Nipissing University’s strategic plan is called Pathways, and the goal is that all staff, students, and the community can walk this path together towards Truth and Reconciliation.
The plan outlines the University’s “collective journey towards a promising future for our campus and surrounding communities,” emphasized Nipissing’s President, Kevin Wamsley.
The plan was released yesterday afternoon in the University’s Fedeli Room. Well over 100 people showed up for the unveiling of “Pathways: Our Commitments to Water, Land, and People for the Next Seven Generations at Nipissing University.”
“This plan was the result of a highly collaborative process where we asked community members to share their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations about the University’s past, present, and future through focus groups, surveys, visioning exercises, and public meetings,” said Wamsley.
Essentially, the plan outlines six commitments. Fulfilling our responsibility to Truth and Reconciliation tops the list, plan authors noted, and building sustainable futures is key. The University wants to nurture relationships with water, land, and place, and work with First Nations to achieve these goals.
The President mentioned the amount of work that went into this guiding plan, noting everything was done within the community – no outside consultants – and the plan and the vision outlined were “started from scratch.”
Collaboration was key, and Wamsley made the point that all too often, a person often walks into a meeting with a preconceived notion of what to accomplish, and much of the meeting is spent trying to coax all into agreement. That was not the case with the meetings that led to this plan. “Imagine a plan without a plan,” he said, emphasizing the collaborative process of listening and sharing ideas that went into the plan.
The conversations were rich indeed, one participant noted, and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee ensured those conversations kept coming. The Nipissing University Indigenous Council on Education (NUICE) was involved with many of these conversations that helped guide the plan.
NUICE is an advisory body and resource for Nipissing University and is comprised of representatives from various Indigenous communities.
Maurice Switzer, the Chair of NUICE, emphasized how, "The over-riding objective of the university's Indigenous Council on Education is to ensure that the students sent to study here by their families and communities enjoy a welcoming environment, inside and outside of their classrooms.
“We were pleased to be involved in the strategic planning process and look forward to its vision being actualized in the operational plan."
The goals of the plan were materialized within a visual representation created by Nipissing University students Tessa Pizzale and Carol Szabicot. Their artwork now greets those entering the main entrance, “serving as a reminder of Nipissing’s commitments and its ongoing journey to fulfill them.”
What’s next? The University will finalize an operational plan this year to put the strategic plan to work. An academic plan will also be completed this year which will reflect the values within Pathways.
The strategic plan can be found on the University’s website.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.