June 26, 2020

UCalgary plans ‘Growth Through Focus,’ deeper connections with community

President McCauley outlines future vision for UCalgary, at campus community town hall

University of Calgary President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley on June 24 presented a proposal, Growth Through Focus, that would see UCalgary refocus investments into areas of strength; dramatically expand the offering of micro-credentials and graduate education geared toward professionals; strengthen ties to industry and purpose-based organizations; align operations; and overhaul employment incentives with an eye to creating Canada’s most entrepreneurial university.

“Great cities are built around great research universities, and cities that successfully reinvent themselves do so in partnerships with focused, world-class institutions,” he said. “The fate of Calgary and UCalgary are inextricably tied. Our community has supported us, and now is the time to show returns on those investments for the benefit of our community.” 

Our ambition is nothing short of UCalgary being a catalyst of economic growth and quality-of-life improvements in this city.

The proposal is the culmination of 16 months of consultation on how the university can evolve to support Alberta’s economic recovery. It provides a way for UCalgary to adapt to budget reductions while continuing to improve its reputation and value to the community.

A cornerstone of the proposal is deeper integration with Calgary businesses, public sector organizations, and non-profits, and a stronger focus on commercialization, knowledge mobilization, and deploying innovations — driven by new knowledge discovery and creativity. Community partnerships would help shape research, teaching and learning priorities. Acting in a more entrepreneurial, community-outcome focused fashion would be incentivized through changes to the way we compensate and reward performance and contributions.

The four pillars of the Growth Through Focus proposal are:

  1. Reputation built around areas of excellence, entrepreneurial thinking, innovation, advanced technology, and strong connections to industry and community.
  2. Destination for top scholars who want to work in an entrepreneurial and transdisciplinary environment.
  3. Destination of choice for students around the world with expanded enrolment (from 33,000 to 37,000 students). Recognized as a national leader in student experience and professional upskilling and reskilling with nearly double the number of graduate students (from 6,300 to 10,000 students).
  4. Future-proofed financial position by increasing total revenue to $2 billion through the growth of sustainable alternative revenue sources.

“We are creating, in the heart of Canada’s most enterprising city, Canada’s most entrepreneurial university. This is a place where leaders are created. This is a place where hard work is rewarded and where innovation turns into results,” said Geeta Sankappanavar, UCalgary board chair. 

University leadership is now seeking community feedback on this proposal, with the intention of refining it throughout the summer and bringing it through the university’s governance processes in the fall.