Maryse Lassonde - President (2015-2017)
The spring academic semester is often characterized by conferences and travel for many members of our community, offering the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, to take a deeper dive into disciplinary trends, and to take stock of our ambitions for the year ahead. In this sense, “spring came early” to the RSC, as our strategic planning process actually began late in 2016, and our engagement plan continues until our annual gathering this fall in Winnipeg. May I take a moment to familiarize you with our engagement process?
In the fall of 2016, the Council took stock of our existing strategic plan, which covers the period 2012-2017. The RSC is fortunate to have had an excellent roadmap in its strategic plan, and it delivered transformative results, including the establishment of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. In order to cast our aspirations for the next strategic plan, which will come into effect in January of 2018, we identified a member of the Council identified to champion the strategic planning process over the course of 2017.
Chris Loreto has been a member of Council since 2014, and it was Chris who “held the pen” on our current strategic plan as the lead member of our drafting team in 2011. Chris generously agreed to lead the drafting team for a second time, and we are most grateful to him. Working with the Council, Chris developed a work plan toward the drafting of our forthcoming strategy, and its opening iteration was in Kingston last November when we held a wide-ranging discussion with leaders of our Institutional Member community.
Since then, our conversations have literally travelled coast to coast, from Victoria to Halifax. In these gatherings, generously hosted by our Institutional Members, we have focused on three key questions that aim to embrace our history as we scope our future. For example, the RSC is and has always been fundamentally devoted to excellence. Are measures of scholarly, scientific and artistic excellence changing? We posed this question to Fellows, Members of the College and Institutional Members throughout the winter and spring.
A second example of the ways in which our commitment to excellence is adapting in the 21st Century is the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Soon to number 300, the College embodies the achievement and promise of the emerging intellectual leadership in Canada. Superbly led by Alidad Amirfazli and, now, by Cynthia Milton, the College presents the RSC with a multigenerational capacity. How can we leverage this capacity?
The third question we are posing the community is with respect to the landscape of institutions engaged in widespread debates regarding science and innovation policies and structures. What is the proper institutional role for the RSC in this context? How might we ambitiously chart a course toward engagement with our key partners?
Over a thousand Fellows and Members of the College have been invited to these conversations so far in 2017, and we will be visiting an additional ten campuses in the early fall. To see when we are visiting a campus near you, please click here. We earnestly hope that each and every member of our community will participate, whether in person or virtually, in the conceptualization of our future. The next strategic plan will be presented to the Membership for review and approval during the meeting of members in November. I know that both Chris and Darren Gilmour would be delighted to hear from you individually with reflections and suggestions.
It is clear that the RSC’s future is very bright indeed, thanks to the wonderful outpouring of support and interest we have received in scoping our collective future. Thanks to each of you for this commitment.
May you enjoy your spring and summer, and may your fall term abound with promise.