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 five 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 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 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:
- There is an improvement in collaboration and information sharing within and across directorates, programs and departments.
- Employees are satisfied with their orientation and integration into the College.
- The College has identified and supports the professional development requirements for its employees that are aligned with the College’s strategic priorities.
- 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 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 services.
- Ensure that action plans from the evaluation of 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.
- A critical path for the evaluation of services is developed and carried out.
- 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, 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.
- Further incorporate sustainability-related content across the curriculum, throughout the student experience and within the college community.
- Reduce waste and energy consumption and be carbon neutral in operations annually.
- Apply sustainability criteria for purchasing and for awarding major contracts.
- 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.
We will know we have achieved Goal 7 if, by 2021:
- There is an increase in the incorporation of sustainability-related content in the curriculum, throughout the student experience and within the college community.
- The College has reduced its waste and energy consumption and achieved carbon neutrality in its operations on an annual basis.
- There is evidence that sustainability criteria have been applied for purchasing and for awarding major contracts.
- The College has obtained a Gold star rating from AASHE.
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
Over the past 50 years, Dawson College has awarded more than 80,000 diplomas to graduates who have gone on to become engaged citizens and leaders in industry, government and social organizations in Montreal and beyond, and who can act as proud and dynamic ambassadors for the College.
The ability to connect through various communication channels, including electronic media, and activities provides Dawson with powerful tools to cultivate ties with both College graduates and retirees, as well as with partners in the broader community.
Given the diversity of knowledge, experience and expertise among those with an affinity for Dawson, they can continue to be a source of inspiration and support in the pursuit of the College strategic goals and priorities.
- Help build a strong Dawson College Foundation to develop and institutionalize a philanthropic culture within the Dawson community.
- Establish clear communication objectives to develop platforms, activities and opportunities for graduates, retirees and partners to engage in active participation in the life of the College.
- Define a set of College priorities and needs within the framework of the College’s strategic directions to create opportunities for support that will sustain Dawson’s vision for the future.
- Develop and integrate a cohesive content strategy into a targeted and comprehensive communication plan that will strengthen relationships and inform members of Dawson’s internal and external communities with an affinity for the College about opportunities to support its strategic goals and academic priorities.
- Recruit alumni and external partners to participate in Dawson’s fundraising campaign.
We will know we have achieved Goal 8 if, by 2021:
- There is a sustainable and fully operational Dawson College Foundation. The College has a substantial and reliable database of alumni, retirees and partners.
- A well-articulated set of priorities and needs has been developed that engages current students, faculty and staff, graduates, retirees and members of the broader community, in supporting and achieving the College’s strategic vision.
- A cohesive content strategy has been designed and integrated into a targeted and comprehensive communication plan for implementation.
- The College has a substantial and reliable database of alumni, retirees and partners.
Goal # 9 – Enhance the physical environment to support student success and employee engagement
The government has recognized that the College has, with regard to its authorized enrolment capacity (devis), a shortfall of space amounting to 7000 m2, roughly equivalent to the space contained in one of the existing wings of the College. Discussions have been held at different ministerial levels during the last few years about addressing this space deficit and the government has approved funding for a feasibility study, the first phase of a project to acquire new space. This first phase is an opportune time to plan a space that supports the College’s commitment to student success, employee engagement and sustainability and to re-examine how space is used more generally in the college.
In anticipation of the acquisition of new facilities that would house the medical and social service programs, discussions, experimentation and planning are required to ensure that the facilities are optimized to support learning between different professions and that the programs themselves can make the best use of the new space. In addition, research shows that the benefits of promoting certain pedagogical practices, such as active and collaborative learning, in the classroom are enhanced when they are undertaken in appropriately designed spaces. Outside the classroom, the development and implementation of common space projects that offer more than physical improvements to the college buildings and grounds would certainly serve to make the College a more enjoyable place and be consistent with one of its core values, well-being for all.
Another important opportunity for the College has to do with the enhancement of its ability to respond to the Digital Revolution (or Industry 4.0). The Ministry has provided new capital and operating funds to implement the Plan d’action numérique en éducation et en enseignement supérieur (PAN). This plan will have wide-ranging impacts on teaching and learning activities and on the College’s equipment, spaces and activities.
- Complete the Feasibility Study and move forward with the creation of the Business Plan for the acquisition of a new space.
- Redesign learning spaces to promote student engagement and facilitate different types of interactive and collaborative learning.
- Continue the development of an inter-professional education (IPE) approach for programs in the health and medical sector.
- Design and implement projects for common space beautification.
- Review and plan activities, equipment and spaces that are aligned with Plan d’action numérique en éducation et en enseignement supérieur (PAN).
We will know we have achieved Goal 9 if, by 2021:
- There is an increase in the number of learning spaces that promote student engagement and facilitate different types of interactive and collaborative learning.
- The College has acquired a new space to house its medical and social service programs.
- The College has implemented an integrated plan for common space beautification.
- The College has implemented a plan for activities, equipment and spaces that are aligned with the Plan d’action numérique en éducation et en enseignement supérieur (PAN).