UFV president, Joanne MacLean held her first town hall meeting on Oct. 2, 2018. The initial question period was followed by two announcements: the launch of a strategic planning initiative to create a new, more concise, easily-articulated mission statement for the university and the creation of a new position in the president’s office.
Instead of an extensive strategic planning overhaul, as MacLean said often occurs with the installation of a new president, it was announced that the university will instead engage in a several-months-long strategic planning as a collective university body. The goal will be to revitalize the vision statement of the university from the feedback of the UFV community, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Fraser Valley community with connections to UFV.
“I’m inviting your participation in us reestablishing and revitalizing the foundational statements around what it is we do and where it is we’re trying to go, and how we’re going to get there,” MacLean said at the town hall.
The statements formed by the community will aim to be short, concise ones that MacLean hopes will clearly convey UFV’s long-term plans and direction, to be used daily by those at UFV and be front and centre of UFV marketing and communication materials.
“My dream is to walk the campuses and to engage people and say ‘What is our vision and what are we here to do in the long term?’ and for someone to be able to say respond [with the statement],’” said MacLean.
Engagement with the community for the creation of these new statements will begin in several weeks, and MacLean hopes they will be complete as early as December of this year.
The second announcement was the introduction of a new position in the president’s office: special advisor to the president. The position will be filled by Dr. Eric Davis, who will step down from his current position as provost and vice-president academic at UFV to fill this new role, beginning on Sept. 1, 2019.
The new role will mainly be responsible for leading major projects relating to the hiring and retention of a diverse array of staff and faculty at UFV, according to MacLean. The first project will involve the recruitment and retention of Indigenous faculty and staff, including the creation of new positions and the hiring of new Indigenous faculty.
“This is becoming a major priority of Canadian universities, partly in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and partly as a result of recognizing the historical and ethical obligations of universities to right the wrongs of Canadian colonialism in the area of education,” Davis said over email.
“I’ve chosen Eric because he is somebody who is integrated into the entire university, he has been here a long time, he’s really passionate about UFV and knows it well, and is also very knowledgeable and very well respected in the local Indigenous communities,” said MacLean.
Davis has worked at the university for 26 years, after initially being hired as a faculty member in the history department in 1992. As provost and vice-president academic since 2009 he has helped “build the structures, systems and culture that being a university requires.”
Image: Edina Balint/The Cascade