4.0 Partnerships and reputation

Take our place nationally and internationally

Taking our place nationally and internationally requires that we foster strong partnerships, strengthen the recognition for our academic excellence and celebrate our distinctive attributes. By doing so, we will ensure that Dalhousie takes its place among the world’s top 200 universities, an accomplishment that will in turn allow us to continue to have a positive impact in our community, country and the world.

4.1 Foster and support key external partnerships and relationships with alumni, other universities, governments, businesses and NGOs

Matthew Hebb, AVP Government Relations and Economic Development & Sheila Blair-Reid, Director Alumni Engagement
(June 2018): • International partnerships: 40 new partnerships (including 20 renewals) in 21 countries; due to closing of inactive agreements, there were a total of 253 active agreements in 2017/2018, down from 317 in 2016/2017
• Support for increased international learning experiences: $100k was designated to support participation in short-term international learning experiences over two years, with $22,300 disbursed in February-March 2018 to 18 students across 6 faculties
• Alumni engagement: Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary is being leveraged to increase connection to alumni, donors and friends through unique engagement initiatives and communication such as the Coast to Coast tour to 12 cities across Canada (featuring a Dal branded bus); the launch of a robust alumni benefits card; and the refresh of all central and faculty alumni sites and communication platforms
• Actively engaged with 86.5% of Dalhousie’s 135k plus alumni
• Dalhousie has established strategic partnerships with institutions that are members of the Russell Group (UK), Australia G8, League of European Research Universities (LERU) and C9 Ivy League in China in the following areas: Agriculture/Aquaculture; Computer Science; Engineering; Health Sciences; Management; Science (Economics); Maths & Stats; Ocean Sciences/Environmental Sciences

Read more about priority 4.1

INFLUENCED BY: 1.3, 2.1, 3.1, 4.2, 4.5
: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.5, 3.1, 3.3, 4.5


Public support, students, research and scholarly collaborations at home and abroad are critical to Dal's success. Dalhousie now receives funding from 237 distinct organizations, representing a rich array of public, private and non-profit partners from across Nova Scotia, Canada and the world.

Our alumni, current and prospective donors and all levels of governance are another critical source of support. They share our interest in strengthening Dalhousie and in making the world a better place.

We must strengthen and build upon existing patnerships by discovering shared interest, securing support and increasing our connections and relevance to all levels of society. Because so many forms of patnerships already exist at Dalhousie, taking account of our existing practice will help us develop a clear understanding of the practices we want to continue and/or refine to take our place nationally and internationally.


  1. Increase the engagement of alumni through the alumni engagement plan which focuses on communications, community building and volunteerism.
  2. Develop and deploy an engagement plan to keep government informed about Dal’s aspirations, achievements and needs; build partnerships where appropriate.
  3. Build new, sustained and active relationships with strategically selected national and international universities including university associations through the international strategy.
  4. Develop and deploy a business and NGO partnership strategy to identify key business and NGOs whose interests align with Dalhousie priorities and build appropriate partnerships and keep them informed.

Download the charter [PDF-136kB]


4.2 Strengthen the recognition for our academic excellence and reputation at national and international levels

Catherine Bagnell Styles, AVP Communications & Marketing
(June 2018):
Faculty Awards/Excellence
• FASS Dean Dr. Frank Harvey was awarded distinguished Fulbright Research Chair at Yale
• Dal Medicine professors Dr. Patrick McGrath and Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie winners of Governor General’s
Innovation Award for unique distance service delivery system
• Dr. Martha Crago and Dr. Jocelyn Downie awarded the Order of Canada
• Professor Taghrid Abou Hassan received the Order of the French Academic Palms
• Dr. Nur Zincir-Heywood received Digital Diversity Award from Digital Nova Scotia
• Dr. Anne-Marie Ryan winner of educational leadership award from the Association of Atlantic Universities
Student Leadership/Scholarship/Awards
• Nayani Jensen named Dal’s 91st Rhodes Scholar
• 2018 Governors’ Award Winners included Yaser Alkayale, Computer Science; Leah Carrier, Nursing; Jeremy Stroud, International Food Business; Martha Paynter, Nursing (PhD); Jad Sinno, Psychiatry Research (Master’s)
• Dal’s top co-op students of the year included Christian Thomas, Commerce; Karolyn Long, Science; Eric Desjardins, Informatics; Christine Gaudet, Engineering; Aaron Szeto, Architecture; and Craig Dedels, Planning
• Schulich School of Law team won national IP Law Moot
• Queen Elizabeth II Scholars included Beatrix Yuan, Kelly Lucas, Noah Eisner, Jennifer Greene, Genevieve Renaud-Byrne and Justine Dol
• Dal PhD candidate Simon Gebremeskel among elite young scientists nominated to attend Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
• Three Dal graduate students were are among the 2017 recipients of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships: Allison Chua, Oceanography; Hansen Johnson, Oceanography; and Timothy Disher, Nursing
• Dal students claim two of 10 2017 3M Student Fellowships: Bai Bintou Kaira, Chemical Engineering and Anika Riopel, Theatre and Environment, Sustainability and Society
• Martha Paynter, 2018 SLTHE 3M National Student Fellow
• 99 new Academic All Canadians, including Anna Dunn-Suen being named a Top 8 Academic All Canadian nationally
Media Coverage
• An increase in media coverage resulted in overall media mentions for Dalhousie increasing by 5.4% from 26k in 2016/2017 to over 27k in 2017/2018, with the biggest story drivers being Dalhousie’s involvement in capturing a global fishing footprint through Global Fishing Watch, the release of Canada’s Food Price Report 2018 and the shortlisting announcement of the Ocean Supercluster by the Government of Canada
• Successful multi-channel launch of Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary, which has served as a reputation building platform, generating positive media coverage, full event attendance across the country and internal/external engagement. For example, each Dal Original video gets over 2,000 views per week with an average total reach of almost 87,000.
• Social media has seen a 9% increase in Facebook and 32% increase in Instagram, where we reached a 10k follower milestone

Read more about priority 4.2

INFLUENCED BY: 1.2, 2.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.3, 4.5
INFLUENCING: 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.1, 4.1, 4.3, 4.5


A university’s reputation affects its ability to attract the best students, the best faculty, the best researchers and the best staff. It influences a university’s strength in gaining funding from both new and existing donors. It impacts a university’s ability to attract corporate partners and forge relationships with other universities and research bodies. Reputation is also a significant factor in rankings performance and performance in rankings influences reputation. Reputation and rankings performance are increasingly important as we become more international in our recruitment and research efforts.

Dalhousie University has recently completed reputation research that provides insights and intelligence relevant to the entire university. These insights have been broadly shared across campus  and communications & marketing has used the insights to inform its departmental plan and to develop a draft reputation plan that has been shared with senior leaders. For the university to support strategic initiative 4.2, we need to develop a reputation plan that is integrated and aligned with the faculty and unit plans.

Delivering on this plan and building partnerships across campus is key. In addition, a focussed, disciplined and measureable plan to improve our performance in key rankings is a priority. Both are key to positioning Dalhousie for the strategic growth that will be key to our success in our third century.


  1. Refresh Dal’s visual identity in response to the insights from the reputation research.
  2. Update Dal’s home page to reflect new identity and support key reputation drivers.
  3. Inform and engage the Dal community (all departments, units, faculties) on the results of the reputation research.
  4. Develop a 3-year reputation plan, aligned with the 200th anniversary project (4.4), the rankings project (4.3) and with faculty/unit plans.

Download the charter [PDF-138kB]


4.3 Develop a plan to secure and maintain Top 200 status

EXECUTIVE SPONSOR: Provost & VP Academic
PROJECT LEAD: Susan Spence, Vice-Provost, Planning and Analytics
(June 2018): • Dal ranked 251-300 in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (consistent with previous release); and ranked 279 in Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings (QS) (283 last year)
• Dal ranks amongst the world’s elite institutions in 14 subjects in QS World University Rankings by Subject
• Dalhousie appears in the top 200 rankings in 6 subject areas (down from 9 last year), including Earth and Marine Sciences, where Dal ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide
• Schulich School of Law ranked among the Top 100 Law Schools in the world for the first time (Times Higher Education)
• Analysis of ranking systems and factors influencing rankings in progress

Read more about priority 4.3

INFLUENCED BY: 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, 4.2, 4.5
INFLUENCING: 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5


Higher education is a competitive sector. Dalhousie competes for highly qualified students, faculty and staff, for funding and for partners. The ranking of higher education institutions has become an important part of the national and international landscape.

In 2010, Dalhousie placed in the top 200 of the Times Higher Education ranking and is typically in the Top 250. From an initial analysis of this and other rankings, it is clear that perceptions of our performance lag behind our actual academic performance. If we could better align external perceptions with our actual performance, we could move back into the Top 200 global university; we should strive to be recognized as one.


  1. To be in the Top 200 in an international ranking.

Download the charter [PDF-132kB]



4.4 Prepare for Dalhousie's 200th Anniversary in 2018

PROJECT LEAD: Catherine Bagnell Styles, AVP Communications & Marketing
(June 2018): • Successful multi-channel launch of 200th anniversary (events, promotion, advertising, social)
• Depth and breadth of 200th programming aligned with and supporting strategic priorities
• Successful production of the Bicentennial Launch in February 2018, attracting 1,000 guests to the Cohn for an artistic celebration to set the tone for Dal’s 200th anniversary year
• 200th anniversary getting significant coverage in media and reputation tracking
• 200th media sponsorship valued at more than $1M
• Outstanding participation and engagement of key audiences
• 200th Anniversary 3 Minute Thesis Competition saw over 140 students registered for the competition with 12 student finalists presenting to an audience of over 200 people (largest attendance yet) and high profile local
and international judges
• 200th event attendance saw capacity audiences for Coast to Coast alumni bus tour; sold-out Belong Forum event with Buffy Sainte-Marie and sold-out Fountain School original production of Drums and Organs

Read more about priority 4.4

INFLUENCED BY: 1.2, 3.2, 4.1
INFLUENCING: 1.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5


In 2018, Dalhousie University will celebrate its 200th anniversary and begin its third century. This bicentennial milestone provides a rare platform and opportunity on which to celebrate, engage and inspire broadly across audiences and communities internally and externally. It provides an opportunity to enhance, shift and change reputation and positioning.

Develop a plan to outline objectives for this celebration as well as an approach and necessary budget. Ideally, we would use the two years prior to the actual anniversary to build excitement and 'buy in', laying the foundation for a significant new fundraising campaign and other significant bicenntennial initiatives.


  1. By May 2016: Have an approved 200th anniversary plan that engages our key communities in both planning and celebrating our 200th anniversary
  2. By May 2016: Have an approved 200th anniversary plan that delivers a coordinated, measurable and memorable celebration that supports Dal's Strategic Direction 2014-18

Download the charter [PDF-137kB]


4.5 Attract additional external investment

PROJECT LEAD: Stephen Harding, AVP Development and Kevin MacDonell, Executive Director Advancement Operations and Planning
(June 2018): • 4-year funding MOU with Province of Nova Scotia, covering 2015-2019
• Annual provincial operating grant provided by Department of Labour and Advanced Education increased by 1%
• Almost $41M raised in external philanthropic support, and expected to exceed $6 in new commitments on every $1 invested in Advancement
• Annual Giving results ended at almost $4.5M, setting a record
• $2.5M in student retention program support received; will support rural Nova Scotian students living in residence their first academic year beginning in the Fall of 2018
• Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic launched with over $1.8M in support and significant involvement from Atlantic business leaders
• Engineering IDEA project on track for September opening for students; 90% funded with fundraising continuing
• The Child Soldiers Initiative received a gift of $3M from Global Affairs Canada
• Performing arts centre project momentum continues with $1.5M gift, moving the project closer to groundbreaking and spurring the investment in a potential dance program
• New Student Learning Commons at Agricultural Campus set to open Spring 2018 thanks to $2M gift
• New Dentistry Clinic set to open this Fall thanks to donors; $1M gift to support pediatric dentistry confirmed
• Commitment of $1.3M received to provide seed funding for a Chair in Emergency Medical Services Research and to fund a symposium
• 9 gifts of a million dollars or more, which is the largest number in Dal’s history
• The first pilot project of its kind in Atlantic Canada, Recipe for Health Learning, raised $1.25M to fund initiatives on the benefits of healthy eating and exercise for young Nova Scotians

Read more about priority 4.5

INFLUENCED BY: 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 3.1, 4.1
INFLUENCING: 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3


In order to achieve its vision and deliver on the identified strategic priorities, Dalhousie cannot depend solely on core funding from traditional sources - government operating grants and tuition & fees.  The difference between a good university and a great one is tied to its ability to attract additional investment from external sources to transform academic and research capabilities.  These include philanthropic donations from individuals, corporations and foundations, research grants and additional government investment in areas of strategic importance to public policy priorities.

Dalhousie has demonstrated its fund raising capabilities through the success of the $280 million Bold Ambitions campaign, which concluded in 2013.  It is therefore well positioned to establish even higher fund raising goals that can be pursued over the coming decade.  

The goal of this project is to plan and execute a new comprehensive fundraising campaign which will provide Dalhousie the additional funding required to deliver on the exciting vision for the future.


  1. Plan and implement a comprehensive fundraising campaign that will attract significant new financial commitments over the next 10 years.

Download the charter [PDF-135kB]