Foundations to Support Student Success
Dawson’s ability to ensure student success and meet its strategic priorities and goals depends upon a solid foundation of human, financial and material resources. This strategic plan includes four additional goals that provide this solid foundation and which will require coordination and cooperation among the major departments and sectors of the College. It will also require the collection of relevant data and the careful monitoring of the implementation of the strategies through ongoing assessment to determine whether the College is meeting its goals. Over the period of the Strategic Plan, the College may also need to respond to unforeseen internal and external circumstances that may require adjustments to the strategic priorities and goals.
Goal # 5 – Be a leading employer dedicated to employee development and engagement
During the last five years the College has seen a major renewal of its staff with the hiring of new employees occurring in every job category and, given the current projections for retirement, this trend will continue. A major challenge and opportunity for the College for the next five years is how to orient new employees, provide professional development to all employees, and have them engage with the College’s mission, vision and values.
The concept of employee engagement has emerged in the last few years as a way for organizations to leverage the talent and motivation of its employees in order to reach its goals. Employee engagement occurs when employees feel a heightened connection to their jobs, their manager, their colleagues, their organization and its mission. Organizations can foster employee engagement by adopting best practices such as providing quality leadership, good communication, opportunities for professional and personal growth, shared vision and values. Employee engagement is also fostered when employees are proud of the contributions their organization makes to the community and when they feel they can make a personal difference.
- Foster purposeful and effective communication within and across directorates, programs and departments.
- Provide a comprehensive and integrated approach to new employee hiring, orientation and integration.
- Support the professional development of faculty, staff and managers that is aligned with the College’s strategic priorities.
- Support employees who wish to participate in internal or external community volunteer opportunities and projects.
- Recognize the outstanding contribution of employees who help the College to reach its strategic goals.
- Deploy a tool for measuring employee engagement and establish benchmarks.
We will know we have achieved Goal 5 if, by 2021:
- New employees are satisfied with their orientation and integration into the College.
- There is an increase in the number of employees who participate in internal or external volunteer opportunities and projects.
- A tool for measuring employee engagement has been deployed and the College has established a benchmark.
Goal #6 – Promote a culture and practice of continuous improvement in all areas of the College
The College audited the effectiveness of its quality assurance mechanisms for ensuring continuous quality improvement for its programs of study, the evaluation of student achievement, strategic planning and student success planning. The main findings of this audit demonstrate that the College has, for the most part, effective mechanisms in place to ensure quality but several recommendations were made in order to improve mechanisms and practices related to program evaluation, evaluation of student achievement and strategic planning and monitoring. The College is now in the process of addressing these recommendations.
One of the goals of the last Strategic Plan was to deliver high quality programs and services and one of the main strategies to ensure the achievement of this goal was to support and implement voluntary, ongoing evaluation in programs and services. During the last Strategic Plan, twelve programs and the four general education departments conducted focused, ongoing evaluation projects while several non-academic departments – Academic Systems, Plant and Facilities, and Student Services – conducted evaluations of their services. Action plans stemming from the evaluation of non-academic services were left to the discretion of the department managers.
- Ensure that all recommendations from the 2015 Quality Assurance Audit have been addressed.
- Implement a coordinated approach to the evaluation of all non-academic services.
- Ensure that action plans from the evaluation of non-academic services are developed and implemented.
We will know we have achieved Goal 6 if, by 2021:
- All recommendations from the Quality Assurance Audit have been addressed.
- All non-academic services have been evaluated and action plans have been implemented for each evaluation.
Goal # 7 – Be a leading Canadian post-secondary institution in promoting and practising sustainability in all its endeavours
Dawson has shown its commitment to sustainability by adopting a Policy on Dawson Sustainability in 2009, implementing sustainable practices throughout the College, and by integrating environmental issues and sustainability into academic and extra-curricular activities and by aligning its practices and operations with sustainability principles. Dawson has won several awards for its contributions toward sustainability. Dawson received the CEGEP Vert – Level of Excellence – award in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 with a special mention for a carbon neutral pilot initiative in 2012. In Fall 2016, Dawson made a commitment to becoming carbon neutral. Dawson continues to build its expertise in sustainability and share its best practices with other educational institutions, non-profit organizations and businesses within Quebec, Canada and internationally.
- Use the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AAHSE) to benchmark performance.
- Reduce waste and energy consumption and be carbon neutral in operations annually.
- Further incorporate sustainability across the curriculum, throughout the student experience and within the college community.
- Adopt a system and foster practices for purchasing and awarding major contracts that are environmentally friendly.
We will know we have achieved Goal 7 if, by 2021:
- The College has obtained a Gold star rating from AASHE.
- The College has reduced its waste and energy consumption and achieved carbon neutrality in its operations on an annual basis.
- There is an increase in the incorporation of sustainability issues in the curriculum, throughout the student experience and within the college community.
- An environmentally friendly system for purchasing and awarding major contracts has been implemented.
Goal # 8 – Establish active working relationships with Dawson’s external partners and alumni and engage them in helping the College to reach its strategic vision
Since Dawson first opened its doors, more than 80,000 students have graduated from the College. These individuals have gone on to become engaged citizens and leaders in Montreal, Quebec and the world, and have the potential to be proud, active ambassadors of the college. Through the use of social media, Dawson has a powerful tool to reconnect both with its graduates and former employees, and cultivate ties with other members of the broader community. Given the diversity, expertise and external links of the Dawson community it will have an important role to play in supporting a philanthropic culture and its associated practices.
Many experienced teachers and staff will retire from the College during the next five years. Their knowledge and expertise can continue to be a source of inspiration and support for the College as it pursues its strategic goals.
- Build a strong Dawson College Foundation and establish an Alumni Relations Office to develop and institutionalize a philanthropic culture within the Dawson community.
- Develop a communication plan to inform internal and external community members about the College’s fundraising efforts and projects they support.
- Develop a content strategy plan that engages the internal and external community.
- Recruit alumni and external partners to assist in fulfilling the College’s mission and to take a leading role in Dawson’s fundraising campaign.
- Promote the involvement of retirees in helping the College to reach its strategic goals.
We will know we have achieved Goal 8 if, by 2021:
- There is a sustainable and fully operational Dawson College Foundation and an Alumni Relations Office.
- A Communication Plan and a Content Strategy Plan have been put into place.
- The Foundation has raised $5 million dollars to support the College’s strategic priorities.