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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

Matt Hebb, AVP Government Relations and Economic Development & Sheila Blair-Reid, Director Alumni Engagement
(June 2017): • International partnerships: 29 new partnerships (including 8 renewals) in 26 countries for a total of 317
agreements, up from 293 in 2015/2016
• Dalhousie performs 91% of industry-supported research in Nova Scotia
• 3rd best university in U15 for industry-partnered research
• Enhanced Alumni Engagement strategic plan developed focused on international engagement, student transition, global chapter network and connecting alumni to the university in real time through Dal’s engagement programs
• Actively engaged with 85% of our over 132k alumni through various events, written communications, volunteer opportunities, board memberships and other activities
• Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) tripartite agreement renewed with the government of New Brunswick and the University of New Brunswick

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 2017): • Dr. Françoise Baylis awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia
• Professor Matthew Schnurr received a national innovation award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
• 5 Dalhousie students received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
• Dr. Robert Laprairie, a Dal pharmacology PhD grad, was named the top pick in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) fellowship program
• Dr. Brendan Haley was awarded a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, which provides funding to the best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to Canada’s economic, social and research-based growth
• Nursing student Maike van Niekerk named Dal’s 90th Rhodes Scholar
• Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard was named to the Senate of Canada, becoming the first African Nova Scotian woman to serve in the Senate
• Former Dal Vice President Research Martha Crago and alumnus Dr. Art McDonald were appointed to the federal science review panel
• Schulich School of Law Dean Camille Cameron was appointed to a 7-member advisory board tasked with recommending Canada’s next Supreme Court justice
• Dr. Martha Radice was elected as incoming president of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) and Dr. Howard Ramos was elected as president of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA)
• Dal alum Dr. Robert Riddell (MD’11) was among 17 finalists of the Canadian Space Agency’s current recruitment campaign; 9 Dal alumni were among the first round of 72 finalists
• 89 Academic All-Canadians, representing over 30% of the university’s student-athlete body
• From July 2016 to June 2017, Dalhousie welcomed a wide range of government representatives and officials, including the mayor of Halifax, the premier and deputy premier of Nova Scotia, 4 provincial ministers, the Governor General of Canada, 5 federal ministers, 7 MPs, 1 senator, 6 provincial and 2 federal deputy ministers, the Clerk of the Privy Council and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer
• An increase in media coverage distribution resulted in overall media mentions increasing 47% from 18K in 2015/2016 to over 26K in 2016/2017; the two biggest drivers of this were OFI and the Food Price Report
• Favourable opinion of Dalhousie is widespread across NS and has improved steadily in the last 2 years (source: CRA Atlantic Quarterly)
• Launched strategic plan for Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary in 2018
• 2016 annual Chamber Dinner with Dalhousie president as the keynote speaker was a sold-out event; Dr. Florizone’s well-received partnership speech included the announcement of the Emera ideaHUB gift; trended on social media
• Increased and improved the use, efficiency and effectiveness of digital marketing, resulting in increased response (40%) and lowered costs to reach audience
• Open House campaign generated 8,624 new visitors to dal.ca, contributing to a 22% increase in registrations to Open House and a 102% increase in applications at Open House

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 2017): • Dal ranked 251-300 in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (from 201-250 in previous
release); and ranked 283 in Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings (QS) (from 277 last year)
• Dal ranks amongst the world’s elite institutions in 15 subjects in QS World University Rankings by Subject
• Dalhousie appears in the top 200 rankings in 9 subject areas (7 last year), including Earth and Marine Sciences, where Dal ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide
• Completed initial analysis of ranking systems and factors influencing rankings

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 2017): • Plan and budget approved, with both Faculty and unit plans complete; visual identity, website (dal200.ca), promotional product and sponsorship plan launched
• 80% of signature projects confirmed, including New Year’s Day family skate at Emera Oval, Bicentennial Launch on February 6, Year of Belonging program, Great Debate in April and Dal Bus travelling coast to coast throughout the year with stops for alumni receptions, school visits and more
• Dal Originals project featuring 52 stories and videos about Dal people who have inspired, provoked or changed our world is 75% complete
• 5 Community partnerships finalized
• 11 conferences confirmed, to date, including Royal Society of Canada

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 Suzanne Huett, Executive Director Advancement Operations and Planning
(June 2017): • 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%
• Over $67M raised this year in external philanthropic support, the highest level achieved in Dalhousie history
• 53% increase in number of major ($50k+) gifts
• $25M lead philanthropic gift secured for Oceans Frontier Institute (OFI)
• Development and launch of Student Retention Initiative with $6.5M committed and directed to it
• Innovation and Design in Engineering & Architecture (IDEA) Project campaign entered public phase and stands at almost 90% of the larger $64M goal to programming for the Emera ideaHUB
• Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Campaign launched with over $6.3M cumulative commitments to date under leadership of Honourary Chair John Bragg
• Performing Arts Centre Campaign launched with a lead $5M gift secured from a first-time principal donor to Dal
• All giving level programs exceeded goal for 2016/2017 — Principal Gifts, Major Gifts, Annual Gifts and Planned Gifts

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]