Dr. Patti McDougall (PhD) is the vice-provost of teaching, learning and student experience at USask. (Photo: Submitted)

Supporting student success

Dr. Patti McDougall (PhD) is passionate about the people and the programs that are the heart of the University of Saskatchewan (USask), but above all she is dedicated to supporting students and improving the student experience at USask.

As the university continues to implement its progressive new seven-year plan, USask’s vice-provost of teaching, learning and student experience wants to ensure that students are always top of mind.

“Students have a strong voice in this,” said McDougall. “Not only are they good at telling us what we should be doing and knowing about what we should be doing, but they also have a really good sense about where the priorities should be. We have a university plan, a strategic framework that we have all agreed to and that we are excited and inspired by, and from that I will be responsible and participating in creating an institution-wide plan that will speak to student experience, teaching and learning, and strategic enrolment management.”

McDougall has overseen plenty of positive initiatives instituted across campus over the past few years, and appreciates the university’s commitment to expanding student supports, increasing collaborative learning opportunities, and to community-engaged scholarship. Objectives of the new plan will be to continue to modernize institutional practices and policies and eliminate barriers, while aligning systems and structures as well as the university’s physical and virtual environments.

“I think structures can be anything from the physical spaces that we have, to the way we organize, to processes and practices,” she said. “It’s a term that we use to describe all those sorts of things. In the last 20 years, it’s amazing how many of our structures have changed. We have new buildings on campus, we have the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre, we have spaces like the Health Sciences Building.

“And we have also changed our perspective and our approach as well as the structures that we have in place, so that we can show the value that we place on diversity and inclusion. So, our culture has changed over those last two decades.”

Moving forward, McDougall wants to ensure that the priorities of the new plan continue to serve the needs of the students, faculty and staff who create a vibrant campus community.

“The goal will really be to make sure that we continue along the path to ensure that we are able to speak about that emphasis on the quality of undergraduate experience, the quality of graduate student experience, and the way that we support and empower our students,” she said. “That, I think, is a niche for the University of Saskatchewan. How we look after each other; that defines us.”

The University the World Needs

People of the plan

The University of Saskatchewan’s new seven-year plan through to 2025 is titled The University the World Needs and has been gifted the Indigenous names nīkānītān manācihitowinihk (Cree) and ni manachīhitoonaan (Michif), which translate to “Let us lead with respect.” In each issue of On Campus News in 2019, we will take a look at the 12 major goals of the new plan by profiling individuals involved in the university’s commitment to Courageous Curiosity, Boundless Collaboration and Inspired Communities. 

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