Strategic priorities consultation calls for feedback

Ashley Wadhwani, Contributor Ω

Jenna Woodrow, philosophy professor, sticks a post-it to the Student board. Ashley Wadhwani/The Omega

Jenna Woodrow, philosophy professor, sticks a post-it to the Student board. Ashley Wadhwani/The Omega

TRU welcomed all citizens to attend the second strategic priorities consultation on Nov. 18 in the Campus Activity Centre. The consultation was intended to open discussion to community members on the future of TRU for the next five years.

The meeting began with a speech by TRU president Alan Shaver, inviting the 70 attendees to discuss their aspirations and hopes for the future of the university.

“Look and see how we can take TRU to the next level,” Shaver said.

Brenda Aynsley, executive director of United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo, took the floor and explained to attendees the four themes the consultation would be focusing on: community, students, research and learning and teaching. The themes were the result of two surveys that were conducted in the last two months. The first was held Oct. 15 to Oct. 23, with 1,700 responses and the second was held Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, with 1,110 responses, according to results published online.

The approach was a hands-on experience for all attendees, with different boards placed on tables around the room with titles reflecting the four main themes. Attendees were told to walk around the room to the different tables and write their ideas down on Post-it notes and stick them to the boards. If their idea was already written, or they agreed with someone else’s idea they could show their support by placing stickers on the notes.

“I believe that if you engage people that are passionate and involved in the university, that the end product will be improved,” Shaver said.

“The original survey was a little restrictive and pre-limited,” said Karl Hutchins, a faculty member of the archaeology department at TRU.

“Students might be intimidated by not having anything to contribute, but they can add dots instead,” said Hutchins.

The first survey results showed 42 per cent, or 710 of the total respondents were students. Of the 710, 233 were first-year students.

TRU philosophy professor Jenna Woodrow took the survey and placed notes and dots on the “research” and “student” boards. She said that there is a huge amount of interconnectedness with the university and the community.

The 35-person committee deciding the strategic priorities of the university includes 10 faculty, 10 students and alumni and community members. This meeting was only the first of four consultations that will be held. When asked by an attendee what would happen after the feedback session, Shaver said that the priorities for the university would be determined through “discussion, discussion, discussion, decision.”

The next strategic priorities consultation will take place on Nov. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Coast Hotel in the Columbia Room.