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Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

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From 2-27 November, VIU is hosting a public engagement on A Different Kind of University: Vancouver Island University’s DRAFT 2021-2026 Strategic Plan. Please read the plan and share your ideas on this fun interactive engagement site.

If you prefer to send your comments by email, you are welcome to read a pdf version of the plan and send your thoughts directly to

We'd love to hear from you!

VIU's New Strategic Plan

Over 2020 and 2021, VIU is leading a community-wide strategic planning process called The Future We Want to See. The process will lead us to a new Strategic Plan that will let everyone know who we are and where we are going. The plan will help us articulate our values and our priorities as an institution, and help us make choices about what we will – and won’t – do. Most importantly, our Strategic Plan will help us build an even more powerful educational experience for our students.

The Strategic Plan is the responsibility of the Board of Governors and is led by the President, Dr. Deb Saucier. Have a look at this interview with Deb, describing her vision for the plan:

The Engagement Process

What does the engagement process look like?

The first part of the engagement sought to build a vision for VIU's future. In-person and online activities in the spring and summer of 2020 focused on five "conversation starter" topics, all important elements of pride at VIU today. The themes are drawn from President Saucier's installation speech delivered during her installation ceremony in November 2019.

The second part of the engagement invites VIU's communities to read and discuss the first Draft of VIU's Strategic Plan. The Draft, launched on 2 November, builds on What We Heard during the spring and summer.

Both parts of the engagement plan build on appreciative inquiry and design thinking approaches to reach out to VIU's many communities, both on and off our campuses. Have a look at this video to learn more about the process: 

Ways to Get Involved

From 2-27 November, 2020, VIU's communities are invited to share their views on the new Draft Strategic Plan through this fun interactive engagement platform. Please let us know your thoughts!

From March-July 2020, VIU's communities on and off campus got involved in many ways to help shape the draft plan.

What We Heard

Accounts of your thoughts about The Future We Want to See are posted on the What We Heard page.

Find Out More

We will work on the strategic plan over 2020, with lots of time for community engagement on drafts along the way. In 2021, we'll focus on the foundation plans that put the strategy into action. 

March 2020: Launch of The Future We Want to See engagement process

March-July 2020: Engagement period

August 2020: Launch of the What We Heard Report

Autumn 2020: Launch of consultation on a Draft Strategic Plan

Winter 2020-21: Board deliberation

Spring 2021: Launch of work to update supporting Foundation Plans

April 2021: Strategic Plan in force

We want everyone who cares about VIU -- past and present students, employees, and community partners -- to be involved. This is our plan for VIU’s future, so the creativity of all of our community members is needed.

The plan will focus on our deep commitment to student success, so we are making a special effort to engage students and alumni in conversations about their own experiences, ambitions and ideas. 

To manage the engagement and planning process, we have pulled together groups to support the Board and the President. They include:

  • Coordinator: Alison Van Rooy, Senior Advisor, Strategic Planning and Institutional Initiatives. Reach her anytime at


  • Facilitation Team: This graduate student team worked in February and March to undertake interviews and lead workshops.

Maria Arias Borja

Hayley Burns

Celina Fletcher

Trina Forrest 

Cliff Feng

Colin Pybus

Patricia Verhage

and Liz Whittaker


  • Advisory Group: This team of employees and student representatives helped draft versions of the plan for the wider community to discuss.
    • James Bowen, Executive Director, VIUSU
    • Sharon Hobenshield, Director, Office of Aboriginal Education and Engagement
    • McKenzie Hutchison, Chair, VIUSU
    • Irlanda Price, Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs
    • Pam Shaw, Director, Master of Community Planning Program
    • Kathryn Snow, Director, University Planning and Analysis
    • Janina Stajic, Director, Communications and Public Engagement
    • Bryan Webber, Acting Dean, Faculty of Management
    • Nicole Vaugeois, Associate Vice-President, Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity

VIU is guided today by a suite of foundation plans and other strategic documents, including:

... and many other region-specific, faculty, and departmental plans. 

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to planning that focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses. Taking an appreciative approach doesn't mean we ignore the things that aren't working -- those are important! -- but it does mean that we devote most of our energy on what is working so that we can do more of what we do best. This short video clip explains more.

Design Thinking is a method of improving goods or services (like education) that starts from the experience of the user (our students). It is a step-by-step way to better understand the student experience, to pinpoint areas of focus, to generate innovative ideas, and then to prototype and test those ideas to make sure we are making a difference. This video clip explains the steps we're following.

The team will also review studies, reports, statistics and other resources to help inform the plan. Here are some of those sources:

Have other resources to share? Please send to

A World Café is a kind of workshop. Participants sit at small hosted tables to discuss a given question, and then change every 20 minutes to join another group, culminating with a sharing of all the tables' insights. We are modifying the format to focus on story sharing: each table will seek to uncover stories about broadening access, encouraging discovery, engaging community, boosting success, and deepening reconciliation, along with an extra table to share other thoughts. In order to accommodate busy schedules, the 2 or 3-hour format has also been changed to a drop-in style: come when you can and stay as long as you like!

There are several other strategic plans already in place, like the Academic Plan and the new People Plan. How is this different?

  • Those plans -- what we are calling foundation plans -- are the pillars holding up the strategic plan. 
  • While our foundation plans shape most parts of VIU’s work, the strategic plan will connect our entire community together in one cohesive vision.
  • Everyone who works and studies at VIU needs to be able to see themselves in the plan. All of us are important to the success of VIU’s students.

Why should current students care about a long-term strategic plan?

  • Many students will have graduated before the new plan is in place, but once you become a student and then an alumni, we consider you to be an integral part of our VIU community.
  • As such, we look to you for advice and insight into how we can best support our student experiences before, during and after their time here.

What will change at VIU after we’re done?

  • We don’t know yet! Our plans for the future are being shaped by this process.
  • We are having this broad engagement process because we want ideas from our communities on how we can build on the successes of VIU and create a vision for the future.
  • One outcome of the plan will be clear goals and strong plans that we will put into action, measuring our progress along the way.




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