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Blog 2: Our Community’s Thoughts on VIU’s Strengths

Since mid-March, strategic planning conversations – like all our conversations – have moved to online. I don’t know if everyone shares this experience, but these have been much more successful than I expected: I like being able to see everyone around the table, I like the more deliberate way we tend to take turns, and I like the ability to record thoughts in the chat box as we share ideas. Of course, personal stories and personal vision are always better shared in person, but this vehicle has been the next best thing.

What has happened so far? With thanks to the enthusiasm of the VIU community, we have heard from more than 300 people through World Cafés, interviews, workshops, emails, and survey responses. Of those, 88 are students, 133 are employees, and 82 are from the community (including high school students). Last month, a message went out to our 8,000+ alumni, and in the coming month, another round of invitations will go out to VIU students and employees. In June, messages will go out to our wider community off-campus to invite their stories, too.

A good part of the past month has also been focused on analysis of this first round of input. The data collected since March was added to other resources: the annual student surveys of BC universities, for example, the input gathered at VIU for previous consultations (Student Affairs, People Plan, Academic Plan, etc.), research and data analysis by our own Office of University Planning and Analysis and much more – more than 150 sources in all so far, and more every day. Nvivo (software to organize qualitative data) has been put to use to identify themes in our stories – 97 categories and counting. VIU ‘s students and employees have weighed on the breadth of our services, programs, policies, and people. It has been inspiring to read.

I hope soon to be able to reflect back to the VIU family the strengths you have underlined and the vision you have for making VIU an even more remarkable place. These will be the backbone of our plan for the future.

Please do continue to share your thoughts in the weeks to come. Your vision matters!

 

Alison Van Rooy

Senior Advisor, Strategic Planning and Institutional Initiatives

 

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