St. Jerome's University Academic Plan 2015-2020

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The St. Jerome’s University Academic Plan 2015-2020 Senate Council Approved – June 18, 2015

Senate Council Approved – June 18, 2015 |


The St. Jerome’s University Academic Plan 2015-2020 The St. Jerome’s University (SJU) Academic Plan 2015-2020 is built on a shared vision of an academic community that is collaborative, collegial, inspirational, and creative. In this plan are the perspectives of students, faculty, academic support staff, alumni, and key external stakeholders who are affected by our academic activities and outcomes. Our plan is presented as a statement of how we understand ourselves in light of our 150-year history, as an affirmation of the importance of the liberal arts for society, and as a set of priorities that will guide the development of our academic activities over the next five years.

MISSION St. Jerome’s University is a public Roman Catholic university federated with the University of Waterloo and historically associated with the educational vision of the Congregation of the Resurrection. We are committed to learning and academic excellence; the gospel values of love, truth, and justice; and the formation of leaders for the service of the community and the Church. In all of our activities and practices, St. Jerome’s “We are committed to learning University functions within the context of the Roman and academic excellence; the Catholic tradition and the principles of academic freedom. gospel values of love, truth, and


justice; and the formation of leaders for the service of the community and the Church.”

Founded in 1865 by Reverend Dr. Louis Funcken of the Congregation of the Resurrection, St. Jerome’s College was originally a school that aimed to prepare young, German-speaking men for higher studies and practical professions. Within a few decades, the school was attracting a broader group of students, even though many still had the goal of preparing for religious life. By the end of the nineteenth century, St. Jerome’s College was offering courses in business as well as traditional liberal arts courses in mathematics, science, geography, languages (English, German, French, Latin, and Greek), history, religion, and philosophy. But new pressures brought on by modern societal shifts prompted St. Jerome’s to revisit its curriculum. In spite of attempts to develop St. Jerome’s College from a “classical college” to an institution affiliated with a university, the first three decades of the twentieth century were difficult, and the college struggled to attract students amidst global wars and financial crises. In the 1940s, Bishop Joseph F. Ryan had begun to advocate for the expansion of Catholic education in the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario. In particular, Bishop Ryan envisioned a Catholic liberal arts university with degree-granting powers. Through an affiliation arrangement with the University of Ottawa, St. Jerome’s became a coeducational institution in 1947 that offered arts courses leading toward a university degree. At the same time, St. Jerome’s responded to the trend toward increased religious vocations and the demand for pre-seminary training. In 1953, a contemporary academic and administration building opened in Kitchener signaling that the time was right to develop an academically rigorous university curriculum to meet the challenges of a modern world. But few women and men interested in a broader education enrolled because the college continued to foster a seminary-like

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atmosphere. Nevertheless, many closely associated with St. Jerome’s remained committed to the vision of a vibrant Catholic liberal arts university in the diocese. The academic character of St. Jerome’s College changed dramatically in 1959 when, as an independent institution, it signed a federation agreement with the recently established University of Waterloo, thereby making St. Jerome’s the founding college of the University of Waterloo. With this agreement in effect, the newly named “University of St. Jerome’s College” suspended its degree granting powers, with the exception of degrees in theology, but it retained the right to teach courses from its denominational perspective. Additionally, the agreement enabled St. Jerome’s to offer general arts courses, which at the time included mathematics, that were part of the University of Waterloo curriculum. As a result, St. Jerome’s established its arts faculty to work with the University of Waterloo and its Dean of Arts to help form the totality of the Faculty of Arts on the broader Waterloo campus. In September 1960, the first students from St. Jerome’s enrolled as undergraduates at the University of Waterloo. In 1962, St. Jerome’s moved to its current location, just “across the creek” from the University of Waterloo, and opened its doors to a class of students that, in later years, would be called “pioneers.”1 In the 1960s and 1970s, St. Jerome’s focused on becoming a contemporary Catholic university. This focus led to the hiring of faculty who were excellent teachers and strong scholars. Many of these faculty members went on to hold academic leadership positions at St. Jerome’s. In 1980s, for example, Dr. Douglas R. Letson became the first lay dean and then lay president of St. Jerome’s, a position he held from 1989 to 1999. Initially hired in 1967 as an English professor, Dr. Letson was an admired teacher, a respected scholar, and a gifted administrator. In 1998, the University of St. Jerome’s College legally changed its name to “St. Jerome’s University,” a change that clarified our status as a federated university and formally recognized us as an institution that could grant graduate degrees. Along with this shift in name came a renewed emphasis on research. Today, our faculty have national and international reputations as leading scholars in their fields. Since 2005, for example, SJU faculty have received more than $1 million in funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Since 2010, our faculty complement has published, on average, more than five books per year and authored numerous book chapters as well as articles in peer-reviewed journals. Our faculty serve as book series editors, journal editors, and consultants to government bodies around the globe. A number of our faculty have served on the boards of national and international learned societies. In 2015 alone, one SJU faculty member received a prestigious award from the Cooperative Education and Internship Association for her research on experiential learning, two faculty members received SSHRC grants, and another faculty member received a highly prized Ontario Early Researcher Award. These research successes are especially noteworthy because SJU has a historical faculty complement of only slightly more than thirty. The commencement of our academic planning process in Spring 2014 coincided with an agreement between SJU and the University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics to consolidate math teaching at Waterloo. This agreement resulted in SJU’s three full-time math faculty members and a half-time faculty member transferring to Waterloo on May 1, “Today, our faculty have national and 2014. Since 1960, St. Jerome’s has international reputations as leading scholars in characterized itself as a liberal arts institution their fields.” that included mathematics, even though the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Arts at Waterloo formally separated in 1967. In practice, SJU had offered no arts courses in mathematics for almost four decades. Even though SJU lost four highly committed colleagues, the consolidation of

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math at Waterloo has provided an opportunity for SJU to revisit our core liberal arts curriculum while at the same time looking for potential growth areas rooted in the liberal arts. As we begin to look to the future, we are reminded that St. Jerome’s has always been attentive to student interest in the development of our interdisciplinary programs. In 1972, for example, St. Jerome’s launched the Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies program to study the profound changes resulting from the sexual revolution of the 1960s. This popular program continues to be a home for students wanting to examine the complex issues shaping our perspectives on human sexuality and familial relationships. In 2001, with increased student interest in our legal studies and criminology courses, SJU spearheaded the formation of the highly regarded Legal Studies program, which is jointly delivered through SJU and the University of Waterloo. In 2005, we launched the Master of Catholic Thought (MCT) graduate studies program in response to requests that we offer academic theology courses for leaders holding positions in Catholic institutions, including those in education, health care, and social services. SJU is also preparing for the future with the development of our infrastructure. In Spring 2014, we broke ground on the SJU Campus Renewal 2015 Plan, a $47 million project that will provide much needed new and renovated classroom, residential, and library space. Opening in 2016-2017, the new 28,000 squarefoot academic building includes a 300-seat lecture hall, one classroom that seats 125, one classroom that seats 95, another that seats 75, and two smaller classrooms that seat 60 each. Also in 2016-2017, faculty will move to Sweeney Hall where there will be 23,000 square feet of renovated office, research, and meeting spaces. Renovations to existing classrooms and the library are expected to be completed by the 2017-2018 academic year. With this academic plan and its implementation, we look forward to writing another chapter in our ongoing story.

OUR STUDENTS AND GRADUATES At St. Jerome’s University, our students come first. We see our students as active learners and engaged citizens who have come to St. Jerome’s because we are the best choice for them as they strive to attain their educational and job-related goals. St. Jerome’s University currently registers 650 full- and part-time undergraduate students and 15 part-time graduate students in the Master of Catholic Thought program. Because of the federated arrangement, undergraduate “St. Jerome’s students registered at St. Jerome’s are co-registered in the Faculty of Arts University currently at the University of Waterloo and SJU students receive a University of registers 650 fullWaterloo degree upon graduation. Fifty percent of our students come and part-time from within a 50-kilometre radius of SJU. Roughly 20 percent of SJU undergraduate students are from the Greater Toronto Area. Almost half of our students students and 15 partattended a Catholic high school. Among our recent graduates are time graduate entrepreneurs, lawyers, social workers, teachers, chaplains, and leaders of students in the non-governmental organizations. Students who choose St. Jerome’s cite our smaller class sizes, personalized academic support, leadership development opportunities, international service learning programs, and social engagement activities as primary

Master of Catholic Thought program.”

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reasons for attending SJU. Our faculty get to know their students. We are proud that our students see St. Jerome’s as a supportive community that encourages them to test new ideas and occasionally fail, to expand their knowledge and experiences of other cultures, to take on new and challenging social responsibilities, and to develop as society’s future leaders. At St. Jerome’s University, students can expect a traditional university experience that combines rigorous academic programming with strong residential, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programming.2 As John Henry Cardinal Newman pointed out in his classic book The Idea of the University (1852), university life must be more than just the accumulation of specialized knowledge since that can lead to narrow-mindedness; instead, university life must consist of broad educational experiences that foster social, spiritual, and intellectual development. At SJU, our aim is to inspire our students to become enthusiastic, discerning learners who are developing a lifelong commitment to seeking, integrating, and disseminating knowledge that promotes the common good. St. Jerome’s University students graduate with more than just a University of Waterloo diploma. They leave with a knowledge base and a skillset that enables them to think critically, communicate well, and respond creatively to life’s opportunities and challenges. Our graduates have an awareness of themselves and their surroundings. They know that they are persons with human dignity and agency— they are never merely employees, consumers, or taxpayers. They understand that, as individuals, they exist within an integrated human community. They also understand that we live together on a planet with finite resources and that we have a responsibility to be stewards of creation. We expect our graduates to be difference-makers in the workplace, in our communities, and around the globe.

OUR CATHOLIC HERITAGE At the heart of Catholic higher education is the liberal arts. The liberal arts tradition invites us to read thoughtful authors, be open to all questions, think through the big issues of life and ask what life is ultimately all about, reflect on the cumulative wisdom of other people’s experience over the centuries, and figure out how the various aspects of life fit together. Catholic universities like St. Jerome’s regard the liberal arts as central to higher education because they broaden our horizons, challenge us to confront our differences, and prepare us to make sound judgments.

“At St. Jerome’s University, students

Catholic universities are an essential element in can expect a traditional university carrying out the Catholic intellectual tradition, a experience…” 2000-year-old conversation between the Church and the world. The tradition itself is broader and older than the university but Catholic universities have been stewards of the tradition—preserving it, transmitting it, and developing it—by engaging with the questions of our own time and place. Along with having a treasury of texts that are explored and maintained, the Catholic intellectual tradition is a way of approaching knowledge that emerges from centuries of experience, action, and critical reflection. It is a tradition that nurtures the human desire to acquire wisdom, to live well, and to build good societies. Catholic higher education opens up our students’ imaginations, their ability to pay thoughtful attention to what is going on in the world around them, interpret it critically, and imagine what might be. Catholic educators aspire to foster future leaders who will be engaged in society to fashion new social, economic, and political structures rooted in the prophetic call for justice.

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The former President of the Association for Catholic Universities and Colleges, Monika Hellwig, speaks of our social responsibility this way: “[A] Catholic university is very concerned about our shared responsibility for those who are left out in the common affairs of the society. The university hopes to inspire you to live your life, to practice your profession, to act as a citizen in such ways that you never forget the people who are left out, that you never forget the people least privileged and most needy.”3 SJU does this by being committed to the social teachings of the Catholic Church, which include the dignity of human persons, a preferential option for the poor, solidarity with the marginalized, the care of creation, the dignity of work, the right and responsibility to participate in society, and the pursuit of the common good. Our academic programming not only cultivates the life of the mind and the heart, it encourages students to act as agents of profound social transformation.

OUR ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING St. Jerome’s University delivers a high-quality liberal arts education both through traditional disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities as well as innovative interdisciplinary programs. As a Catholic liberal arts university, we focus on the big questions: the questions of goodness, justice, truth, beauty, and transcendence. We dwell on the questions of ethics, responsibility, and the “We dwell on common good. Our academic programming invites students into the discovery the questions of of their own humanity and their inter-connectedness. Our courses encourage our students to recognize the relationship between thinking and action, ethics, knowledge and wisdom, service and leadership, as well as justice and social responsibility, transformation. and the

common good.”

We have 33 full-time faculty, approximately 20 part-time faculty teaching per academic term, and 11 administrative staff members directly supporting academic activities and operations. SJU has a long-standing commitment to teaching excellence: since 1980, 13 SJU faculty members have received Distinguished Teaching Awards at the University of Waterloo. We have eight departments: English; History; Italian and French Studies; Philosophy; Psychology; Religious Studies; Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies (SMF); and Sociology and Legal Studies. In addition to these departments, we have three interdisciplinary programs: Catholic Studies, Human Sciences, and Medieval Studies. The Master of Catholic Thought program is currently our sole graduate program and it predominately attracts students who already have careers in education, health care, and social services. SJU’s academic programming reaches beyond the classroom. For instance, SJU offers an international service learning program, Beyond Borders, for which students receive three academic course credits. Beyond Borders students spend two terms on campus preparing for a 90-day service term abroad. This program is intended to be the capstone experience for students who have participated in SJU’s shortstay international service learning programs: Go Guatemala and SJU in Peru. Students in Italian and French Studies can enhance their language skills through the SJU exchange program to Italy or through the University of Waterloo exchange program to France or Quebec. Moreover, a number of our courses require students to work with local community development and social service organizations as part of our traditional commitment to provide experiential learning opportunities to our students. The federated relationship between St. Jerome’s University and the University of Waterloo means that every SJU academic program in the social sciences and the humanities is also a UWaterloo program.

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Consequently, we strive to complement UWaterloo’s many strengths and yet differentiate ourselves in meaningful and valuable ways. A number our students were originally drawn here by UWaterloo’s reputation. According to Maclean’s annual rankings of Canadian universities for 2015, UWaterloo has the best overall reputation in the nation for the 19th time in the past 24 years. Moreover, the University of Waterloo has ranked as the top university in the nation for innovation for 23 years in a row. Students who attend the University of Waterloo—and St. Jerome’s University—expect their university to strive toward teaching and research excellence and to be nimble enough to respond innovatively to new ideas, opportunities, and challenges. Because our academic programming is rooted in the liberal arts, St. Jerome’s University maintains a close relationship with the University of Waterloo Faculty of Arts. We also have collaborative relationships with other faculties at UWaterloo. For instance, we have a number of courses cross-listed with the University of Waterloo Faculty of Environment and we have a variety of research projects, faculty appointments, and program delivery agreements that link us to the Faculties of Applied Health Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, and Science. These are important relationships for us, and we will continue to explore further opportunities with our UWaterloo partners. Our partnership with the Faculty of Arts means that students move seamlessly between SJU and UWaterloo. As a result, while SJU registers 650 students, we are actually responsible for 8.72% of Arts teaching activity at the University of Waterloo, which equates to approximately 9,500 students enrolling in our courses each year. Crucial to our ability to enact this academic plan is finding areas where we can provide value to the Faculty of Arts, particularly in light of their recently adopted Strategic Plan, 20142019. In their plan, Arts highlighted six priorities: enriching the undergraduate student experience, recruiting and retaining strong graduate students, enabling research opportunity and impact, optimizing space, increasing outreach and visibility, and revitalizing collegial academic governance. The SJU Academic Plan is intended both to complement the Faculty of Arts’ strategic plan and to enhance it in unique ways through SJU’s interdisciplinary programming, “Our partnership with the faculty research expertise, highly individualized academic Faculty of Arts means that support services, rich experiential learning opportunities, and students move seamlessly commitment to promote a vibrant liberal arts tradition on the between SJU and UWaterloo.” campus of Canada’s most innovative university.

OUR RESPONSE TO TRENDS IN CANADIAN POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION Universities steeped in the liberal arts tradition are currently in the process of responding to two trends in Canadian post-secondary education (PSE) that pose profound challenges to our success in attracting students and delivering our academic programs. The first trend, which is affecting virtually every university and college in Canada, is that the traditional pool of students is shrinking. For instance, the 18 to 21 year-old cohort is projected to shrink by 8% in Ontario over the next decade. By 2026, this cohort will begin to increase; however, it will remain 4% below current levels. In essence, the “baby boom echo” peaked in 2011 and, as a result, we are now facing a decade of population declines among typical university-aged students. For universities, this means increased competition for domestic students and a potential loss of revenue as enrolments decrease.

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St. Jerome’s University is in a unique situation because our revenue is not based on the students we register; rather, our revenue is dependent upon the total number of students we teach. Our investment in student recruiting and registering students is, therefore, indicative of an institutional commitment to attract students who want the type of small, liberal arts university experience we identify in this plan. At St. Jerome’s, we see our ability to provide this experience to be of value to the Faculty of Arts as it seeks to attract diverse groups of students in an increasingly competitive market. The second trend in Canadian PSE is that today’s incoming students are increasingly choosing disciplines other than the liberal arts, most notably science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is important to understand that current students are not looking at a liberal arts education in the same way as they did a generation or two ago. While it is true that Western society has generally viewed university education as a vehicle for social mobility, recent data appear to indicate that a liberal arts education today is less likely to support social mobility than professional or career-oriented education. Consequently, many students are looking toward the completion of professional and career-oriented programs instead of liberal arts programs. This may be especially true of first-generation university students since one crucial factor that does facilitate upward social “…Majoring in a liberal mobility for liberal arts students is a pre-existing social network that 4 includes parents who have completed post-secondary education. arts field can and does

lead to successful and There is little doubt that, in the first few years after graduation, there are remunerative careers financial pressures on arts graduates. However, as Dr. Ross Finnie, in a wide array of Director of the Education Policy Research Initiative at the University of professions.” 6 Ottawa, found in a study examining salaries of Canadian university graduates from various disciplines over a twelve-year span (1998-2011), arts graduates actually compare very favourably to those in other disciplines, including those in technology and health-related fields.5 Other studies, including one by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), have also found that liberal arts graduates do achieve a high level of financial and career success. “Recent attacks on the liberal arts by ill-informed commentators and policy makers have painted a misleading picture of the value of the liberal arts to individuals and our communities,” said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. “As the findings in this report demonstrate, majoring in a liberal arts field can and does lead to successful and remunerative careers in a wide array of professions.”6 In other words, there is economic earning power in a liberal arts education. In spite of the recent focus on specialized technical and professional fields, employers continue to seek out liberal arts graduates. In a recent interview with the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Google’s head of hiring, Laszlo Bock, stated that today’s companies, and Google in particular, need employees with broad educational backgrounds. He said, “You need some people who are holistic thinkers and have liberal arts backgrounds and some who are deep functional experts. Building that balance is hard, but that’s where you end up building great societies, great organizations.” Additionally, Bock cited the need for a new kind of leader. Traditional leadership asks, “Were you president of the chess club? Were you vice president of sales? How quickly did you get there? [At Google,] we don’t care. What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power.”7

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At St. Jerome’s, we view the current situation in Canadian post-secondary education as an opportunity to take a leading role in a nascent Liberal Arts Renaissance. As a leader in this Renaissance, we will support initiatives that promote the reaffirmation of the liberal arts as an integral part of flourishing societies. We must also recognize the demands placed on students and their families and, in turn, help equip students with knowledge and diverse skills that can be transferred to a variety of positions on the job market. We are not preparing students for any specific job today, since many of those jobs will be obsolete in just a few years; instead, we are preparing students for emerging job opportunities and careers that will require critical and creative thinking, strong communication skills, and an ability to lead effectively. We take pride in our abilities to provide students with meaningful, hands-on opportunities that develop these skills. We are able to offer these opportunities because we are committed to connecting our rich liberal arts tradition in innovative ways to practical application through communitybased learning, international experiential learning, and leadership development initiatives. At St. Jerome’s, this commitment to connecting the liberal arts with social action stems from our Catholic intellectual and social traditions and is rooted in our mission: to pursue and promote learning and academic excellence; the gospel values of love, truth, and justice; and the formation of leaders for the service of the community and the Church.

OUR ACADEMIC PRIORITIES AND COMMITMENTS The following priorities and their respective commitments are intended to guide the development of our academic activities over the next five years. These priorities correspond to five strategic areas: (1) SJU’s academic programming, (2) the SJU student experience, (3) SJU’s transformational research and creative activity, (4) SJU’s externals partnerships, and (5) SJU’s academic governance. These priorities and commitments will provide the basis for implementation plans and benchmarks that will help us keep the plan “alive.”


To distinguish St. Jerome’s University as a leading liberal arts university that promotes critical thinking, fosters social engagement, and inspires reflection and action in the pursuit of a more just and peaceable world

Commitments       

Explore opportunities for the creation of an SJU first-year seminar and capstone course Offer courses with enrolment caps that, to the greatest extent possible, promote personalized interaction between instructors and learners Enhance SJU’s course-based experiential learning opportunities that foster leadership development, community engagement, and solidarity with local, national, and international social justice organizations and movements Build on SJU’s interdisciplinary strengths through program renewal and development Support the creation of courses that use a variety of delivery modes, including online and blended e-learning, to help meet curricular objectives Create spaces that accommodate diverse course deliveries, teaching styles, and learning styles Build on SJU’s tradition of excellence in teaching with the establishment of teaching fellows designed to enhance the quality and profile of teaching at SJ

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To distinguish St. Jerome’s University as a “go-to” place on the University of Waterloo campus for students seeking a vibrant academic community, highly personalized academic support services, and formative co-curricular opportunities

Commitments     

Raise SJU’s profile among high school students within a 150 kilometre radius of SJU Establish and implement recruiting measures that foster diversity and reward leadership, service, and academic achievement Enhance the academic support services offered by the Office of Student Success Redesign the library and enhance library services Establish and promote links among SJU’s academic activities, residential programming, and cocurricular initiatives


To distinguish St. Jerome’s University as an academic community engaged in transformational research and creative activity

Commitments     

Increase public recognition of innovative scholarly and creative activity Promote local, national, and international research that is community-situated, collaborative, and action-oriented Enhance opportunities for undergraduates to participate in faculty-directed, peer reviewed research projects Create and enhance opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to work with SJU faculty Explore opportunities to establish research networks, centres, or institutes


To strengthen and establish mutually beneficial relationships with local, national, and international partners

Commitments     

Develop partnerships with civic, not-for-profit, religious, and community organizations that enhance teaching, learning, and research Enhance relationships with Catholic education partners Enhance SJU’s profile in Waterloo Region as a hub for continuing education and dynamic public lectures Establish mechanisms that will enable SJU to be a source of continued support and academic opportunities for SJU alumni Explore new opportunities to work with and serve marginalized and under-represented communities

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To ensure that academic governance at St. Jerome’s University is collegial and sustainable

Commitments     

Review membership structure of Senate Council and its standing committees Review current resourcing support of Senate Council and its standing committees Review the current administrative and organizational structures of departments and interdisciplinary programs Establish meeting protocols for all academic governance bodies Provide professional development opportunities for academic staff to enhance their knowledge and skills as academic leaders

THE ACADEMIC PLANNING PROCESS The academic planning process formally began in March 2014 with St. Jerome’s University Senate Council approving the terms of reference for an ad hoc committee on academic planning tasked with gathering data; consulting with academic staff, students, and key external stakeholder groups (e.g., academic leadership in the University of Waterloo Faculty of Arts, area high school guidance counselors); and drafting a plan for presentation to Academic Committee and Senate Council. The following were members of the academic planning committee:         

Dr. Veronica Austen, Assistant Professor, Department of English Sue Brubacher, St. Jerome’s University Registrar Dr. Scott Kline, Vice President Academic and Dean (Interim), Chair Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer, Professor, Department of History Heather Lagonia, Administrative Assistant to the Committee Dr. Gabriel Niccoli, Professor, Department of Italian and French Studies Dr. B.J. Rye, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology; Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Families Studies Jenna Stoddart, St. Jerome’s University Student Dr. Cristina Vanin, Associate Dean; Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Throughout the entire drafting process, the academic planning committee kept SJU’s mission and the principle of collegiality at the forefront of its work. The result is an academic plan both developed and approved by the St. Jerome’s University academic community. To elicit feedback from academic staff broadly, the academic planning committee hosted three town hall meetings and a symposium. The first meeting, held on September 25, 2014, was facilitated by Trevor Holmes of the University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence, and asked academic staff to consider what SJU does well, what we could do better, and what we would want our students to say about SJU in ten years.

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The second meeting, held December 3, 2014, focused on the topic “The Current State of the Liberal Arts and SJU as a Liberal Arts University” and was led by a panel of respondents: Dr. Kieran Bonner (Chair, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies; Director, Human Sciences), Dr. Norm Klassen (Department of English), and Dr. Toni Serafini (Chair, Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies). A third town hall, held on March 5, 2015, provided an opportunity for academic staff to respond to a draft of the academic plan’s priorities and commitments. On April 7, 2015, the academic planning committee hosted a symposium on the topic “SJU as a Catholic Liberal Arts University.” Dr. Steven Bednarski (Department of History; Director, Medieval Studies) and Dr. Myroslaw Tataryn (Department of Religious Studies) provided formal responses to facilitate a larger community discussion. Also, the committee received feedback from various other key stakeholders. Internally, the committee met with the Manager of Recruitment and Admissions, the Manager of the Office of Student Success, and the Manager of the Office of Student Experience. In March 2015, the Chair of the committee led an SJU student focus group. Externally, the committee met with the University of Waterloo Dean of Arts; the Associate Dean, Undergraduate, Arts; and the Association Dean, Co-op, Administration and Planning, Arts. In January 2015, the committee held a focus group with area high school guidance counselors. During the Winter 2015 academic term, the Chair of the committee received feedback from the SJU alumni advisory group and the administrative leadership of the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo (AFIW). With Senate Council approval of the SJU Academic Plan (Phase 1) in June 2015, SJU will begin the implementation phase (Phase 2) of academic planning. This second phase, led by the Vice President Academic and Dean (VPAD), entails the formation of priority-specific implementation plans and key benchmarks to track our success. As academic planning is a collegial and collaborative process, the VPAD will ensure that all elements of these implementation plans are brought to Senate Council for consultation and, as appropriate, approval. Additionally, the VPAD will provide periodic progress reports to Senate Council throughout the academic planning cycle. In the 2017-2018 academic year, the VPAD will conduct a three-year review of our academic plan (Phase 3) and report to Senate Council in Winter 2018. During the final year of this academic planning cycle, 2019-2020, the VPAD will initiate a review of SJU’s academic priorities in preparation for a new academic planning cycle (Phase 4).

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2015-2020 Academic Planning Cycle

Phase 4:

Phase 1:

Preparation for New Cycle of Academic Planning

Approval of Academic Plan (Spring 2015)

(Fall 2019)

Phase 2: Phase 3: Three-year Review

Implentation of Academic Plan (beginning Spring 2015)

(Winter 2018)


Kenneth McLaughlin, Gerald Stortz, and James Wahl, Enthusiasm for the Truth: An Illustrated History of St. Jerome’s University (Waterloo, Ontario: St. Jerome’s University, 2002), 185. 2 The term “co-curricular” refers to activities, programs, and learning experiences that complement the curriculum. At SJU, co-curricular programs include international service learning programs, student leadership programs, and the Peer Academic Leader (PAL) program. “Extra-curricular” refers to activities that are not typically connected to the curriculum, such as intermural sports, student government, and non-academic student clubs. 3 Monika Hellwig, “The Heart of Catholic Higher Education: The Liberal Arts,” Sacred Heart University Review 18:1 (1998): art. 5 (accessed May 4, 2015). 4 See Melvyn L. Fein, “The ‘Professionalized’ Solution to the ‘College Bubble,’” Society, 51 (2014): 200-209; and Paul Glastris, et al., “Introduction: A Different Kind of College Ranking,” Washington Monthly, 43:9-10 (2011), 1720. 5 Ross Finnie, et al., How Much Do University Graduates Earn, Education Policy Research Initiative: University of Ottawa, (November 21, 2014) (accessed May 4, 2015). 6 Association for American Colleges and Universities, “New Report Documents that Liberal Arts Disciplines Prepare Graduates for Long-Term Professional Success,” (January 22, 2014): (accessed May 4, 2015). 7 Laszlo Bock, as quoted in Thomas L. Friedman, “How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2,” New York Times, April 20, 2014: SR1 (accessed May 4, 2015).