, and to engaging critically in the liberal arts, so that members of our community are prepared to make meaningful contributions as citizens in our community and the wider world.
Mount Allison University will enhance its position as one of Canada’s best undergraduate universities through creative and innovative teaching and research. We will be a national leader in engaged, active learning.
- Excellence and integrity: Individual and institutional goals are fully realized by empowering the members of our community (students, faculty, and staff) to apply the highest standards in all of their activities.
- Academic freedom: Intellectual freedom, which includes both free inquiry and scholarly responsibility, is a foundation of quality education and scholarship.
- Collegiality and University governance: We are committed to shared governance. This includes transparency and collegial processes involving members of our community.
- Equity, diversity, and inclusion: In all aspects of our academic mission, we affirm our belief in the fair treatment of all persons. We embrace diversity, and we seek to ensure an educational and work environment that is inclusive for all members of our community.
- Respect: We are a diverse community with different experiences and backgrounds, and we perform different roles in the university. Everyone at Mount Allison is to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Community and connection: Personal relationships are central to the Mount Allison experience. These connections span the local — where the University is an important anchor in the community of Sackville and the Tantramar region — through the global, and are aimed at improving our world. Our relationships provide the basis for building and sustaining connections through our teaching, through our research and creative activities, and through our service and outreach.
- Sustainability: We are committed to sustainability and stewardship. We are guided by the principle of intergenerational equity.
The University’s overall Campus Master Plan was completed in 2002 and divides the campus into three sections: the north side (north of Main Street), the south side (south of York Street), and a central campus area between York and Main Streets. The north side of campus is dedicated to large student residences and the University dining hall (Jennings Dining Hall), the south side to student life and student service facilities along with smaller residences, and the central section to academic and administrative facilities.
From 2002 to 2015 various projects were completed consistent with this master plan. This report is primarily focused on facilities planning related to the centre of campus.
The campus facilities working group — the Facilities Plan Advisory Committee (FPAC) — report is based on and informed by the work of the Presidential Advisory Committee along with the other working groups, plus interviews, town hall sessions, and data and reports concerning classroom and lab use. This report is also based on previous facilities plans along with support from an external consulting firm. The consultant’s report is attached as Appendix A (pdf).
Space development and utilization at Mount Allison must first and foremost support the broad mission of the University. In addition to providing the best possible environment for students to reach their academic goals, adequate and well-maintained facilities help attract and retain students.
Building and maintaining facilities carries a significant cost. The facilities plan must take into account the quality and long-term sustainability of the physical space, the short and long-term financial implications of our space, and our environmental footprint.
Findings and recommendations
A. Campus Plan
Work completed by the FPAC with assistance from external consultants is based on the current Campus Master Plan. It is recommended that:
- A1 this overall approach be maintained.
- A2 the intimate and pedestrian nature of the campus be maintained with a people-first approach and with vehicle access restricted to the rear of buildings subject to the needs of emergency vehicles to access facilities.
- A3 efforts be undertaken to improve and increase exterior directional signage and address signage issues inside buildings (eg: Wallace McCain Student Centre).
- A4 campus signage be focused on the needs of visitors to campus, particularly potential students and their families.
For the purposes of this report accessible space can be thought of as space where everyone is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. (Adapted from Resolution Agreement South Carolina Technical College System OCR Compliance Review No. 11-11-6002)
As noted in the consultant’s report, a number of facilities are not physically accessible. The University is guided by its Accessible Facilities Policy (Policy 7610 – see Appendix C) in which larger or more significant accessibility projects are undertaken as part of overall facility renovations.
The academic and administrative facilities lacking barrier-free access include Avard-Dixon, Flemington, Hart Hall, Chapel, Owens Art Gallery, and Centennial Hall. In addition, only a portion of the Music Conservatory is accessible.
The FPAC recommends that:
- B1 the University prioritize accessibility projects to academic facilities used by many students, faculty, and staff.
- B2 stand-alone accessibility projects be considered with specific focus on all-gender washrooms and elevators/physical access. These projects would be in spaces that do not require a significant and complete upgrade in the near future. Consistent with this recommendation, it is recommended that design work for an elevator and one or more all-gender washrooms be completed for the Avard-Dixon Building and such a project be scheduled in the medium term.
- B3 the University consider universal design, in addition to compliance with building codes, when planning and designing facilities projects. Universal design is an approach that creates environments designed to respond to the needs of the widest possible range of the population. [International Best Practices in Universal Design, Canadian Human Rights Commission (page 5)]
C. Classrooms and laboratories
The University has numerous classrooms and laboratories of varying quality and functionality.
Significant data concerning classroom and laboratory space was obtained during the Committee’s work [see Appendix A (pdf)]. In order to make evidence-based decisions, data needs to be complemented with qualitative analysis. In the past, improvements to classrooms and laboratories have been implemented on an ad hoc basis or when an entire building has been updated.
The FPAC recommends that:
- C1 a separate teaching space committee, including various stakeholders, be established to ensure that classroom upgrades are completed in a planned manner designed to meet the current and future pedagogical needs of the University. This committee should work with existing committees, such as the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee.
- C2 teaching space improvements be consistent with and support actions to increase experiential teaching and learning activities consistent with recommendations made by the other working groups.
- C3 the University attempt to complete some classroom upgrades each year so each generation of students benefits from improved teaching facilities.
- C4 not all classrooms be upgraded in the same way with the same resources. Rather than uniformity, the aim should be to provide classrooms of various types and sizes to suit the teaching and learning taking place at Mount Allison. This may mean certain equipment and resources are located only in certain classrooms, that some classrooms may receive more upgrades or more costly upgrades than others, or that some classrooms may not be upgraded at all.
D. Science facilities
The receipt of funding from the Federal Government’s Post-Secondary Strategic Infrastructure Fund and related provincial funding has allowed the University to proceed with work in the Barclay Building as well as conversion of the Gairdner Building into a research and learning space. This is consistent with recommendations in the University’s draft strategic research plan and with information from the Master Plan update summarized in Appendix C.
As this work progresses, and given the expected retirement of a number of faculty in the Department of Biology, it is recommended that:
- D1 consideration then turn to the Flemington Building with a view of updating that space consistent with research needs, work completed in the Barclay Building, and the goal of improving physical accessibility.
- D2 depending on the needs of our academic programs and researchers, a review of the functionality of the Flemington greenhouse be completed to determine if that space can be returned to its original purpose.
E. Library facilities
The Ralph Pickard Bell Library is in need of a refurbishment and replacement of building systems. No significant work has been completed in this space since it opened in 1970. The building’s systems are past their expected life span and public spaces do not reflect current library design.
Updating the Library’s systems and spaces while maintaining the Library’s operations requires a phased approach covering a number of years. The entire building cannot be closed during construction. Instead, spaces in the library will be closed as they are renovated, and services and collections will need to be moved during phases of the project. It is anticipated that each floor will require one summer of intense work with additional work taking place from September to April. This would mean it could take five to six years of construction to complete the entire project.
It is recommended that:
- E1 the draft space plan be confirmed to allow for design work to begin.
- E2 the Library project be scheduled after completion of the Barclay and Gairdner projects, subject to availability of financial resources.
- E3 the refurbishment of Library spaces centre around the Library’s primary mission while accommodating, to the extent feasible, related functions. This reflects the Library’s location in the centre of campus, the linkages between the Library’s functions and other learning activities, and the fact the Library is open and staffed longer than any other facility at the University.
F. Student space
There are a number of unused common spaces in various buildings that offer the potential to become study and/or gathering places for students with the purchase of appropriate furniture. This is noted in Appendix B.
The FPAC recommends:
- F1 the completion of the pilot project to purchase study-type furniture for common spaces in the Wallace McCain Student Centre. This project should include receiving feedback from students for incorporation into future projects, including work in the Library.
- F2 identification and prioritization of further spaces that would benefit from the addition of furniture when significant modifications to buildings are completed (eg: the Library).
- F3 a review of space currently occupied by the individual student mailboxes in the basement of the Wallace McCain Student Centre.
G. Other central campus facilities
The Committee recognizes that deferred maintenance and facilities challenges exist in other central campus buildings not specifically mentioned in this report. The FPAC recommends:
- G1 building assessments and, as appropriate, design work should be completed for projects that can be accomplished while other larger projects are undertaken. Furthermore, having the assessment and design work completed in a proactive manner will assist in attracting funds should new fund raising or other opportunities arise.
H. Co-location and underutilized space
The Committee notes that there are departments that may benefit from being physically adjacent (eg: Modern Languages and Literatures with other Humanities departments and Computing Services with Facilities Management), that the University has underutilized space in some buildings, and that maintaining space requires significant financial resources. It is recommended that:
- H1 co-location of departments be considered where such a change supports the overall goals of the integrated plan and is financially supportable.
- H2 opportunities should be explored to remove the cost of some facilities from the Operating Fund by repurposing the building. For example, if Computing Services and the PCTC could be moved from the Bennett Building, that facility could be leased or otherwise used for an activity that would support the cost of the building, as has occurred previously.
Mount Allison’s facilities range in age from three to 160 years old. Maintaining and adapting these facilities to best support the mission of the University is a continuous process. The intent of the 22 recommendations made in this document is to provide support and guide this process.
Appendix A (consultant's report — pdf)
Appendix B (Policy 7610 — Accessible Facilities Policy)
The Master Plan update report (Appendix A) provides information on both current use and the most appropriate use (fit for function) for a number of buildings. The following table provides a synopsis of that information.
Note: The report did not consider the Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music or the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts. Both of these buildings are dedicated to a particular function, are suited to their current use, and there are no plans to change their use.
|Chemistry and Biochemistry department
Teaching and research labs, offices, and support space
|Laboratory space (teaching and research) related to “wet” activities
|Sir James Dunn
|Mathematics and Computer Science and Physics departments
Physics laboratories, offices, and support space
Common use classrooms
Common use computer lab
|“Dry” activities such as classrooms, offices, and dry research
Teaching and research labs, offices, and support space
Large auditorium space
|“Dry” activities such as classrooms, offices, and dry research activities consistent with cellular layout
|Vacated in 2013 by Fine Arts department
|“Wet” lab spaces with requirement for large column-free spaces
|Faculty of Social Sciences departments
Social Science research space, offices, and support space
Common classroom space
|Dry activities such as office, classroom, seminar, and computational research
|Psychology and Modern Languages and Literatures departments
Psychology and Modern Languages and Literatures research, teaching labs, offices, and support space
Animal research area (psych/bio), common classrooms, vacated offices and small cubicles, storage space
|Basement level best suitable for storage/ low usage.
Ground floor best suited to research, teaching, and office space.
Main floor suited to high-quality large and small teaching spaces. 2nd & 3rd levels most suitable to small instructional, office, and support space
|Focus small common classrooms, small Humanities libraries, offices, and support space for Humanities
|Best used for office and smaller meeting/seminar spaces
More about the Campus Master Plan
In 2002 the Board of Regents approved a Facilities Master Plan.
The plan helped:
- ensure that maintenance and construction work would be carried out in a co-ordinated fashion
- provide guidance on how to meet the University’s evolving program needs
- assess the condition of facilities and space requirements
The core of the plan was that the campus would be divided into three primary areas:
- Residential area: Residences and the dining hall would be concentrated on the north side of campus
- Academic area: The central block of campus would be dedicated to academic and administrative functions
- Student life area: Student life facilities, such the student centre and recreation and athletic facilities, would be concentrated on the south side of campus
Projects completed to date
Renovations and new construction
- Construction of Campbell Hall (2005)
- Renovation and opening of the Wallace McCain Student Centre (2008)
- Construction of the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts (2014)
- Administrative services consolidated in Centennial Hall
- Student services consolidated in the Wallace McCain Student Centre
- Fine Arts and Drama Studies consolidated in the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts
- Hammond House restored as the President’s residence and former President’s residence sold
- Since 2000, the following infrastructure has been decommissioned, is being maintained by a budget other than the operating budget (ex. Anchorage is now a residence and falls under the ancillary budget), or has been sold to a third party:
- Allison Gardens (arena)
- The Anchorage
- Baxter House
- Cuthbertson House
- Hillcrest House
- MacGregor House
- Sprague House
- University Centre
Current facilities and square footage
Academic, administrative, facilities, and recreation
Total square footage: 689,770
|Athletic Centre trailers
(Social Sciences and Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies)
(Chemistry and Biochemistry)
|Bennett (Computing Services)
|Crabtree (Psychology, Modern Languages and Literatures)
|Gairdner (research facility)
|Hammond House (President's residence)
|Hart Hall (Arts)
|Marjorie Young Bell Conservatory of Music
|Owens Art Gallery
|Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts (Drama and Fine Arts)
|Ralph Pickard Bell Library
|Sir James Dunn Building (Aviation, Physics, Math & Computer Science)
|Wallace McCain Student Centre
|Wetlands Research Facility
Total square footage: 338,103
|Bermuda House and Hammond Studio
|Pavillion Bousquet (Monastery) (closed)
Strategic Research Plan
The Senate Research and Creative Activities Committee developed the University's Strategic Research and Creative Activities Plan, which was approved by Senate on Nov. 15, 2016 and most recently updated in September 2021.
The plan identifies:
- strategic objectives and action items to increase the capacity for research and creative activity success at Mount Allison University
- strategic areas of research intensity and emphasis which guide future nominations and appointments in the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program and which justify future investments through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
The plan also outlines areas of research intensity and emphasis — thematic areas where Mount Allison has a critical mass of researchers and impact or where there are latent and emerging opportunities.
Strategic Research and Creative Activities Plan 2021
Intro and mission, vision, principles, and values
Mount Allison University is known for excellence in teaching and high quality, well-rounded liberal arts and sciences education for undergraduate students.
At the same time, our researchers are well-respected for their research and creative contributions in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences, and in the fine arts, music, and drama.
Mount Allison University recognizes that continued excellence in teaching and research is best achieved through proactive and sustained efforts to identify and eliminate barriers that would otherwise limit full participation of our community members.
One aspect of this is the provision of exceptional experiential learning opportunities for our students which is directly correlated to a safe, supportive, diverse and inclusive learning environment.
This not only ensures that our future leaders are capable of responding intelligently and compassionately to global challenges, but it also further stimulates innovative and impactful research and creative activities for which Mount Allison University is well known.
This plan serves two purposes. First, it identifies strategic objectives and action items to increase the capacity for research and creative activity success at Mount Allison University. Second, it identifies strategic areas of research intensity and emphasis which guide future nominations and appointments in the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program, and which justify future investments through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
The creation of new knowledge — ideas, theories, practices, solutions, works of inspiration — distinguishes universities from other forms of education and learning. Mount Allison University is committed to excellence in research and creative practices, to the support of our researchers and students in the pursuit and dissemination of new knowledge and creative activity, and to the development of the next generation of researchers, creative artists, and leaders. This mission is rigorously supported by providing:
- A safe, supportive, and inclusive environment that encourages full participation from a diverse complement of faculty, staff and students.
- Internal research and creative activity grants for faculty and librarians.
- Conference travel funding support for faculty and librarians.
- A generous professional development allowance for faculty and librarians.
- Options for regular full and half-year sabbaticals for faculty and librarians.
- Early career release from teaching for one semester.
- Course releases for the express purpose of conducting research.
- Dedicated funding support for fine and performing arts projects.
- Internal research and creativity grants for students.
- Experiential learning and travel funds for students.
- Strategic infrastructure investments through the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
- A vibrant teaching centre connecting research, creative practice, and teaching pedagogy.
Mount Allison’s long history and tradition of liberal arts and science education support a diversity of research, creative, and professional activities within its faculties. Creative practice, theoretical and applied research, community-based research, and research relating to arts and culture, public and social policy, social structures, and scientific discovery provide many opportunities for researchers and students to engage in contemporary issues across all disciplines, from both established and innovative approaches to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge. As a small undergraduate university Mount Allison offers a special relationship between research and teaching, and a unique context for research and creative activity collaboration and partnerships across disciplines.
Moving forward, Mount Allison envisions that research and creative activity at the university will:
- Engage researchers and students in a variety of scholarly activities that produces new knowledge and creative outputs.
- Make a recognized and valued difference in the world around us.
- Raise the external research reputation of the university.
- Increase the profile of our researchers and creative artists.
- Strengthen existing, and lead to new, collaborations regionally, nationally, and internationally.
- Support efforts to provide international experiences for researchers and students.
- Attract high quality faculty, librarians and students from Canada and around the world.
- Attract increasing amounts of monetary support from granting programs, governments, communities, and foundations for all types of research and creative activities.
Principles and values
Principles and values are the foundation for identifying and acting on strategic priorities in pursuit of our research and creative activities vision. These principles and values also provide orientation to the ways in which our researchers pursue their research and creative activities.
At Mount Allison, research and creative activities:
- Inform our teaching and pedagogy.
Our classroom experiences are enriched when our researchers bring their research findings and creative outputs into the teaching and learning environment. Students benefit from the latest work of their professors and librarians, and are fueled by their passion and knowledge.
- Provide opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in research and creative processes and outputs.
Researchers engage their students in the pursuit of new knowledge and in the creation of new artistic outputs. They provide training and development opportunities not typically available to undergraduate students at other universities.
These opportunities present students with enriched experiences that lay the foundation for graduate school or meaningful work after graduation, and that contribute to the development of the whole person.
Furthermore, the opportunities afforded to undergraduate students provide Mount Allison University with a competitive advantage in recruiting the best and brightest students from around the world seeking an enriched undergraduate experience.
- Extend and enhance our external reputation.
The reputation of our research and researchers at Mount Allison is enhanced by each success in funding competitions, by the presentation and publication of findings, by the production of art, music, and drama, and by the development of scientific, community-based, social policy, and public policy solutions to pressing problems. This reputation extends to other aspects of the university and contributes to efforts to recruit new faculty and students.
- Have impact on our society through dissemination to relevant audiences.
Researchers and students present their findings and their art, music, and dramatic productions, to many different audiences. We have impact in communities, in government, in society, and within disciplines. Our research and creative activities generate recognition by external audiences.
- Are supported by University investments that build the capacity of both researchers and students.
The University makes strategic investments of operating funds, research funds, and infrastructure funds to support researchers and students in accomplishing their research and creative activity objectives.
Researchers across most disciplines require equipment, software, datasets, information-based resources, and other “tools” (infrastructure) to carry out their research and creative activity programs. Ongoing and new investments will be needed to sustain and grow the capacity for quality research and creative activity outputs, to continue to offer a competitive environment for researchers, and to provide meaningful student experiences.
- Maximize the use of resources through collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches.
Owing to its size and undergraduate focus, Mount Allison offers researchers the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinarity or multidisicplinarity, and collaboration, both on campus and externally. New insights, perspectives, and knowledge can be gained from collaborative processes. In many cases, research and creative activities have a higher impact when done jointly with others, including with those at Mount Allison and with those at other institutions and in other organizations and communities. The collaborations benefit from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives to address complex problems or to present unique, creative interpretations of our society.
Strategic objectives and priorities
Over the next five years, Mount Allison University will implement actions associated with strategic objectives that will improve the capacity for, and move the University closer to achieving its vision for, research and creative activities.
Our strategic plan recognizes that there are many different approaches to research and creative activity.
Some researchers work alone, while others work in collaborative teams with colleagues on campus and/or at other universities. Some research programs require performance, creation, and laboratory spaces and equipment, while others require access to field locations near and far; all require access to information resources.
Our strategic plan further recognizes that some of our science-based research programs provide opportunities for integrating graduate students owing to the presence of a science-based Master’s degree program, and that researchers in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and in some sciences do not have access to graduate students on campus and some of them choose to engage graduate students from other institutions. (Note: The central role of undergraduate students in research and creative activities is articulated in the Principles and Values section and most, if not all, researchers at Mount Allison University engage undergraduate students in one way or another in their research and creative activities.)
Regardless of the discipline, subject matter, and resource requirements and use, all activities are valued and contribute to our collective knowledge and development.
1. Objective: Enhance and extend the external perception of Mount Allison University to one that excels in arts, social science, and science research.
a. Action: We will increase efforts to use both traditional and social media platforms to share stories of research and creative activity opportunities, experiences, outputs, and outcomes.
b. Action: Create “research and creative activity” links for prospective students on the University’s website as a means to support recruitment of new students.
2. Objective: Encourage and support, where appropriate, multi-, cross-, and inter-disciplinary collaboration, both on campus and externally.
a. Action: The Office of Research Services will co-ordinate and/or implement workshops and development sessions focused on these methodological approaches.
b. Action: The Office of Research Services will identify and provide access to funds that can be used for networking and collaboration development.
3. Objective: Support faculty, librarian, and student efforts to share research results and creative activities with both academic and non-academic audiences.
a. Action: Libraries and Archives will create repositories that meet national policy standards for open access publishing and for open data.
b. Action: Libraries and Archives, and the Office of Research Services will provide ongoing information sessions and support for researchers in complying with open access and open data policy requirements.
c. Action: Researchers will make use of open access and open data repositories.
d. Action: Marketing and Communications, with the Office of Research Services, will offer regular training opportunities for researchers and students for media engagement, developing relationships with knowledge mobilization intermediaries, social and public policy engagement, and more general knowledge mobilization activities.
e. Action: Expand the range of social media streams used to promote research and creative activity outcomes of researchers and students.
1. Objective: Enhance the unique Mount Allison environment in order to attract and support postdoctoral fellows who have their own funding (Tri-agency postdoctoral funding, or equivalent) to come to Mount Allison University.
Postdoctoral fellows have the potential to play an important role within research programs headed by our researchers, regardless of the discipline. This is especially the case in the arts, humanities, and social sciences where no graduate programs exist. The opportunity to make a difference in teaching activities and research programs at a small university can be extremely attractive.
a. Action: We will provide a small research stipend and reasonable office space to each postdoctoral fellow who comes to Mount Allison University with their own external funding.
2. Objective: Create a fund for providing matching funds to researchers who wish to attract and financially support a postdoctoral fellow to work within their research program.
The internal funds may come from existing sources or from new sources of funds through donors. These postdoctoral funds will support research-intensive postdoctoral appointments and will be complementary to the existing McCain postdoctoral fellowships.
a. Action: University Advancement will seek funding for postdoctoral support as part of its list of fund raising priorities.
3. Objective: Leverage the Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fellowship program to provide research and creative activity resources in a strategic manner to position promising early career scholars for success in external funding programs.
This program provides additional support for promising early career researchers to rapidly enhance their productivity, to leverage external funding support, to obtain success in external funding programs, and to lay the foundations for possible nomination for a Canada Research Chair or other externally funded chair positions.
a. Action: The Research and Creative Activities Committee will review the current fellowship to ensure that it meets the strategic objectives of the university, and make recommendations, if necessary, for enhancement.
4. Objective: Evaluate the appropriateness of the current tuition and funding model for graduate students to reduce the overall financial burden of faculty members to support graduate students.
Even with the relatively small size of the graduate studies program at our University, graduate students at the Master’s level play an important role in the success of many research programs. Finding adequate financial support for all potential graduate students who might be admitted to our programs can be challenging.
a. Action: The Graduate Studies Committee will review and act on recommendations from the 2016 external review of the Graduate Studies Program, with a view to finding sustainable and cost-effective solutions for graduate student funding support.
5. Objective: Encourage and support faculty and librarians to seek adjunct appointments at other institutions in order to expand their capacity for accessing specialized information and collections, including research resources and supports not available locally, and for expanding the possibilities for supervision and training of students and others at all levels.
6. Objective: Build capacity in arts, humanities, and social science areas identified as having research intensity or emphasis by making strategic use of the SSHRC Institutional Grant program.
a. Action: The Research and Creative Activities Committee will develop a multi-cycle planning approach to build capacity in identified areas (priority will be given to those found in the Areas of Research Intensity and Emphasis) on a rotational basis, every three years. Subject to specific proposal development, each application will strive to include resource allocations for faculty projects, student projects, capacity building and training activities, and knowledge mobilization activities.
Infrastructure and funding
1. Objective: Attract researchers with an interest in innovative and creative approaches to critical inquiry and who value the integration of research, creative activity, and teaching in an undergraduate university setting.
a. Action: We will evaluate the adequacy of the current funding model for startup funding support. Appropriate stakeholders (including tenure-track faculty members hired since 2010) will be engaged in the evaluation.
b. Action: We will access NBIF Talent Recruitment funding support for new tenure-track appointments in sciences.
c. Action: New tenure-track appointees who require equipment and infrastructure will be provided with a reasonable allocation from our CFI John Evans Leaders Fund, and will be expected to utilize a portion of their startup funds, where necessary, to secure the necessary matching funds.
2. Objective: Develop a policy (and associated guidelines and processes) to manage, in a strategic manner, the distribution of internal funding support for research equipment, software and infrastructure.
a. Action: The Research and Creative Activities Committee will develop this policy.
3. Objective: Strengthen financial resources to invest in the upgrading of existing research and creative activities infrastructure, and to support the leveraging of financial resources for investments in new infrastructure.
a. Action: We will make strategic and effective use of the CFI Infrastructure Operating Fund to respond to needs for repairs and upgrades to CFI-funded equipment.
b. Action: Internal and external sources of financing will be sought for dealing with non-CFI-funded research equipment, software, and infrastructure that may require repairs, upgrades, or replacement.
c. Action: The Office of Research Services will work with University Advancement to identify external funding sources to support new investments in research equipment, software, and infrastructure.
4. Objective: Identify and support a solution that provides enhanced and improved facilities for biology, biochemistry, chemistry, and environmental science research.
It is acknowledged that the Barclay and Flemington buildings are aging and do not provide optimal space for research labs, owing in part to the fact that core internal systems, such as ventilation and electrical, are at maximum capacity, and that some spaces that were never designed for some types of laboratory use or equipment installation are being used with less than maximum efficiency.
a. Action: Through the Campus Master Plan process, investments in existing buildings that can address the pressing limitations, or a new science building, will be considered.
i. Update: Supported in part by the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) program and the Province of New Brunswick, extensive renovations to the Gairdner and Barclay Buildings have been completed. The Gairdner Building now serves as a research facility focusing on life and environmental sciences, while the labs and classrooms of the Barclay Building have been modernized for improved accessible research space for students, faculty, and staff members.
5. Objective: Enhance and strengthen the role of the Libraries and Archives in support of the research mission of the University.
Libraries and Archives is committed to supporting the teaching and research needs of faculty and students. Librarians work to ensure researchers and students have access to the best information resources possible.
The Libraries and Archives was not originally intended to serve as a research library; its focus has traditionally been in support of the teaching mission of the University. The increasing emphasis on research, accompanied by the differing information needs of research and teaching and the rising cost of information resources, has highlighted the need for increased support for library and information resources.
a. Action: The Libraries and Archives will undertake a campus-wide consultation to seek input on its roles in support of both the teaching and research and creative activity missions of the University. This consultation will identify existing and potentially new or different support roles, and the required financial and staffing resources to succeed in those roles.
b. Action: The Libraries and Archives will promote its unique, special, and local collections and archival fonds, any of which might be used by researchers and students for new areas of inquiry. It will support the availability of specialized resources such as statistical databases provided through the Data Liberation Initiative.
The undergraduate experience
1. Objective: Leverage the Independent Student Research Grant (ISRG) program for recruiting new students to attend Mount Allison University, and ensure the program has adequate financial resources to be sustainable.
The ISRG program provides a unique opportunity for 45-50 students with third-year standing to receive their own research grant to pursue their own research or creative activity project. These opportunities are in addition to research opportunities available to students through other means, including, but not limited to, paid research assistantship positions through research grants held by faculty.
a. Action: The Research and Creative Activities Committee will review the number, value, and distribution of awards every three years to ensure that the program continues to provide meaningful experiences for students and their mentors.
b. Action: The ISRG program will be promoted as part of the opportunities presented to prospective students during recruitment activities and in recruitment information resources.
2. Objective: Expand the profile of the Office of Research Services as a source of information and support for students.
a. Action: We will create “research and creative activity” links for current students on the University’s website.
b. Action: The Office of Research Services will work with the Mount Allison Students’ Union and student societies to develop a plan for building awareness among students about the role of the Office in support of undergraduate research and creative activities.
c. Action: The Office of Research Services will offer information sessions and workshops aimed at second and third year students on funding support, ethics, responsible conduct of research, grant writing, CV development.
It is recognized that individual strategic objectives and priorities do not necessarily apply to all researchers or to all programs of research or creation; this does not preclude researchers from pursuing their goals or from accessing internal research and creative activity program supports. Acting on these strategic objectives and priorities will lead to the following outcomes:
- Researchers will achieve greater success in advancing their individual and collective research and creative activity programs.
- Researchers will achieve greater success in accessing funding they may seek for their research and creative activity programs.
- New knowledge and creative outputs will have been produced and will have made a difference.
- The external (national and international) research and creative activity reputation of the University and its researchers and artists will be enhanced.
- Research and creative activity infrastructure will be enhanced.
- Students will have meaningful opportunities to discover and learn research and creative activity skills.
- Students will be prepared for future graduate studies and for careers in the private, public, and non-governmental sectors.
Areas of research intensity and emphasis
Mount Allison University’s Areas of Research Intensity and Emphasis reflect thematic areas where we have a critical mass of researchers and impact, or where there are latent and emerging opportunities on which researchers can build. These are also areas where future Canada Research Chair appointments, and future Canada Foundation for Innovation investments, will be made.
Our Areas of Research Intensity and Emphasis are framed by two broad conceptual areas: quality of life and human endeavour. Indeed, all of the research and creative activities at Mount Allison University contribute to an improved quality of life on campus and in society, and represent significant contributions to society through various human endeavours.
Quality of Life examines how we understand the world around us and identifies the underlying factors that lead to a better quality of life for all.
Human Endeavour drives culture and humanity forward, pushing the boundaries of scientific exploration and creative pursuits. We seek an understanding of our world and human experience from a variety of approaches, including creative practice and critical analysis, and testing the limits of our current understanding.
The areas of research intensity and emphasis are listed below in alphabetic order.
Researchers make use of two key laboratories and several outdoor field sites to explore issues related to habitat change, species health and development, and much more. These critical research programs contribute significantly to our understanding of how changes in our environment have real life impacts on species, livelihoods, and communities.
Citizenship, Culture, and Civil Society
Researchers investigate who we are as citizens, about our place in the world, and the personal, human, economic, political, and structural conditions which shape our interactions with each other. These explorations take place at many different scales — local, regional, national, and international — and in historical and contemporary time periods. Social justice, gender, culture, Indigeneity, social inclusion, and political power and resistance are key issues that inform these interactions and explorations.
One area is clustered around phytoplankton research; members from several departments investigate key issues associated with climate change by examining how this key element of the ocean’s composition responds to, and changes with, changes in our climate.
Another area is clustered around coastal changes and resource use and protection, and corresponding community and government policy and program response. Researchers explore the intersection of science and human activity, and develop community and government response options.
Creative Practice and Performance
Our fine arts, drama, and music programs draw exceptionally talented students who are motivated by the creative works of our award-winning researchers and creative artists.
The fine arts and drama programs are supported by a new, state-of-the-art teaching and production space within the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts. The fine arts program benefits from the presence of the oldest university-based art gallery. The drama program creates high quality productions which challenge society’s thinking about economic, social, and environmental issues.
Music teaching and production is located in the Marjorie Young Bell Music Conservatory, a music-dedicated space for performance, teaching, and student practice. Our music faculty mount performances in multiple genres, create high-quality audio and video recordings, and contribute to current Canadian musical discourse through many channels.
Health and Aging
Researchers examine how we manage our individual health, how we age and how our systems respond to needs — whether we are talking about our physical health, our mental health and well-being, our individual and collective program supports for an aging population, or end-of-life care issues.
Our researchers explore how we are recognizing, accommodating, and integrating those with disabilities — physical, cognitive, and other — as part of a comprehensive and holistic examination of society.
As we are challenged to develop new solutions to our environmental challenges and energy needs, our researchers explore the creation of new materials and processes that can offer necessary and sustainable solutions to these pressing problems.
These processes include developing greener routes to more effective anti-bacterial and anti-cancer treatments, developing better materials for devices, and understanding how current materials can interact with different environments (natural and/or biological).
Innovation and creativity, and the engagement of talented undergraduate students, are the foundations of the ongoing search for new solutions.
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Researchers across many disciplines link their research and creative activity outcomes with their teaching curricula, providing undergraduate students with unique and grounded learning experiences.
Many engage in purposeful and reflective research on their own teaching as a way of improving the student experience and enhancing student learning. As a small institution with a focus on high-quality undergraduate experiences, we are poised to be leaders in the field of scholarship of teaching and learning.
Visual and Material Culture
Our world is full of objects and artifacts of our existence here on earth; our researchers take unique approaches to the telling of relationships between people and what they have created. The story of the making, history, preservation, and interpretation of objects in many different temporal periods and cultural settings is fertile ground for our researchers and creative artists.
The University archives hold a unique collection of materials from across the disciplines and offer many interesting possibilities for in-depth research, and the Owens Art Gallery holds a vast collection of visual material that is incorporated into many teaching and research and creative activity programs.
Strategic use of CRC and CFI allocations
Strategic use of Canada Research Chair allocations
Our Canada Research Chairs allocations are used to build a diverse and inclusive research enterprise across the campus. Our nominations for Chairs are designed to build on our Areas of Research Intensity and Emphasis, as outline above, and to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations.
We will continue to use a hybrid approach for identifying and nominating Chair appointees:
- Selective internal appointments coupled with new bridging faculty appointments made possible by the liberation of salaries.
- Selective nomination of externally recruited researchers, where opportunities, resources and circumstances permit.
Collegial discussions in association with other University processes will continue to be used to identify the focus/theme (within one or more of our areas of research intensity and emphasis) of any new nomination, and to determine if such a nomination would involve an internal nomination, an external recruitment and nomination, or a combination of the two.
Our processes for new nominations will adhere to University tenure-track hiring practices, which include provisions to address employment equity, diversity and inclusion. Our efforts will meet or exceed the equity, diversity and inclusion requirements of the Canada Research Chairs program, and will be informed by best practices in these areas.
As of March 2021, our current Canada Research Chairs are as follows:
- Tier 1, Phytoplankton Ecophysiology (expires April 30, 2025)
- Tier 1, Green Boron Chemistry (expires Nov. 30, 2025)
- Tier 2, Intercultural Encounter (expires April 30, 2022)
- Tier 2, presently vacant; an external recruitment and nomination is currently underway
Strategic use of Canada Foundation for Innovation allocations
We will continue to use our Canada Foundation for Innovation funds to primarily support the needs of Canada Research Chair holders and researchers working in tandem with them. We will also provide new tenure-track appointees who require equipment and infrastructure with CFI allocation support. These approaches will permeate benefits across the institution and enhance our research capacity and profile.
Plan approval, review, and update
This strategic plan was developed by the Senate’s Research and Creative Activities Committee and adopted by Senate on Nov. 15, 2016. It is a living document and will be reviewed and updated regularly, at least once every two years, by the Research and Creative Activities Committee. This plan was last updated in September 2021.
Student Affairs Strategic Plan
The Student Affairs Strategic Plan was established in 2016.
Mission statement and guiding principles
Work collaboratively to provide supportive and challenging experiences that lead to the holistic development of students.
Purpose and guiding principles
- Complement and reinforce the academic mission through innovative learning support programs
- Individually and collectively embrace diversity and support inclusion
- Open up the dialogue about health, wellness, and mental health
- Support the growth of co-curricular, experiential, and service learning
- Challenge students to become leaders as local and global citizens
- Facilitate mentorship opportunities for students to actively participate in research and creative activities
- Offer enriching international experiences and study abroad options
- Become identified as a destination of choice for international students and scholars
- Enable students to pursue their studies through proactive and responsive academic, financial, and social support
- Contribute to a well rounded, positive student experience
- Work collaboratively with faculty and staff to support the Student Affairs mission
- Support the social, cultural, spiritual, academic, and leadership development of students
- Foster and ensure a safe and respectful campus
Student recruitment and retention
- A multi-year Strategic Enrolment Management Strategy
- Identify barriers and build student persistence
- Outreach strategies for aboriginal, first generation, transfer students
- Develop an internationalization strategy
- Scholarship and Financial Aid Impact Assessment
- Develop an integrated marketing and recruitment plan
- Retention analysis and framework
- Develop a plan focusing on first year retention
- Retention of Meighen Centre students
- Analyze enrolment trends and prepare enrolment projections based on institutional and external data
- Work with alumni on recruitment initiatives
- Collaborate with faculty on recruitment
- Work with Athletics on recruitment and retention
- International recruitment — student mobility
- Analyze impact of scholarship and financial aid on conversion and retention
- Work with Marketing and Communications and Admissions on a national, regional and international recruitment plan
- Work with Early Alert Advisory Group on retention initiatives
- Introduce Students of Concern Case Team
- Data generation and analysis by Institutional Research & Enrolment Analysis (IA) and Financial Services
- Co-ordination of activities between Admissions and alumni
- Identify specific program areas for recruitment
- Work with indigenous affairs co-ordinator and departments on outreach initiatives
- Identify target markets
Measures of success
- Strategies and tactics to be implemented in 2015-2016 and beyond
- Achieve enrolment targets
- Improved retention rate for first year students
- Improved retention for international students
- Improved support services and retention
- Data used to inform strategy and decision-making
- Number of engaged alumni and prospective students
- Increased prospects and applications
- Achieve goals as outlined in Athletics Strategic Plan
- Improved access for students
- A diversified international student population and expanded international activities
- Financial support contributing to recruitment, retention, and student success
- Support student success and academic progression
- Co-ordination, collaboration, and sustainability of academic support services
- Contribute to experiential education
- Support student mobility and international experiential learning opportunities
- Profile student research in recruitment messages
- Online modules for academic support and academic integrity
- Support academic accommodations for students with disabilities
- Analysis of academic progression and graduation rates
- Develop a model for academic support services
- Assist students with skills acquisition
- Student support and faculty liaison
- Academic advising and Student Affairs to develop a model for academic support services
- Career services co-ordinator to work with academic departments
- International Affairs to liaise with academic departments on new international initiatives
- In collaboration with academic support services provide students with access to support online
Measures of success
- Interventions designed to support student success.
- Student-centered services, programs, and resources to support academic success
- Increased participation and skills enhancement in experiential learning opportunities
- Expand selection of international options for students, faculty, and staff
- Enhanced profiles of student-faculty interactions
- Student-centered online resources to support student success
- Enhanced awareness of resources for students with disabilities
Integrated extracurricular experience
- Develop integrated reflective, extracurricular learning experiences
- Support diversity and inclusiveness programming
- Align student programming with the President’s Speaker Series
- Comprehensive health, wellness, and mental health strategy
- Design Orientation and training sessions on themes of inclusion and diversity
- Involve residence students, MASU clubs in the key themes
- Accessible resources and programs for health and wellness
Measures of success
- Inventory and tracking of experiential learning opportunities
- Campus culture
- Improved NSSE results
- Increased student participation in President’s Speakers Series
- Recommendations for mental health implemented
Faculty experience, teaching, research service
- Collaborate with faculty on co-curricular and experiential programming
- Engage with faculty in supporting the classroom experience
- Support volunteer and service-learning
- Promotion of academic support services
- Match students with opportunities
- Create incentives for experiential learning
- Resources for dealing with complex student cases (mental health, accommodations)
- Enhanced community engagement amongst students
- Greater awareness and utilization of resources
Measures of success
- Increased student participation
- Alignment of Students Affairs programs with academic mission
Organization and capacity for sustainability and quality
- Identify external sources of funding and potential donors
- Engage MASU in priorities
- Review services for effectiveness and efficiency
- Quality and sustainability in Student Affairs services and programs
- Identify student needs and recommendations
- Assess what we should stop, keep, change, or start
Measures of success
- Additional external resources to support Student Affairs goals and priorities
- Engaged students and student satisfaction
- Assessment of Student Affairs programming
Governance accountability performance
- Introduce performance review and planning within Student Affairs
- Conduct NSSE survey
- Policy and protocol development
- Performance metrics aligned with the strategic statement
- Use tools to set goals and monitor performance
- Measure student engagement
- Review and revise student governance, sexual assault policies
- Develop students of concern, crisis management protocols
- Further develop risk management processes (student events, students at risk, judicial processes)
- Develop and report on performance measures and benchmarks for Student Affairs units
Measures of success
- Clearly articulated plans, ongoing assessments
- Mitigate risks and outline transparent policies and protocols
- Continuous improvement through assessment and evaluation