Alumni Western Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Reaching success with our plan

President's message

by Amit Chakma | May 6, 2014

Amit Chakma

Universities are places of ideas. At no time is that more evident than when discussing and developing a strategic plan to guide an institution into the future.

Western’s new strategic plan, Achieving Excellence on the World Stage, took more than a year to develop and involved hundreds of thought-provoking presentations and representations from faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners.

What emerged was a new vision for Western to become a destination of choice for the world’s brightest minds seeking the best learning experience at a leading Canadian research university.

Building on past successes, we will continue to attract the most-promising students and provide them with an exceptional education, inside and outside the classroom – creating the quintessential Western Experience for which this university is renowned.

We will enrich that experience through our recruitment of faculty members who have national and international teaching and research awards.

University is a time when young people forge life-long friendships, expanding their understanding of themselves, our country and our world. That is why we will increase our out-of-province undergraduate enrolment to represent 10 per cent of the student body and our international enrolment to represent 15 per cent.

We will enable students to challenge themselves through involvement locally, nationally and internationally in co-ops, internships and experientiallearning opportunities.

We also provide undergraduate students with more research opportunities as part of their coursework and to present their work in undergraduate journals and conferences. Already among Canada’s Top 10 research-intensive universities, we intend to double the number of academic departments, schools and faculties ranking among the world’s Top 100 universities.

We want to increase our graduate enrollment to represent 20 per cent of the student body. And, as graduate students want to learn from the best, we intend to create 100 new research chairs, filling them with the top researchers and academics.

Fulfilling our ambitious strategic plan will require additional resources. While government grants will continue to be critical, our goals depend on increased funding from other sources. That is why the success of our $750-million campaign, with an eventual goal of raising $100 million annually and building our endowment funds, is crucial to our success.

One of Western’s great advantages is a school spirit that continues long after graduation. In the many opportunities I have to meet with alumni, I am always impressed by their desire to celebrate Western’s past and play a leadership role in its future. The university has not always taken advantage of this help when it was offered. That needs to change.

Our students have so much to gain from being able to tap into the opportunities for networks, mentorship and employment opportunities that alumni can offer. Achieving Excellence on the World Stage is an ambitious plan. With a common vision and determination, Western has the students, alumni, faculty and staff that can ensure its success.

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 edition of Alumni Gazette
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