Our journey

From the beginning we set out to develop a plan that leverages our Faculty’s unique strengths and diversity of disciplines; embeds an external focus on the social, economic, and environmental demands of society; builds our community around a common vision; and elevates us to enable greater contribution to society.

We expanded beyond a traditional planning process. We drew on the leadership of individuals across the UBC Applied Science community. They helped us design and undertake a comprehensive engagement process aimed at identifying not only who we are but who we need to be, and uniting our community around a common vision of what we want to achieve and how we can realize our vision.

“We need to help people respond to what is happening in the world around us.”

Student, School of Nursing

This unique outward-focused process included five distinct phases:

Phase 1 – Process development

Senior members of the dean’s external advisory committee worked with a small group of staff and faculty to develop the processes for engagement, analysis, implementation and communication. This Process Development Working Group also conducted a comprehensive environmental scan of socioeconomic data, peer institutional strategies, and student outcomes and ambitions.

Phase 2 – Community engagement

We invited participants from across the Faculty to come together to imagine the future using a scenario planning process. The workshops were facilitated by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee — designed to reflect the diversity of our disciplines and roles. Members included graduate and undergraduate students, senior and pre-tenured faculty, department heads and school directors, and senior administrative staff from within the 11 units of our Faculty across both campuses.

Using scenario planning ensured an outward and future-focused perspective while maximizing the creativity and imagination of participants.

This community engagement helped us:

  • Understand the external drivers of change which will affect our Faculty.
  • Develop visions of potential futures of society and consider the role of the university in those worlds.
  • Explore potential strategies which would enable the Faculty and university to be successful in the uncertain future.

20 engagement sessions
264 participants | 50 facilitated discussion hours | 660 participant discussion hours
24 key drivers
selected from 1000+ drivers (political, economic, social, technological, legal & environmental)
4 potential worlds
refined from 71 imagined worlds

Drivers of change

We identified the drivers of change that we must respond to over the next decade. These drivers are categorized by their degree of certainty.

Trends: medium-high impact, high certainty — require immediate action

Uncertainties: high impact, low certainty — potential to dramatically affect our core operations, require immediate

The identified trend and uncertainty drivers were simplified and prioritized by the steering committee who used them to develop the six priority areas

Phase 3 – Key elements

The Strategic Planning Steering Committee synthesized the data and concepts identified through the engagement sessions to develop the key components within the strategic plan, and tested those components with feedback from a Leadership Review Team, made up of the dean, associate deans, department heads and school directors and the dean’s office directors. The steering committee and Leadership Review Team worked together in a series of workshops to define the Faculty’s vision, mission, values, commitments and priority areas.

6 priorities
identified from 24 key drivers
5 commitments
actions that align with our values

Phase 4 – Strategies

Priority Area Leads (associate deans and dean’s office staff leads) developed strategies within each priority area, and conducted a series of community consultations for each. Strategies were developed by asking what actions – identified by our commitments – do we take in each priority area to make an impact and realize success.

17 strategies for success
distilled from 700+ strategic concepts considered

Phase 5 – Future-proof

The dean and staff leads formed an Analysis Team that strength-tested the strategic plan against uncertain futures. They looked to the most uncertain and most impactful drivers identified through the 20 engagement sessions to inform the development of four potential futures. Each future tests the strategies in our plan and identifies gaps or other mitigating actions to ensure a resilient, adaptable strategic plan.

4 potential worlds
for the future refined from 71 distinct worlds imagined

“There will always be challenges to tackle even in a seemingly perfect world. The Faculty of Applied Science is aligned with the challenges of society and will have a role in all of the potential futures.”

Student, School of Engineering, Okanagan

Future-proofing the plan