Words from the Former Provost and Vice President Academic

Dr. Salvador FerrerasI am excited to launch our Academic Plan 2023. Since the launch of our present academic plan, four years ago, we have worked hard to craft our unique identity as a polytechnic university. We have transformed our governance and policy framework to ensure student success and a collegial and collaborative working environment. We have connected with our neighbours and sought the advice and wisdom of our peers, our regional partners and our alumni. We have matured as a university and take great care to ground decisions in evidence aligned with strategic goals. We set ambitious goals carefully and will consistently measure their effectiveness, their targets and the impact we wish to make on our community.

As an institution of higher learning, KPU is compelled to leverage our program base and intellectual capital to address the major issues of our day. In a world where the rate of change demands we continually review, renew and improve our programs we embrace innovation and the digital transformation of our society. We will innovate by promoting a curriculum that is adaptive and responsive. We will support innovation through enriched delivery modes and increase flexible, online and hybrid learning environments. We propose multi-dimensional approaches and policy shifts while ensuring we maintain our focus on innovation as a tool for the betterment of life itself.

The world is more dynamic, more intricately connected, more interdependent and more adaptable to change than ever before. While our distances shrink, our access expands. The more we explore our possibilities, the more we find our innovators creating new ways to connect, new ways to enjoy life, new ways to make the inaccessible accessible and new ways to make sure we all get a chance to participate in a more prosperous environment.

At KPU we take the philosophy of access to heart. We boldly propose to become an exemplar of an inclusive institution where learners can find a welcoming, inspiring place within which to unleash their potential and carve out their special place in our collective environment. For us, accessibility really means everyone, learners of all types. As we find new ways to address the needs of domestic and international students, indigenous students, students with disabilities, and adult learners we do so recognizing the multiple obstacles we must attenuate and the social exclusion we must mitigate. Accessibility embraces inclusion at KPU but furthermore extends its reach to incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles that set a level playing field for all to aspire, attain and seize their chosen path. Our vision of inclusion also encompasses a demographic, social, gender, economic, and ability arena. We redefine our mandated regional focus to reflect the global reach of our educational delivery and the diversity of our campus life. We cultivate flexibility in programs, up-to-date policies and systems to increase choice and to serve a wide variety of learners in a wider number of ways. In a world where variability is the real norm, we strive to reflect the central and the marginal and to reach the many through focused and progressive practices.

Our overarching goal is student success. We embed student support, through the guidance of expert librarians, learning centres, faculty, and lab assistants throughout the many touch points in a learner’s experience at KPU. As a special purpose teaching university, we foreground teaching excellence in its myriad forms. We propose a renewed emphasis on research and on how it relates to outreach, trades, undergraduate and graduate studies. We are pioneers of open education resources (OERu) and are national leaders in both open education research and the production and promotion of open textbooks. We promote and support the emerging development of our e-portfolio methods. We continue to work hard to address the rapidly changing demographic of our students cultivating new approaches to adult learners and to learners whose complex lives have required they come in and out of their educational journey. As a regional trades training hub, we recognize and are ready to promote ways for trades training to evolve to meet new and changing market demands. As a relatively new teaching university carefully navigating its institutional and governance maturity, we now feel ready to fulfill our mandated role as defined in the University Act, that is, to offer graduate studies. In essence and in line with our central goal, we aspire to serve the widest group of students in the most effective, meaningful way.

We recognize that the pace of contemporary life, continual change and the complexities of our jobs, families and obligations can directly affect our ability to cope while carrying out our teaching and learning commitments. Acknowledging that we can play a positive role in helping to relieve those pressures, KPU commits to supporting a healthy university initiative focused on student success through learner and employee mental health and safety.

At KPU we are a vibrant knowledge-driven community bent on leveraging our knowledge and experience to positively affect our lives, the lives of our families and that of our greater communities. At our university we uphold Canadian societal values that instill respect for individuals not because of title, land or privilege but because they are people. We undertake our noble mission acknowledging that we do so on the un-ceded territories of the Coast Salish people who have generously welcomed us and supported our educational calling.

The Academic Plan 2023 will keep us focused on our quest to launch a generation of expert and resourceful learners whose knowledge is purposeful and directed to social and economic well-being. We will do this with an eye to creating doers and thinkers whose aspirations transcend regional boundaries and whose intercultural capacity will allow them to operate in a global arena.

This plan, assembled through extensive consultation with an engaged KPU community, reflects a collective vision for academic development over the next five years. It represents the voices of hundreds of passionate educators dedicated to student success and the transmission of knowledge for a collective good. It is my hope that all Faculties, departments and units within the university use this plan as a springboard to initiate deep and essential discussions about how best to deploy their intellectual and pragmatic strengths to the service of learning. The plan sets the high-level vision and invites the Faculties, departments and support units to develop corresponding and aligned goals and strategies that support the overall vision and mandate of our educational enterprise. The plan will serve not only as a compass for the realization of individual department and unit plans but also as a different lens to view how our educational community sees itself reflected and projected in this pursuit of learning excellence.

Dr. Salvador Ferreras
Former Provost and Vice President Academic