TRUFA conducts parallel priority planning

Faculty association has its own ideas for the university’s strategic priorities

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

TRUFA president Jason Brown holds up a diagram of values that TRU faculty recognize as important to the university. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

TRUFA president Jason Brown holds up a diagram of values that TRU faculty recognize as important to the university. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

While the TRU strategic priorities advisory committee has been conducting its consultation process, the TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) decided it was important to also conduct a consultation process for faculty members, despite already having 10 TRUFA members on the advisory committee.

TRUFA president Jason Brown said the association represents almost 900 faculty at TRU, making them a major stakeholder in the future of the university. He wants to make sure they get a broad representative voice.

“[The] faculty have expectations that the faculty association is looking out for their interests,” Brown said. “Faculty associations at universities do more than negotiate contracts, we also try and participate in the life of the university and the vision of how we can make this a better institution.”

The first step for TRUFA was to create its own internal committee to find ways to participate in an effective manner. The second step was a kick-off meeting at TRU where they presented a plan to faculty members and discussed the history of TRU, something Brown said is an important part of making any future plans.

“When you want to have a vision of where you’re going, we feel it’s important to remember where you came from,” Brown said. “The university is grounded in the community, so we can’t have a vision or process that doesn’t take contextual factors into consideration.”

TRUFA has gathered feedback from faculty through a number of follow-up meetings, where they asked faculty to individually list what their ideal vision for the future of the university would be, their values for the university moving forward and what the mission of the university should be.

They plan to gather the information and use it to formulate questions for a survey they will then distribute to the faculty. Once the survey is complete they will share the results with the TRU’s committee.

Brown said the association is interested in making TRU the best possible institution for everyone.

“We have to be caretakers of the academic integrity on campus, making sure that the best interests of students (and the community as a whole) are kept in mind moving forward, that we don’t compromise those values. They have to underpin any move forward,” Brown said. “We don’t want to water down the type of education students get here.”

Associate VP academic in charge of student relations Katherine Sutherland said the committee plans to work with all stakeholders equally, but she is interested to hear what TRUFA has to say.

Sutherland also said that there is a desire to work with everyone, and they would “never not work with a certain stakeholder group” but no one, including committee members, will get special status in TRU’s consultation process and the committee was advised not to advocate for any private or political agenda.

The plan, as put forth on the strategic priorities website, states that the committee will be finished collecting priorities by Dec. 31, 2013 and will begin the implementation stage by Jan. 2014.