I hadn’t, and I’m usually pretty observant! So you can imagine my surprise when, during the October Board of Governor’s (BoG) meeting, I learned that it was due to be approved next month for adoption in January.
Hang on. What?
That’s right. The thing that will guide, direct, and affect each of our working lives over the next five years, that we were promised to be consulted on, and that we’d been assured would follow all of the internal policy development guidelines and processes is due to be approved next month. Now, I could be wrong and I really hope I am, but I’d heard nothing about the planning and development since the “two employee strategic planning open houses” that were held in May, one on each campus.
Until just recently, I hadn’t even found out the full results of the Thought Exchange, there was a brief mention of the generalized results from employees and students during the May BoG I’d seen nothing other than a small infographic posted to the current Strat Plan website on Camosun.ca from the power point presentation.
But never fear! When made aware of these facts, our elected Faculty Representative on the Board of Governors, Al van Akker, spoke up and asked that faculty and employees get the same opportunity to provide feedback and review the draft policy before it being approved as all other stakeholder groups. I think that was fitting, because other than students, Faculty & Staff make up the largest one! Click on the image below to open up the Draft Plan and have a look!
Ok, I know what you are thinking now, hey Lynelle, sure but what is it that you want us to actually do about it? YOU need to get involved! This affects all of us, each and everyone at the College. Think about it, for faculty, we’re often asked to frame our SD Proposals against the College’s Strategic Initiatives, new programming usually has to tick all those boxes, even our approach to hiring new faculty and faculty appraisal revolves around the College’s Strategic Plan. If the College wants us to own it and paddle with them, it ought to be something we can all get behind.
What are your questions? Have you been asked to give your feedback? Have your departments had a chance to review it and decide if it fits with your priorities and initiatives. Do you think it accurately reflects the ideas we offered through the Thought Exchange? If not, what should it say?
What do they mean by a Centre for Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion? Is that an “office” or an “academic discipline”? Look closely, elements of this Strat Plan could be used to justify larger class sizes and program closures. And in some places, it doesn’t seem to go far enough in our commitments to our Indigenous partnerships or climate action, and some goals are seemingly at cross-purposes.
That’s not to say it’s all that bad of a Strat Plan. In fact, it’s just as good as any of them, when you factor in the part about how we do or don’t hold ourselves accountable. Which Camosun College does do, through our Annual Institutional Accountability Report. Other ways we get a better sense of how the College is doing would be our Enrolment Reports, starting on page 54 of the Oct 3 BoG Meeting Package, this shows a marked downturn in our Domestic Enrolment, for what were discussed to be a myriad of factors, but still causing me pause in the context of the new Strat Plan.
As your president, it is my job to pay attention to these things, but even though I’m spammy and annoying, in the end I’m just one voice. Together, we ARE stronger. Your departments should review the Strat Plan and provide your Dean’s & Directors with your perspective, concerns, or suggestions. I’d love it if you’d share those with me, too! Hopefully, you remember my post about Why you should car about Academic Governance, it wasn’t all that long ago. This is another area where we so have sway, but only if you speak up!
Lynelle Yutani (she/they)
President, Camosun College Faculty Association
Lynelle is a queer, leftist rabble-rouser galvanized to guard the rights of union members and is on a crusade to convince you that you get out of your Union what you put into it. Lynelle serves on a number of Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) Committees and FPSE affiliate committees in CAUT, the BC Fed, and the Canadian Labour Congress. Lynelle also serves as V.P. of her Strata Council & oversees a rooftop community garden which partners with Harvest & Share Food Aid Society to grow fresh produce for local foodbanks and community food security programs.
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