President Peter Stoicheff is working to establish a new vision, mission and values document—the first since 1993.

A vision for the future

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has not approved and adopted a new vision, mission and values document since 1993—the new president is going to change that.

By Kris Foster
There are many reasons why this is an institutional priority, said U of S President Peter Stoicheff, not least of which are the numerous changes that have happened at the university over the past 22 years.

"The university has changed and evolved a lot since then," explained Stoicheff, pointing to new graduate schools and academic programming, new scientific facilities such as the Canadian Light Source and VIDO-InterVac, and a graduate student population that has grown by almost 70 per cent.

"It's been a long time without one. Seventy-five per cent of our faculty have been hired since 1993. Three-quarters of our current faculty had no input into the last one."

Stoicheff said such a document is important "in response to the evolution in our size, scope and identity. It is time to collectively express what our mission and values now are, and a vision for our future. We require consensus on who we are and what we want to achieve."

Knowing that former president Ilene Busch-Vish­niac undertook a process to develop such a document—Vision 2025, which was adopted, then rescinded by University Council—about two years ago, Stoicheff said he "senses that there is a recognition on campus that a process, though very different from this one, was undertaken not that long ago. So this process has to be efficient and not overly lengthy."

To ensure efficiency and timeliness, Stoicheff has appointed campus members to a committee charged with the development of a first draft of this document. The committee, co-chaired by Brent Cotter (professor in law) and Liz Harrison (professor in physical therapy), will work towards having a first draft ready for University Council in late spring.

The timelines are short, Stoicheff explained, because the committee is not working with a blank slate and can look to work previously done in the form of "the document from 1993, successive integrated plans, Renewing the Dream from 2002 and Vision 2025. They are not starting from scratch and that will make the process more efficient."

The committee will also be responsible for ensuring the process is highly consultative— with input to be gathered from faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, University Council, University Senate and the Board of Governors.

While Stoicheff is not on the committee and "will not be driving the thinking behind the process, ultimately it has to be a document I feel is of the quality that befits the future of this university. My influence will amount to requesting a draft document be submitted to me for approval before going forward in draft form to various collegial bodies."

All great institutions, Stoicheff explained, are able to quickly and unanimously point out the aspects that make them so. To him, confirming the vision, mission and values of the U of S is an important step towards building that consensus.

"I need to have the confi­dence when I speak publicly about the institution that I am answering this question in a way the university would want me to answer it. The university needs to have confidence that I am describing it and its ambitions in the way it wants to be described."

Stoicheff said now is the perfect point in the university's history to have this collective discussion.

"The future for this univer­sity looks bright and positive. We are in a province where the population is growing, where the mood is one of thinking big and thinking to the future, we are seen as a leader in research among the universities in the country, and a leader in many other aspects of what a univer­sity does. We are working from a position of imagining growth and opportunity and that is a great context in which to be able to imagine and define ourselves."


Committee on vision, mission and values.

The president's committee on vision, mission and values begins its work in January. An elder is currently being identified to serve on the committee. Its other members are:

    • Co-chairs: Brent Cotter (law) and Liz Harrison (physical therapy)

    • Senior member of administration: Tom Crosson (risk management)

    • Aboriginal member of campus community: Liz Duret (human resources)

    • Student: Scott Adams (third-year medicine)

    • Member of Board of Governors: Lee Ahenakew

    • Member of Council: Wendy Roy (English)

    • Member of Senate: Karen Prisciak