This document is our interpretation of President’s “3 Priorities” address to the University (October 2015). We have attempted to summarize strategic priorities from his discussion paper to act a practical guide for classifying and prioritizing IT projects.

Leveraging our location


  • To improve the state of our host city-region
  • To enhance the University’s success in attracting and retaining talented faculty, staff and students
  • To promote further success in research, teaching and learning by focusing on urban processes, dynamics and challenges, such as poverty, public health, innovation clusters, environmental and energy systems, transportation, political systems, design and planning, and more
  • To enhance the University’s standing and reputation as a city-building institution

Strategic Actions:

Urban Research

  • Enhance coherence within the large, distributed community of urbanists by creating one (or possibly more) table(s) to encourage mutual discovery and cross-talk between colleagues, foster collaboration, and stimulate joint, interdisciplinary research initiatives
  • Enhancing the visibility of our urban scholarship by documenting and cataloguing the breadth and extent of our urban research activity across all three campuses
  • Enhance access to our considerable in-house research talent by those outside the University – particularly our government partners and community-based organizations seeking assistance, expertise and advice on urban issues

Urban Teaching

  • Enhance the visibility of and access to our impressive array of existing undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Enhancing the visibility of our existing programs, we should focus on expanding learning opportunities for our students

Urban Outreach and Partnerships

  • Enhance the visibility of such activities (Urban Outreach and Partnerships) by cataloguing and publicizing them more aggressively than we do currently
  • Expand our outreach and partnerships in a number of ways, beginning with our closest neighbours

University as a City Builder

  • Strengthen relations with our neighbours where necessary
  • University’s Design Review Committee, which provides advice to improve the design quality and features

Strengthening International Partnerships


  • Leverage our existing (and new) relationships for the mutual benefit of the University and its global partners in both research and teaching activity
  • Reinforce our global reputation and profile
  • Contribute significantly to the University’s goal of developing the global citizenship and fluency of our students through enhanced opportunities for international experience
  • Linking us more closely to those institutions in other urban regions around the world that are themselves actively engaged in city building

Strategic Actions:

International Partnerships

  • Partner with institutions of comparable quality
  • Partner with those institutions with which there is strong complementarity of assets and strengths
  • Deepening partnerships with great universities in other great world cities
  • Revisit our geographical priorities nationally

Student Mobility

  • Encourage more of our students to undertake an international experience, in whatever form possible
  • Pursue models which encourage bidirectional flow of people, ideas, teaching and research

International Student Recruitment

  • Strategic review of the target countries in which we recruit
  • Monitor market conditions and pricing
  • Develop a coherent strategy for ensuring the success of our international students
  • Improve ability to recruit the best PhD students from across Canada and around the world

International Presence

  • Consider alternative (to international campuses) ways of building our international presence that offer many of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost, while incurring far less risk

Inter-Divisional Coordination

  • Effective and systematic sharing of information between divisions/campuses with respect to dates and locations for alumni events, recruiting trips, decanal travel and fundraising trips
  • More active coordination: joint events and collaborative recruiting, for example

Rethinking Undergraduate Education in a Research-Intensive University


  • Prepare students better for lifelong success in the labour market, not just short-term employability
  • Anticipate and respond to disruptive changes in the modes and mechanisms for education and knowledge production, in light of growing threats to the traditional model of university education
  • Fundamental transformation of teaching and learning …. maintain momentum and continue to embrace a leadership role as pedagogical innovators

Strategic Actions:

Research-Based, Experience-Based, and Internationalized Learning

  • Enhance the visibility of such courses, internships and placements
  • Identify our most successful examples amongst the current offerings and scale them up to allow more of our students to benefit from them
  • Increase the number of opportunities to combine research, experience-based and international learning – through international research and international internship opportunities

New Learning Modes and Technologies

  • Support further experimentation by individual faculty, encouraging the sharing of experiences and best practices, and by making pooled production facilities available where it makes sense to do so
  • Study the effectiveness of online teaching formats in real time so that we can reap valuable knowledge from our experience – for example, by comparing outcomes in those courses that are taught traditionally to those that use online tools
  • Take full advantage of new data analytic tools to help us continue to improve teaching and learning
  • Leverage our relationships with these partners to learn from their experience as we contemplate similar offerings (online versions of entire degree programs) based on our own degree programs
  • Ensure that the value of ‘being there’ in person, in the classroom or the lab, is sufficiently great to compete successfully against purely digital modes of teaching


  • Reaffirm the importance of the liberal arts and breadth in undergraduate education
  • Ensure that First-entry programs undergo a similarly (renewal exercises to incorporate more breadth, and deliver a set of core competencies) comprehensive self-assessment and reworking
  • Help students prepare for the transition to work or graduate school
  • Renewed effort into scaling up these (experiential forms of learning, including internships, service- learning courses, PEY and co-op) opportunities
  • Nurture and support the growing interest in entrepreneurial activity amongst our students