Dal leadership team shares progress on priorities at strategic planning check‑in

Third Century Promise pillars in focus at annual update

- June 29, 2023

Dalhousie's Acting President Frank Harvey, shown above, and other senior leaders provided details on how the university is implementing its strategic goals last Thursday. (Nick Pearce photos)
Dalhousie's Acting President Frank Harvey, shown above, and other senior leaders provided details on how the university is implementing its strategic goals last Thursday. (Nick Pearce photos)

There’s been no shortage of headline-worthy accomplishments to buzz about at Dalhousie over the past year.

Consider just a few: the university received the largest research grant in its history; it opened an office embedded directly within an Indigenous community; and its students, faculty and staff continued to scoop up impressive national and international awards.

Yet these big wins only tell part of the story of how Dalhousie has moved forward in pursuit of its strategic goals since this time last summer. Dig a little deeper into the details, as senior leaders did at Dal’s annual Progress Report update last Thursday, and an even more dynamic picture begins to emerge.

Acting Dal President Frank Harvey and other members of the university’s executive team offered attendees a series of snapshots illustrating Dal’s progress in implementing its strategic plan, Third Century Promise, supported by fresh data and short video segments showcasing key initiatives.

The update, which was livestreamed online for those not on campus, was divided into segments aligned with each of the strategic plan’s five pillars: Exceptional Student Experience, Inclusive Excellence, High-Impact Research, A Civic University with Global Impact, and A Foundation for Inclusion and Distinction.

Watch: Annual Progress Update event — archived livestream

Pursuing priorities, meeting commitments

Dr. Kim Brooks, Dal’s acting provost and vice-president academic, kicked off the show-and-tell by pointing out Dal’s continued strength in attracting students with more than 21,000 individuals enrolled last year. Of those, 2,700 participated in co-op work terms. “We know what an extraordinary difference that makes in people’s learning,” she said. Dal also hit a new milestone in experiential learning last year with 410 distinct courses offering such elements.

Watch below: Video highlight for Exceptional Student Experience — Black and African Diaspora Studies Major

Dr. Brooks also spoke to Dal’s success in moving ahead on its Inclusive Excellence goals, particularly when it comes to recruiting faculty and staff. She noted that nearly 50% of all staff hired this year and 70.9% of all faculty recruited during 2021-2022 (the latest figures available) identified as members of equity deserving groups.

Watch below: Video highlight for Inclusive Excellence — Employment Equity Plan

Vice-President Research and Innovation Alice Aiken praised the collaboration that led to Dal’s largest-ever research grant. She also took time to shed light on other areas of strength over the past year, including Dal’s above average strength in publication rates compared to bigger U15 peers and its ability to stay above the all-important $200-million in total research funding despite the tail end of COVID research investments fading away.

Watch below: Video highlight for High-Impact Research — Dal Innovates

Dal’s Vice-President Government and Global Relations Matt Hebb highlighted Dal’s inclusion in the top 100 in the latest Times Higher Education Impact Rankings at a time when more universities than ever are participating in it. “This is an important reflection of the ways in which things like our research strategy, which is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is actually manifesting as real impact on advancing those.”

At the same time, he said, Dal is taking steps to ensure this global reach and impact is reflected in positive impacts locally as well through various initiatives from its community clinics to helping tackle issues facing health care in Nova Scotia.

Watch below: Video highlight for Civic University with Global Impact — International learning experiences for African Nova Scotian and Indigenous students

And, finally, Dal’s Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Earle offered a few highlights of how Dal has moved the needle on facilities and infrastructure renewal by completing important projects such as the Dal Arts Centre expansion and Halifax thermal plant renewal and starting others such as the Killam Memorial Library deep energy retrofit.

Dal’s Digital Governance framework will put more data at Dal’s fingertips, she said, and the university is moving ahead on revisions to its budget model and implementing its Accessibility Plan.

Watch below: Video highlight for A Foundation for Inclusion and Distinction: Program and service improvements

Read the full report below: Third Century Promise Annual Progress Report — Year Two Reporting (2022-23)


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