As of early March 2019, the administration at Thompson Rivers University have announced that they want to hear from both faculty and students to make improvements to the school. The process will take place over a year and gives the opportunity for everyone involved with the university to give their opinion on their experience and make recommendations for the administration.
“A university does not exist in isolation. It is part of the communities it serves whether those communities are in close proximity or a click away through digital communication,” TRU’s new president Brett Fairbairn said in a press release. “It’s important we have as much input into this process as possible, to ensure the vision we arrive at truly reflects our hopes and aspirations for TRU.”
The process by which students and faculty are encouraged to engage in takes place entirely online. TRU has launched a new website that can be accessed by the weblink, tru.ca/envision or by Google searching Envision TRU.
Envision TRU is a website that allows people to interact and collaborate with other people putting forward suggestions for the university, as well as sharing their own experiences. The website functions similarly to a web forum wherein people write messages that other people can vote on and interact with. The message prompt is set under specific parameters that make it so people don’t have entirely free range over what they say. It is broken into two disparate components; the first being a prompt for a feature of the school you appreciate and then the second is a way to improve the university.
Fairbairn encourages students and faculty to check the website often for updates as there will be a number of ways for people to participate, including online conversations as well as smaller, in-person focus group sessions. In addition to this, the website will also have information on project phases, timelines, ways to participate, reference materials and easy access to an online and interactive platform TRU will use throughout the process.
While the website has been up and running for less than two weeks at the time of publishing, there have already been over 250 registered users, and over 280 “thoughts,” as is the vernacular on the website. The upper echelon of interaction on these thoughts currently stands around 40 votes. Those votes are conducted on a one-to-five star voting system that results in an amalgamated rating.
“Our university’s relationship goes beyond the education provided, to many other positive social and economic impacts,” Fairbairn said in the release. “It’s natural that we want to hear from the broader community, beyond our students, faculty and staff.”
TRU anticipates having a new vision and set of strategic priorities in place for spring 2020.