ASAP 2012 Summary Report

ASAP 2012-2017: Achieving Strategic Academic Priorities described four priorities, six cross-cutting themes and 10 strategic objectives for McGill University. Each strategic objective included a series of concrete actions to be taken by academic or administrative units (or both) to be implemented in a manner consistent with the strategic priorities and cross-cutting themes. Broadly speaking, ASAP called for the University to implement initiatives in a manner that would achieve its goals of advancing McGill as a research-intensive, student-centred, well-administered institution, all done in ways that would promote interdisciplinary collaboration and sustainability, offer quality service to students, faculty and staff, embrace diversity, and renew its infrastructure.

The following sections describe actions taken across the University, by both academic and administrative units, that are consistent with the ASAP strategic priorities, themes and objectives. They are organized around the 10 strategic objectives, with implicit and explicit reference to the cross-cutting themes and strategic priorities.

OBJECTIVE 1: ACHIEVE NEW DIRECTIONS IN FACULTY HIRING, RETENTION AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND LEADERSHIP

ASAP 2012 was developed partway through a period of academic renewal at McGill, during which the University increased the number of tenured and tenure-track professional appointments. Strategic objectives regarding academic renewal included the recruitment of professors in priority areas, the enabling of cluster hiring, the establishment of practices to reinforce interdisciplinary teaching and research, and the provision of mentorship and career development opportunities for academic staff.

Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, McGill has hired a total of 282 tenured or tenure-track academic staff (125 women and 157 men) with a net increase of 268 faculty members.

Net Increase in Tenure-Stream Academic Staff, May 2012 to April 2016

Faculty/School

2012-2013

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

Total

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

5

4.5

5

4

18.5

Arts (including Religious Studies)

12

17

11

13

53

Dentistry

 

0.5

 

1

1.5

Desautels Faculty of Management

3

4

2

9

18

Education

5

9

3

5

22

Engineering

2

3

1

1

7

Law

2

5

3

6

16

Libraries

2

8

5

3

18

Medicine

20

17.5

14

13

64.5

Schulich School of Music

3

2

3

5

13

Science

3

12.5

9

12

36.5

Total

57.0

83.0

56.0

72.0

268

The Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) has initiated and expanded a number of programs designed to support new and existing academic staff. These include the Academic Leadership Forum (ALF), which provides ongoing professional development for academic administrators; New Faculty Orientation, conducted twice a year to provide an introduction and networking opportunity to incoming tenure-track faculty; New Academic Administrators Orientation, which is provided to academic staff newly appointed to their first administrative role; and as of August 2016, the McGill Leadership Development Workshop for Academic Administrators. The Academic Personnel Office, in cooperation with Human Resources, has launched an electronic guide for Deans and Chairs, and an electronic guide for academic staff

Individual Faculties have also taken steps to ensure that academic staff are well-supported, to encourage interdisciplinary teaching and research, to further implement the University’s academic renewal plans, and to pursue interdisciplinary teaching and research. For example, the Faculty of Education launched the Institute for Human Development and Wellbeing (IHDW) in 2016. The IHDW is a trans-disciplinary unit led by the Faculty drawing together researchers from McGill's Departments of Family Medicine, Educational and Counselling Psychology, Integrated Studies in Education, Anthropology, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Psychiatry, the School of Urban Planning, the School of Social Work, and the Faculty of Dentistry.

The Faculty of Dentistry is developing a new, more structured approach to “on-boarding” and mentoring new tenure-stream and contract academic staff. Each new professor is formally assigned a mentor and provided documentation with many relevant contact people, units and organizations in the Faculty, University and outside. Meetings with the mentor and Dean are set up regularly during the first three-year contract and then revert to a more normal pattern following re-appointment. The Faculty has hired a tenure-stream professor with a background in education who is working with faculty on a one-to-one and small group basis to help improve teaching and learning strategies. One particular area of concentrated activities requiring a lot of work involves calibrating part-time clinical supervisors, most of whom work with the Faculty only one afternoon or morning a week, thereby making uniform teaching and evaluation of students very complex.

The Faculty of Medicine established standardized performance assessment mechanisms and criteria to assist chairs in evaluating academics, helping identify areas for mentorship or leadership development. In the spring of 2016, the Faculty created an Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs position. The Assistant Dean is responsible for developing and implementing a Faculty-wide mentoring program for basic scientists, clinician-scientists and clinician-educators. A Faculty Development workshop series for department chairs will be offered between fall 2016 and fall 2017. Objectives include teaching proactive approaches to promoting a positive learning environment; sensitizing chairs to diversity issues and inclusion and present administrative best practices; promoting gender and marginalized group equity when filling positions of academic and educational leadership. Efforts towards strategic joint appointments have been and continue to be challenging.

The Faculty of Engineering has conducted an intensive recruitment process in the new Bioengineering department, including seven new hires as of 2016 and two ongoing searches. Beginning in 2016, the Faculty instituted orientation sessions for all new professors focusing on mentoring and the life-cycle of a professor; grantsmanship; graduate supervision; equity; health and safety; teaching and learning; accreditation; and service as an academic duty. The Faculty’s Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) promotes bold and green ideas through education, outreach, and research. Created in 2012, TISED membership includes more than 50 professors. An examination of issues of diversity in academic hiring is underway in the Faculty. The Faculty conducted and analyzed the results of a survey of academic staff, and its Equity Committee is working in fall 2016 on developing a new program to address the issue. The Faculty offers new mandatory equity training program for all members of hiring committees as of fall 2015, and it has developed programs to address equity issues both in recruitment and retention of faculty members (including a Women in Engineering group, a Faculty Equity Ambassadors program, and equity training for academic administrators).

The Faculty of Science has focused its tenure-stream hiring during the ASAP 2012 period on academic renewal, ensuring that all positions are filled on the basis of the case made by departments, not simply a “replacement” model when a professor retires. The Faculty carefully examines the case for renewal based on the potential for research, complementarity to the Faculty and undergraduate teaching needs. It has made a particular effort to focus on hiring women, including 10 women hired to fill 14 open positions in 2015-16.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences initiated a series of cluster hires around the broad theme of food safety and food systems. This allowed for the recruitment of young assistant professors in the areas of plant genomics, animal health and welfare, food safety, large data computational systems, and social impacts of new agricultural biotechnologies. The latter position was a joint appointment with the McGill School of Environment (MSE). The Faculty established an NSERC-industrial chair with Novalait and Dairy Farmers of Canada to support a call from the dairy industry in the area of animal herd care and welfare. This built on the pioneering work of Macdonald College, under the leadership of late Emeritus Professor John Moxley, with the creation of the Dairy Herd Analysis Service (DHAS) and later Valacta in the early 1970s. The Faculty developed an introductory workshop for new hires in March 2016 that will be held annually to allow new faculty members to familiarize themselves with services offered for faculty and staff, rules and procedures, and physical facilities at Macdonald Campus. A formal mentor is identified for each new hire. Typically, mentors for incoming Assistant Professors are Associate Professors who obtained tenure recently.

The Faculties of Science and Arts have developed hybrid programs that enrol more than 650 students, in areas such as Sustainability Science and Society, Environment, and Cognitive Sciences. 

The McGill Library has implemented a governance structure including the establishment of a Library Council and a series of rules for participation. It has elaborated guidelines on criteria for reappointment and tenure for tenure-track librarian staff and developed an orientation program to welcome new staff members. The Library has also implemented a mentoring program devoted to librarian staff.

OBJECTIVE 2: EMPHASIZE INNOVATIVE DELIVERY OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND APPROPRIATE LEVELS OF STUDENT AID TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO UNDERREPRESENTED POPULATION GROUPS

ASAP 2012 advocated the enrolment, retention and support of top students and students from under-represented backgrounds; the use of the cyclical unit review process to strengthen and improve programs; an enhanced focused on the international component of learning at all levels; the extension of opportunities for undergraduate research and enhance learning via technology; and the evolution of libraries as more flexible learning spaces.

McGill continues to enrol top-performing students from across Quebec and Canada, and has focused its enrolment practices in recent years to better target its resources. Consistent with the ASAP 2012 objectives, these activities have resulted in an improved yield of students (i.e., a higher proportion of individuals have accepted their offer of admission). The University has maintained some of the highest undergraduate retention rates (92.4%) and six-year graduation rates in North America (84.1%).

Since the launch of ASAP 2012, McGill has experienced a steady growth in the recruitment and enrolment of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, both Canadians and international students. McGill has also expanded its need-based student aid programs to provide larger levels of financial support to more students. Additional targeted support has been directed toward students with dependants and first generation students.  

Percentage of full-time degree students receiving financial aid (Canadian and American)

Percentage of full-time degree students receiving financial aid (international)

Total need-based student assistance

McGill has also emphasized the importance of recruiting students from Quebec’s CEGEP system. Since 2012, the University has maintained its overall registrations directly from CEGEPS while increasing the number of students from French-language CEGEPs by 25%.

The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) conference at McGill in May 2015 created a learning opportunity for faculty, students and staff to improve access to post-secondary education for marginalized student groups. UDL is an innovative framework that promotes and fosters the creation of post-secondary learning environments which facilitate the inclusion of underrepresented student population groups in post-secondary institutions, including but not limited to students with disabilities, Indigenous students and students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

McGill is committed to excellence in teaching and research as measured against the highest international standards. In Fall 2011 the University introduced the cyclical unit review process to assess the quality of its academic programs at rolling seven year intervals. To date 55 academic units have been reviewed. Broadly, the review process has indicated that McGill’s academic programs remain current and competitive, while also identifying opportunities to strengthen and streamline existing offerings. Review outcomes have included program revisions, the implementation of new programs, re-examination of graduate funding strategies, the creation of committees to track graduate progress, reviewed course offerings, augmented communications operations, and more.

Since the 2014-2015 academic year, the cyclical unit review process has been extended to include the review of central administrative units which serve the academic mission of the university. To date four administrative units have been reviewed: Athletics and Recreation, Student Services, Information Technology Services and Office of the Chief Information Officer, and Office of the Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning. Outcomes of these reviews have included improved communication and marketing of programs in Athletics and Recreation, the creation of a student academic support working group in Student Services, the creation of risk-assessment and treatment processes in IT, and the creation of a student advisory committee in the Office of the Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning.

Most recently, in the spring of 2016 the University re-examined its international focus, moving principal responsibility for the University’s internationalization strategy to the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). The Provost will soon appoint an Associate Provost (International) with a mandate to expand opportunities for students to situate their knowledge and understand their lives in a global context through ensuring that the curriculum reflects a global perspective and through student mobility and exchanges; attract and retain international Faculty, support international teaching and research collaborations, identify and maintain partnerships with international institutions and foreign governments; strengthen efforts to expand McGill’s reach through digital connections; oversee international revenue-generating opportunities; and coordinate and support outgoing missions and incoming visits. This reorganization of international-related activities is built on McGill’s existing strengths, as the most internationally diverse student body in Canada with the largest proportion of Faculty claiming non-Canadian or dual citizenship among research-intensive Universities in Canada. Emphasizing McGill’s global presence through increased international activity at all levels will enable the University to continue to prepare graduates to be engaged global citizens.

In 2014, the University inaugurated the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at McGill, which has provided full-service scholarships to 54 students from low-income backgrounds in sub-Saharan Africa, and will be welcoming 47 more over the next four years. These students were selected from a massive applicant pool and awarded scholarships based on strong academic results and demonstrated leadership in their communities.

To provide a more innovative approach to internationalizing its graduate education, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies launched a dedicated graduate mobility fund in 2016; it has also developed “cotutelles” – collaborative programs of doctoral studies offered with other universities, allowing students to receive a single PhD awarded by two institutions.

Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) is the driver for pedagogic innovation at McGill. In recent years it has undertaken a number of initiatives to enhance learning in the classroom and beyond. It operates two formal partnerships, with the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Law, to support teaching and learning activities, curriculum development and alignment, course and assessment design, instructional strategies, and pedagogical coordination. TLS has also introduced Active Learning Classrooms, spaces that are designed to support teaching and learning in an atmosphere conducive to engaging students actively in their own learning. During the winter 2016 semester, more than 5,000 students studied in 134 courses taught in Active Learning Classrooms. While some universities have taken a "cookie cutter" approach to Active Learning Classrooms, McGill has worked to develop a broad variety of ALCs (varied capacities, levels of technology, and varied layouts, all the while consistently upholding its design principles) that can support a broad range of teaching and learning approaches and faculty preferences.

Through its participation in edX, beginning in 2013, McGill has also embraced Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as an opportunity to extend its on-campus learning to a global audience and to engage in an innovative approach to teaching.. The University’s four MOOCs have provided valuable insight into how for-credit courses at McGill could be enhanced, resulting in pedagogical changes such as a “flipped” course (where lectures are posted online and class time is devoted to poster presentations of collaborative student projects) in one case and the shift of another course completely online.

While Teaching and Learning Services acts as a central agent encouraging and implementing innovative practices at McGill, individual Faculties and Schools are also constantly evolving their offerings and practices.  In 2014 the Faculty of Medicine launched a new MDCM curriculum that continues to be developed to ensure cultural sensitivity and properly reflect the local and global community it serves.

The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences developed an entrepreneurship program and an entrepreneurship minor in partnership with the Faculty of Management.

The Faculty of Law allows undergraduate students to take up to 15 “non-course” credits by participating in local and international internships, clerkships, competitive mooting, and as Legal Methodology Tutorial Leaders or Group Assistants in a teaching and learning context.

The School of Continuing Studies has made significant strides in the delivery of online courses and programs. It has also explored a multimodal format with simultaneous online and in-class delivery, allowing geographically dispersed students to remotely attend professional development courses at McGill and generating a substantial enrolment increase.

The Experiential Learning Network is an informal network of stakeholders involved with the development or support of experiential learning activities at McGill. It is designed to promote experiential learning to enhance learning opportunities and develop and share resources for faculty, staff and students.

ASAP 2012 identified a need for McGill Libraries to identify and implement digital storage options, enhance their collections, develop creative uses of library spaces, partner with other research universities to share resources, and develop a repository for the work of McGill researchers. Over the last four years, McGill’s libraries have extended service hours in three locations to address student demand and have merged other libraries to reflect a student focus. In 2015 McGill Libraries launched the McGill Research Commons to provide McGill researchers space, technology and services to support 21st century inquiry. The Libraries conducted extensive user survey-based analysis of how the McGill community, particularly students, use the library. This data informed a comprehensive visioning exercise the conducted in 2015 imagining how McGill’s libraries could be modernized to better suit the needs of the community.

Further developments with respect to increased accessibility and pedagogic innovation are expected in 2016-17:

The Office of Scholarships and Student Aid is working with First People’s House and within the special admissions protocol to provide need-based aid supporting recruitment and retention of Indigenous students, including special provisions to encourage participation in the Living & Learning Community at the First Peoples’ House.

During Indigenous Awareness Week in September 2016, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi launched a Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education to examine how McGill can deepen its commitment to increasing the recruitment and retention of Indigenous students and faculty, to integrating Indigenous perspectives and experiences into its academic mission, and to determining what role McGill should play in Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.

In response to student requests, the undergraduate research opportunities database for the Faculty of Science is being enhanced and redesigned to include opportunities in the Faculty of Arts. A new resource is being developed to provide students (and prospective students) with information about services, resources and experiences available at McGill that will enhance their academic experience.  This will also be a tool for students to explore their career options. Both of these initiatives are expected to be completed by Fall 2017.

Over the next three years, the School of Continuing Studies will focus on learning modules, professional development certificates (online and hybrid) and online delivery of credit certificates.  A pilot it underway, for example, for a series of learning modules in medical toxicology.

Finally, the cyclical unit review process will be enhanced to improve the progress reporting on the implementation of recommendations by units in their annual reports, establish a methodology for Faculties to follow up on progress reports with Deans, and increase student involvement in the review process.

OBJECTIVE 3: ENSURE INNOVATION IN GRADUATE STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE BASED ON RESEARCH STRENGTHS AND COMPETITIVE FUNDING

The third of ASAP 2012’s objectives addressed the enhancement of professional development training and improved research funding performance for graduate students, as well as improvements to time-to-completion rates and enhanced graduate supervision. ASAP 2012 also called for McGill to develop interdisciplinary graduate programs and programs in emerging disciplines.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) was reorganized in 2012 to focus its resources on collaboration with units across the university to facilitate academic quality assurance, leadership and oversight. In 2013, McGill launched uApply, a graduate e-admission and evaluation system, which has allowed McGill to make earlier offers of admissions to students, ensuring that the University remains competitive for top-performing students.

Since the launch of ASAP 2012, GPS has been working with Faculties and departments to ensure that McGill’s graduate financial support remains competitive. While McGill’s base level resources are lower than those of its peers, through prioritizing university resources and philanthropic gains, researcher contributions, Faculty initiatives, and more efficient distribution, the University has been able to increase its funding position relative to other research-intensive Canadian institutions. In six years, McGill’s central support for graduate funding has increased from $2.6 million to $17 million annually.

In collaboration with Planning and Institutional Analysis (now Analysis, Planning and Budget) GPS developed granular funding data for each Faculty to enable them to optimize their funding allocation. As a result, McGill is able to target and package funding to best meet the needs of prospective and current students. Taking differences in tuition fees into account, McGill’s overall funding levels are competitive with the top three Canadian research-intensive universities. In addition to conducting regular meetings with Faculties, GPS provides a web dashboard and special reports demonstrating each academic unit’s enrolment objectives and achievements.

Since the launch of ASAP 2012, McGill’s performance has also improved with respect to funding programs offered by Mitacs (including the Accelerate, Globalink and STEP programs, which provide, respectively, financial support for research work with organizations, study abroad, and career development workshops). In addition, GPS offers training on strategic competitions throughout the year, as well as nine student workshops to assist the development of their research applications, and eight sessions with Faculty and staff on fellowship application processing throughout the year.

The SKILLSETS program develops and promotes interdisciplinary professional development offerings to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. A partnership of GPS, Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) and other McGill units, SKILLSETS offers over 200 workshops, information sessions and events throughout the year that are free to all McGill graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Following ASAP 2012, GPS, TLS and the School of Continuing Studies’ McGill Writing Centre implemented the Graphos program to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows develop their academic writing skills. GPS and TLS also conduct Academic Integrity Day to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in their professional development bye examining issues related to authorship, publications, and data ownership.

The GPS Future Student Website provides a gateway for graduate student recruitment. GPS is also working on a new Milestone Tool to monitor graduate student progress (see below). It has developed a single streamlined Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking form to be used during face-to-face meetings between the doctoral student, supervisor, and at least one other departmental representative. Having written agreed-upon expectations and clearly defined requirements aids in reduced times to completion and leads to fewer supervisor-supervisee misunderstandings.

The Supervisory Initiative integrates three GPS-led projects with a broader collaboration on incentives for effective supervision. The first project is a resource of research and evidence-based practical advice for supervisors and supervisees. The second project consists of the improvement of workshops for both supervisors and supervisees (as described above in the SKILLSETS discussion). The third involves moving recommendations of supervision forward. These recommendations on changing procedures were developed by the graduate student and supervisor community at McGill and passed in Senate in October 2014, leading to two important changes: mandatory supervision orientations and the addition of a mandatory supervisory committee member for all PhD students. The first university-wide supervision orientation session for all new tenure-track hires was held in the spring of 2016.

McGill has recently developed an interdisciplinary graduate program in Biological and Biomedical Engineering. A second program, Quantitative Life Sciences, is in the proposal-writing stage, while a third, Global Infectious Diseases, is in the planning process.

A new organizational structure for interdisciplinary programs was passed in Senate in the spring of 2015. This paves the way for the development of interdisciplinary graduate programs at McGill. These programs offer attractive destinations for new populations of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, thus generating a net increase in enrolment and quality applicants.

GPS has embarked on a six-month pilot project to design internal approval pathways specific for interfaculty graduate programs. The objective is to streamline administrative processes in order to better support members of the academic community wishing to push new programs forward in a timely fashion.

At the Faculty level, the Desautels Faculty of Management PhD program has increased the funding package for incoming students to cover the typical period of study, with each admitted student now guaranteed $25,000 in annual funding for four years. To increase access to the academic job market and research conferences, students are now provided support to attend up to three research conferences during their studies. The PhD program is working jointly with the McGill School of Environment to strengthen interdisciplinary research by bridging management and environmental concerns.

The Faculty of Arts introduced the Master’s in Couple and Family Therapy Program in the School of Social Work in 2014, the first program of its kind in Canada. The two-year interdisciplinary applied program is offered in conjunction with the Department of Psychiatry at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, highly reputed for the clinical training it offers in couple and family therapy. The program develops couple and family therapists who understand the often complicated interplay of physical, psychological, cultural, economic and social factors that may form a backdrop to the problems faced by couples and families today. The Faculty also expects to launch a School of Public Policy in 2017, providing Master’s and executive Master’s programs level training in interdisciplinary, policy-related fields of study.

The Schulich School of Music instituted the International Grant Competition for international students, with two doctoral prizes of $10,000 (one for each Department) and two Master’s prizes of $5,000.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences created the Office of Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The Office organizes seminars dealing with research ethics, graduate student-professor relationships, regulations and protocols concerning biosafety and conduct of research in the field and lab. It has also streamlined the process for reviewing graduate student applications and tracking of progress to better link graduate funding with the applicant pool. This has led to a better quality of graduate students entering and leaving the Faculty, better funding packages, and commitments by professors to provide better support to students. The Office is also responsible for managing thesis submissions and examinations, which has led to more uniformity in graduate student completion.

The Faculty of Dentistry is developing an Interdisciplinary Oral Health Sciences PhD program and is working on a joint pediatric dentistry program with the Université de Montréal.

Based in the Faculty of Engineering, the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design’s Master’s in Sustainability in Engineering and Design has been crafted as an interdisciplinary program that can serve as a model for new graduate programs in the Faculty. Additionally, the Faculty’s new interdisciplinary Bioengineering graduate program has been approved and implemented.

In addition to what has already been achieved, GPS will pilot the Individual Development Plan (IDP) in Fall 2016 as part of the McGill Commitment, one of the Principal’s priority projects. IDP will be a self-assessment tool for graduate students to identify their short term research and professional development goals and long term career goals. The IDP will help graduate students to make more informed decisions about their next steps and think beyond the present to envision a trajectory beyond the graduate degree.

The development of the Milestone Tool for improved monitoring of graduate student progress continues. In May 2016, the Steering Committee approved moving forward with the recommended solution.  The project implementation plan will initially focus on delivering the solution, within twelve months of launch, for a pilot group of graduate thesis programs.

The planned Uniweb resource will provide a university-wide researcher database that will significantly improve matching of applicants and supervisors.

OBJECTIVE 4: DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT TRANSFORMATIVE RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY INITIATIVES BASED ON COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

ASAP 2012 contributed to the development of McGill’s Strategic Research Plan 2013-2017, developed by the Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations, now Research and Innovation), stressing the importance of high-impact interdisciplinary research opportunities via the development of platforms, networks and supporting tools; the development of tools to enable researchers to access relevant information in a timely fashion (particularly related to grant notification); the expansion of support to prepare faculty members for research leadership; the development of mechanisms to better measure research performance in comparison with peers; and the re-examination of the criteria and policies for the formation and termination of a research centre.

Operationally, the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) oversaw a number of improvements to the management of research dossiers. In 2013, it established a Plan for Operations and Maintenance of Canada Foundation for Innovation-funded infrastructure, enabling greater decision-making at the local Faculty and unit level, all supported by the VP-RI. The following year, McGill developed a new funding mechanism, the CFI Operations and Maintenance Reserve Fund, first accessed by the Faculty of Medicine in 2014-15 and the Faculties of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences in 2016.

In recent years, McGill has forged strong partnerships in national and international research initiatives, including the Institute Nordique du Quebec (2014), of which McGill is a founding member – Professor Murray Humphrey will serve as INQ Research Chair until 2018-19; Future Earth (2015), which includes Professor Andrew Gonzalez on its scientific committee examining issues of sustainability science; Canada's Genomics Enterprise - CGEn (2015), which received a $58 million Canada Foundation for Innovation award for next-generation genome sequencing technology; and Compute Canada and Calcul Quebec (2012), for which McGill will receive a significant award from the CFI for cyberinfrastructure in Fall 2016.

Internally, McGill developed plans and processes to identify high-potential projects for submission to major national research funding programs, including the 2015 and 2017 Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Innovation Funds, the 2014 Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), the 2015 Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), and the 2017 round of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program.

The new approaches to targeting high-potential projects have led to significant gains for McGill, including the $84 million CFREF award for Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives in September 2016, as well as the highest amount of CFI funding in Canada during the CFI Innovation Fund in 2015.

They also led to the successful application for two Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) awards. In 2013 McGill was awarded a CERC for the Faculties of Dentistry and Medicine to welcome Dr. Luda Diatchenko to work on cutting edge pain-related research. In 2014 the Faculty of Science was awarded a CERC to hire Dr. Robin Rogers to work on green chemistry and green chemicals, addressing the University’s commitment to sustainability science. These two CERC awards represent the successful implementation of the renewed university-wide approach to fully participating in major research projects. They also will enable the Faculties involved to realize significant associated benefits, including the hiring of additional new professors in areas related to the CERC fields of study and the creation of new campus research space in which their work will occur.

McGill has also organized a number of events and platforms where researchers and stakeholders from industry, government, foundations and interest groups could meet, including Space Science (2012); Convergence between life science, Physical sciences and Engineering (2013); Northern research (2014); and Sustainability Science (2016).  

To provide additional support to Faculty and students, in 2014 McGill entered into an agreement with the Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal (CEIM), offering access to expertise and resources to incubate and grow start-ups (which offers a potential savings of up to 75% of start-up costs) and industrial collaborations. McGill students and entrepreneurs now have valuable services available to them as well as new business opportunities. Along with the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, this sustained effort to promote commercialization has resulted in an increase in the number of spin-offs from the University, as well as better support for them once launched. During the past couple of years 12 start-ups have emerged from this collaboration with the CEIM, in addition to three others developed elsewhere. This represents 25% of the 55 McGill spin-offs created since 1991. 

In 2015, McGill created an Office of Innovation and Partnerships, regrouping four existing units: Invention Development and Entrepreneurship Assistance (IDEA), Quartier de l’Innovation (QI), and McGill University Business Engagement Centre (MUBEC). In Summer 2016, the University appointed a new Associate Vice-Principal (Innovation and Partnerships) to oversee this portfolio. This new orientation underscores the Vice-Principal’s renewed focus on innovation as a key aspect of McGill’s identity going forward, particularly as it relates to its research, as reflected in the reorientation of the Research and International Relations portfolio to Research and Innovation.

In 2014 the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) reorganized its staff into discipline-specific support teams, providing researchers in the Faculties with a single point of contact with staff in OSR. This reorganization included the implementation of “proximity support,” whereby OSR professionals are regularly present within Faculties, and offer specialized support for particular opportunities (e.g., a 2015-16 pilot with industry to create graduate internship opportunities co-funded by Mitacs). Together with the Office of the Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) created the Research Administration Network in 2013 to provide tools and resources to foster the professional development of McGill research administrative staff and to improve internal processes.

Analysts working in McGill’s research and planning offices have developed several reports to monitor McGill’s research performance compared to other Canadian peers. These reports track total sponsored research revenues and market shares at the aggregate level and at the level of the federal and provincial granting councils. They also developed Faculty-specific reports on revenues and collaborations to help inform the Deans on their Faculty’s research profile.

The Regulations for Research Centres were first approved in 1995 and amended in 2005. They were revisited and the criteria for establishing and maintaining the status of “Research Centre” at McGill. After extensive consultations led by VP-RI, the new Policy on Research Centres was approved by the Board of Governors and Senate in November 2013.

In the coming year, the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) will focus on four strategic objectives:

1.       Delivering timely, tailored, and efficient support for researchers, by finalizing revisions to the Regulation on the Conduct of Research, surveying researchers with regard to their satisfaction with VP-RI services, and continuing to strengthen frontline services via the “proximity support” model.

2.       Nurturing discovery, innovation and industry partnerships, by solidifying the Office of Innovation and Partnerships and welcoming a new Associate Vice-Principal, and by finalizing revisions to the Policy on Intellectual Property and establishing a new Policy on Inventions and Software and a new Policy on Copyright.

3.       Facilitating large-scale grant applications by establishing priority research areas in close collaboration with the Faculty Deans and extending the program of networking opportunities for researchers within the University and with partners.

4.       Support and optimize research facilities by establishing a University-wide, platform-focused business model for core facilities.

McGill’s Faculties continue to develop transformative research opportunities. The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences was successful in landing a Network Centre of Excellence (NCE) in biofuels. NCEs are large-scale, academically-led virtual research networks that bring together partners from academia, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations. Additionally, it’s the Faculty’s Ian and Jayne Munro Chair in Food Safety obtained a $10 million award from Genome Canada.

The Faculty of Medicine named a Vice Dean, Life Sciences to lead the development of a Strategic Research Plan with clear strategic research priorities, including the expansion of the MD/PhD Program to develop, stimulate and recruit clinician scientists. The Vice-Dean is also responsible for developing opportunities for inter-disciplinary research in new research groupings (e.g., School of Population and Global Health, Initiative for Computational Biology and Medicine-ICBM); the development of the next generation of health researchers; the creation and maintenance of enabling technology platforms; and the development of mechanisms to support research in strategic areas. The Faculty launched a Global Health Program in 2014 to bring together strengths across disciplines and Faculties.

Other Faculties conduct research that extends beyond the conventional boundaries of their own disciplines. For example, the Faculty of Law appointed Prof. Daniel Weinstock as Director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy (IHSP), which conducts and supports world-class research on how social conditions impact population health and welfare, and leads programs designed to translate research findings into policies and programs on national and global scales. 

The Faculty of Engineering operates a number of research centres and institutes that are interdisciplinary in nature. These include the McGill Institute for Advanced Materials (MIAM), the Brace Centre for Water Resources Management, the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering & Design (TISED) and the McGill Institute for Aerospace Engineering (MIAE). In particular, MIAM runs the Nanofab facility which is heavily used by many researchers in Science, Engineering, Dentistry and Medicine

In 2012 the Faculty of Education created the Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health (PATH). Since then the research centre has held several symposiums and research activities. The Faculty launched the Institute for Human Development and Wellbeing (IDHW), a trans-disciplinary unit, in 2016.

Housed in the Faculty of Arts with shared governance by and membership from seven of the University’s Faculties, the Institute for Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI) has created a space for interdisciplinary research and to connect the university with the world of arts, government, policy and culture. The Faculty’s planned School of Public Policy, expected to be running in 2017, will conduct research into issues of Canadian policy, international development and global issues, governance, and public service delivery. Drawing on McGill’s existing strengths across a diversity of Faculties and programs, its research will serve as an innovative policy hub through its engagement with government, community groups and NGOs, think tanks, and business. 

The Schulich School of Music operates the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, a multi-disciplinary research group that seeks to develop innovative approaches to the scientific study of music media and technology, to promote the application of newer technologies in science and the creative arts, and to provide an advanced research training environment.

As the ASAP 2012 period winds down, McGill is working toward the creation of a School of Public Policy, slated for launch in 2017.

The period covered by ASAP 2012 has seen a significant increase in external recognition of the work of McGill researchers. In recent years, increasingly McGill researchers have been nominated for and won major national and international prizes and awards: in 2015, there were 158 nominations, which resulted in 41 winners to date; comparable figures for 2014 were 131 nominations and 29 winners. In 2009 there were only 53 nominations in 2009 that resulted in 13 awards.

OBJECTIVE 5: DEVELOP A CULTURE OF “BEST PRACTICES” IN SUPPORT OF ACADEMIC ENDEAVOURS

ASAP 2012 encouraged Faculties and units to identify opportunities for enhanced administrative efficiency, to examine existing practices in relation to mission critical academic objectives, to identify opportunities for shared administrative services, and to emphasize effective management of regulatory processes.

Through Principal Emerita Heather Munroe-Blum’s Strategic Reframing Initiative (SRI), which identified $25 million in savings and new revenue, teams across the University have adopted a project management and reporting methodology that continues to be used as a best practice for priority initiatives at McGill, including the Principal’s Priority Projects.

One of these initiatives, My Workplace, has facilitated a shift in McGill’s administrative workplace culture to embrace continuous learning and change, to inspire and encourage new ways of doing things, and to empower administrative staff to use their knowledge and expertise to make McGill a more agile and effective organization. Several My Workplace projects are aimed at identifying ways to enhance services and make work processes more efficient.

McGill’s Human Resources office has initiated Lean Training and the development of a LEAN community of practice to ensure a client-centric approach to process streamlining. To date, the University has developed 15 employees with the “green belt” certification, as well as four groups of participants in “yellow belt” (intermediate level) training and numerous classes of “white belt” (introductory) recipients – several hundred employees in all.

The administrative area Student Life and Learning (SLL) has undertaken a number of initiatives in recent years to realize administrative efficiency all the while addressing staff members’ engagement and career development. One sub-unit of SLL, Enrolment Services, has initiated opportunities for job shadowing and cross-training for staff members, and has embarked on a succession planning activity that is bringing together senior administrators and managers. As a whole, in summer 2016 SLL held two half-day retreats to enable staff at all levels to contribute and respond to an SLL vision/mission/values statement. SLL has also created the position of Innovation Officer to create innovative partnerships with Faculties and faculty members, to enhance McGill students’ experience and to bridge the gap between life and learning. It has also launched the McGill app, and created a database of exchange and study-away course equivalency information.  

The My Workplace project developed a “Case for Strategic Staff Hiring” which was presented by the Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) to the senior administration in April 2014. It subsequently delivered recommendations to the Vice-Principal on position control and a capped salary mass at the Dean/VP level in March 2015. The Organizational Development team in HR similarly developed tools for succession planning at the senior level, and strengthened links between University, unit and individual priorities in the performance dialogue process.

In 2012 Human Resources implemented the University’s first Workforce Planning Initiative. The Organizational Development unit prepared a workforce planning toolkit and related workshops for Faculties and administrative units. Summary reports providing staff counts and demographic information regarding administrative staff were prepared centrally and provided to units on a quarterly basis. Subsequently, a much more detailed report providing information on all forms of administrative staff movement and fluctuations in salary mass (e.g., hires and departures; promotions and developmental assignments) was developed by HR in collaboration with the Office of Planning and Institutional Analysis (now Analysis, Planning and Budget), Financial Services, and IT to enable units to better understand the composition of their workforce and plan for the future. This report has been automated and HR advisors and financial officers have been trained to use it. Each quarter, Human Resources provides a summary staff movement report to the Budget Executive Committee to track the evolution of the University’s administrative staff count and salary mass.

With a view to creating greater administrative efficiencies, the University has embarked on a number of “shared services” initiatives, whereby units pool resources to avoid duplication of common administrative functions, particularly those related to financial and human resource administration. McGill has launched shared service teams in the Faculties of Medicine and Arts, as well as in the James Administration building, serving the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), the Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, and the Office of the Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance). In Medicine, the Administration Excellence Centres were launched in 2013 to offer departments a team of specialists in the fields of academic affairs, human resources and finance (including financial management support for grants and awards). The initiative is the outcome of benchmarking, best practices and Faculty consultations, as well as a successful pilot project launched in 2012. The Faculty of Arts similarly created four administrative service centres, involving physical reorganization of space, process-mapping and improvement, and the building of an administrative knowledge base. The Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences also reorganized its administrative staff via the development of centralized shared services.

In response to the call for better management of regulatory processes, there have been increased efforts to bring the existing regulatory frameworks to greater light through training with faculty members and with academic administrators. This has occurred through venues such as the Academic Leadership Forum, New Faculty Orientation, Orientation for Academic Administrators, Equity Training for Search/Recruitment Committees and for Advisory Committees. For the year ahead, special training on conflicts of interest will occur for academic leaders. Moreover, additional notification has taken place this year on conflicts of interest and the University has significantly revised and rendered more accessible its conflict of interest disclosure and management form.

Individual academic units have also re-examined their administrative practices and organization to better support their academic mission. The Faculty of Dentistry has taken advantage of changes to its curricula as well as a physical move to a new location to review and revise many of its policies, guidelines and protocols over the past four years. It has made revisions to its contract academic staff appointment/promotion processes and its procurement procedures, as well as dedicating resources to employee recognition (via a “Hall of Honour” and an awards and prizes working groups). The Faculty of Law reorganized its Student Affairs Office, under the leadership of a Director of Student Life and Learning, with increased emphasis on academic and career advising for students, and the development of measures to support student wellbeing. The Desautels Faculty of Management has increased transparency around promotion standards and expectations, and it has developed a Faculty operating procedures manual to complement the University’s. 

OBJECTIVE 6: ENHANCE CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND MOBILITY OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT STAFF

ASAP 2012 called on Human Resources and the Academic Personnel Office to examine talent management and career development programs and practices, and to develop a uniform set of leadership principles across all administrative and academic units with a view to maintaining McGill University as one of Canada’s top employers, and ensuring that institutional goals and staff members’ individual career goals were aligned with those of the academic mission of the University.

Human Resources, in broad consultation with senior leadership and management-level staff across the University, developed a set of seven behavioral competencies that reflect the attitudes and behaviors McGill values in its employees. These competencies, along with a behaviorally-anchored rating scale, have been integrated to each role profile within the seven job families. Most recently, the competency-levels were integrated into the annual performance dialogue process. Comprehensive training and an extensive tool kit support this process.

In addition to refining the performance dialogue process, the Organizational Development group within Human Resources oversees the overall advancement of the University’s administrative workforce. It has introduced McGill 101 to support the successful integration and retention of new employees and has thus far graduated over 500 management-level staff in its highly-reputed Leadership Development Program. The program boasts a diverse population of hands-on learners in three streams: change agents, supervisors and student affairs professionals. Individual Faculties and academic units also engage in staff development. The Desautels Faculty of Management is embarking on an initiative to provide staff with more professional development opportunities, with an implementation plan (including timeline, targets and budget) due in October 2016. The Faculty of Dentistry has identified leaders and potential leaders among its staff and is taking a very deliberate approach to advising and supporting them in career development opportunities. The Faculty has also initiated a now very successful bi-weekly “e-flash” electronic newsletter that includes the activities and recognition of support staff on a regular basis, as well as academic staff and students.

The broad development of the administrative workforce at McGill is one of the Principal’s priority projects. Known as My Workplace the project is charged with developing a workplace where each employee understands their contribution to the whole, where continuous learning, collaboration and creativity lead to results that matter to the community, and sets it apart in its ability to respond to evolving challenges and opportunities. The My Workplace initiative has developed projects and has plans to undertake activities to enhance professional development opportunities through greater access to professional development courses offered through The School of Continuing Studies (SCS) and the Desautels Faculty of Management’s Executive Institute; to enhance people-management skills training for administrative and support staff supervisors; to enable job-shadowing across units; and has launched a staff mentoring pilot project

The units reporting to the Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), including HR, Financial Services, Facilities Management and Ancillary Services, and Information Technology Services, implemented employee engagement surveys in 2012 and 2015. These surveys identified the key “drivers” of employee engagement specific to each unit, and the leaders of these units are working on improving their performance.

The Office of Student Life and Learning created a Management & Leadership Development Workshop series, run by the School of Continuing Studies, that has to date been offered to three cohorts of staff, with more on the way.

In support of the University’s commitment to its staff, the Recruitment to Retirement (R2R) program will implement a new HR information system containing a full talent management suite to facilitate performance management and career and succession planning. The University is currently in the process of identifying a software solution that is slated for implementation beginning in 2018.

OBJECTIVE 7: IMPLEMENT NEW APPROACHES TO ACADEMIC ANALYTICS, PROCESSES, TOOLS AND FEEDBACK LOOPS

ASAP 2012 called for the development of an accountability framework for assessing progress relating to McGill’s academic and research excellence and its student-centred focus, as well as a multi-year approach to managing the University’s resources. ASAP 2012 also oriented the University toward the continued use of key performance indicators to chart progress and the analysis of McGill’s performance relative to other world-class institutions.

Consistent with these objectives, since 2012 McGill has revised its set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that are reported to the Board of Governors on an annual basis. These KPIs provide a high-level overview of the University’s performance related to its main academic, research and administrative priorities. Where possible, the University reports on its KPI performance compared to other institutions in Quebec and Canada. By reporting on its high-level objectives on a regular basis, the University can signal to its governance body whether it is on track toward achieving its stated objectives.

The University’s KPIs are organized into four broad themes:

1.       Academic: examining class size, student progression to graduation, financial aid, quality of instruction, internationalization and the University’s operating financial situation.

2.       Research: measuring granting council market share relative to Quebec and Canadian universities, innovation, and prizes and awards.

3.       Administration and finance: examining the agility of the administrative workforce, the progression of construction projects and the performance of the endowment fund.

4.       University advancement: describing the University’s funding received from philanthropy.

To track its progress on these and other areas of importance, McGill continues to participate in data exchanges with other research-intensive in Canada and the United States (particularly those that are publicly funded and have a large research profile). It also participates in several Canadian and international university rankings systems, allowing for an ongoing high-level assessment of its performance and perception in an international context. McGill has ranked first in the Maclean’s ranking of Canadian universities for several years running, as well as 24th worldwide (1st in Canada) in the QS international rankings, 38th worldwide (3rd in Canada) in the Times Higher Education international rankings and 64th worldwide (3rd in Canada) in the ARWU international rankings.

McGill’s performance, whether measured through both its local and institutional performance indicators (KPIs) or external rankings, reflects alignment between each major unit’s activities and the strategic priorities of the institution. To support better alignment, the University implemented in 2013 a new multi-fund, multi-year budgeting process that encourages academic and administrative units to plan their core activities and new initiatives in relation to the University’s goals. The Financial Budget Integration (FBI) process allows McGill to take a “bottom-up” approach to budgeting that enables local units to plan their activities in a consistent manner. This allows the University’s senior administrative team to allocate financial, capital and human resources in accordance with McGill’s overarching strategic objectives. 

The FBI process involves the development of budget planning Agreements between the senior administration and each of the Faculties and Administrative Units. Each budget planning Agreement articulates the operational and financial plans that the Faculty or Unit is undertaking to achieve its objectives. Accountability is an integral part of the budget planning new Agreements. The Agreements form the basis of a Financial Budget Model (FBM) that describes the specific dollar amounts associated with the unit’s major areas of activity. Taken together, all the units’ FBMs supply the information necessary to create the University’s budget.

OBJECTIVE 8: PROVIDE SERVICE TO QUEBEC, CANADA AND THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY BY MEANS OF ACTIVITIES AND INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIONS WITH MEASURABLE IMPACT

Recognizing the importance and impact of McGill’s existing and longstanding engagement in local, national and international communities, ASAP 2012 committed the University to ensuring its contribution to community life is sustained and effectively communicated.

ASAP 2012 called for McGill to encourage diverse forms of community engagement as integral to a research-intensive, student-centred university; to develop additional service initiatives to local, national and global communities; to strengthen its recognition of community engagement; to encourage the University to host international events; and to improve communications with Indigenous communities.

Faculties across campus have made significant contributions to the local, national and international communities they are a part of. The Faculty of Dentistry continues to grow its community service efforts. Its main undergraduate teaching clinic has 39 dental operatories and serves any member of the public whose treatment requirements are not complex and who accepts to be seen by a student. During 2015-16, Dentistry students saw 2,687 patients in 9,786 visits, providing care at 50% of the standard dental fee, thereby collectively saving these patients over $1 million. The Faculty’s Jim Lund Clinic at the Welcome Hall Mission in St. Henri has three dental operatories running five days per week for 46 weeks per year. It serves people in financial difficulty from throughout Montreal. Care in this clinic is free of charge and is supported entirely through philanthropy. Care is provided by a combination of dental students, residents and Faculty professors. During 2015-16, the clinic saw 721 patients in 1,869 visits and provided dental care worth approximately $425,000. The Faculty’s clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital Department of Dentistry in the Gilman Pavilion provides free dental care for children of immigrants and refugees who “fall through the cracks” of federal and provincial government health care insurance programs. This clinic is supported entirely by philanthropy and runs two days per week during the academic year. Care is again provided by dental students. In 2015-16, the clinic saw over 200 children and provided dental care worth approximately $60,000. The Faculty also operates a summer clinic and a mobile dental clinic.

In 2013, the Legal Information Clinic at McGill, a non-profit, student-run, bilingual and free legal information service, celebrated its 40th anniversary by hosting a conference entitled “Partnering Legal Education and Social Justice across Boundaries.” The conference brought together legal clinics and educators, lawyers, alumni, and community members from across Québec and even Ontario.

McGill’s Faculty of Medicine created the position of Director of Social Accountability and Community Engagement in 2015, and continues to host events with high-level international presence, including the SIMNOVATE conference, Knowledge Translation-Rehab and the Primary Care Symposium in 2016. In 2014, the Faculty struck a task force to encourage and support prospective students from Aboriginal communities. In 2015-16, together with the Faculty of Education, it is developing a Sciences Futures Institute summer program to improve science and math for Aboriginal youth who express an interest in science-related careers. The Institute is set to launch in summer 2017.

The Faculty of Arts is home to a number of institutes that are major actors in the community. These include, the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, which brings artists and community organizations into collaboration with researchers to examine art, policy and culture; the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, which connects students, researchers, engaged citizens and the policy community on questions of Canadian history, society, politics and economics; and the Institute for the Study of International Development, which connects teaching and research with the decision-makers and principal actors tackling today’s most pressing issues by supporting and engaging with NGOs, governments, community organizations, private sector actors, and civil society.

The McGill Office for Science and Society is a unique venture dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and the presentation of scientific information to the public, educators and students in an accurate and responsible fashion.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences is highly engaged in the Quebec community. It contributes to the dairy sector via Valacta, which enables the sustainable development and prosperity of the dairy sector through knowledge transfer and analytical and information management services, and through the McGill Agri-Food Innovation Network. The Faculty works directly with Quebec agricultural producers on greenhouse gas research, crop research, host-parasite research, and the support of the Quebec health network through the training of dieticians.

The Schulich School of Music conducts summer music academies for string quartets and organists, serving musicians from around the world. It regularly hosts international conferences (including four in 2015) and is the only North American member of ConNext, an international partnership of major conservatories that include institutions in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Singapore, and Australia.

The School of Continuing Studies has designed certificate programs specifically for delivery in Indigenous communities, including the Certificate in Health and Social Services; Certificate in Information Technology; Certificate in Entrepreneurship. It is also developing a Writing and Community Action course to be launched in winter 2017 and is working with SEDE to place students in local community organizations and associations, including retirement homes, schools and at-risk youth programs.

As a research-intensive university, McGill’s local engagement extends to entrepreneurs and industry. McGill is a member of a number of multi-institutional research endeavours and conducts research together with industry partners. McGill and the École de technologie supérieur are founding members of the Quartier de l’Innovation (QI), an organization that integrates students, researchers and entrepreneurs into an innovative ecosystem located in the southwest of Montreal. In 2015, 44 McGill professors from 13 Faculties were involved in 47 innovative projects. Of these projects, 13 new initiatives emerged in 2015. A recent QI achievement highlights how it combines research, teaching and service in one initiative. Salon 1861 is a socially responsible project that has protected the architectural heritage of the St. Joseph’s Church in the Little Burgundy neighbourhood with the aim of transforming it into a wellspring of social and cultural innovation and entrepreneurship. Several Faculties and Schools from McGill are involved in this innovative project, including Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Arts, Management, Law, Urban Planning and Architecture.

McGill also operates the McGill University Business Engagement Centre (MUBEC), a single point of entry for corporations interested in taking a comprehensive approach to engaging with McGill’s world-class research community, core technologies, and undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, as well as its full range of educational services.

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Communications and External Relations) has undertaken a number of initiatives, often in partnership with other University teams, to emphasize McGill’s commitment to the Montreal and Quebec communities. Working with the Offices of the Vice-Principal (University Advancement) and the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), Communications conducted an assessment of the views of McGill’s role in Quebec among the members of “Quebec Inc.” This led to the development of an informal network of allies that supports McGill’s work as well as those of the Quebec university system as a whole. Recently McGill has organized visits by politicians, civil servants and key stakeholders to its two campuses and to attend speeches by the Principal and other events where McGill is present. The University has organized or supported high-profile public events of interest to the community, such as televised debates during the 2013 municipal election, and it remains a visible participant in a variety of high-profile activities organized by such groups as the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, Montréal International, the Montreal council on international relations (CORIM), the Amis de la montagne and Héritage Montréal.

Communications and External Relations has undertaken several initiatives to enhance awareness about McGill’s community engagement including McGill en parle/McGill talks and other programming on Canal Savoir that includes a focus on the University’s community engagement (and is increasingly offered in French); McGill in Québec magazine showcasing McGill’s contributions in research and community service; an online map of our community engagement activities in the Greater Montreal region; and McGill dans la ville: a monthly e-newsletter focussing on the University’s activities that are of potential interest to the local community and sent to more than 900 stakeholders and community leaders.

McGill’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office (SEDE) offers many community engagement programs that connect with local community organizations and facilitate innovative opportunities for students, staff and faculty to learn experientially about issues of diversity and equity while also building bridges between the university and the greater Montreal community. Its two major programs are Community Engagement Day, which invites members of the McGill community to engage in hands-on work with Montreal-based social-purpose organizations, and Alternative Spring Break, which enables McGill students to provide 20 hours of service to local organizations during their spring break.

Through Community Engagement Day, Alternative Spring Break and its other activities, SEDE provides opportunities for hundreds of McGill students, faculty and staff members to engage in the local community. In 2015, more than 700 McGill volunteers contributed more than 9,000 hours of volunteer effort through SEDE-coordinated activities. In the 2015-16 academic year, SEDE collaborated with a number of partners to offer a pilot Community Service-Learning program, allowing students to engage with a community partner as part of their coursework.

During the 2016-17 period, McGill will be hosting a number of important international events, including the 2017 Acfas congress at McGill, the third time the University will host this French-language research congress attracting some 6,000 delegates, and some of the activities of the 2016 World Social Forum at McGill, including a major Forum event being organized by Prof. Henry Mintzberg of the Desautels Faculty of Management. 

OBJECTIVE 9: ENCOURAGE DIVERSITY IN ORIGIN AND IDEAS AMONG STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF

ASAP 2012 stressed the importance of the development and support of a diverse staff and student body at McGill and called for the University to strengthen existing and develop new outreach programs to under-represented populations of prospective students, to improve communications with Indigenous communities, and to implement the principles of Universal Design.

Since 2012-12, McGill has hired 282 new tenure-stream academic staff. An ongoing project is examining the diversity characteristics of these new members of the University’s faculty. Currently, complete data are only available for the years 2012-13 to 2014-15, during which McGill hired 196 new faculty members. Of these, 122 self-identify as members of one or more equity groups, as described in the following table:

Tenure-Stream Hires by Diversity Category, 2012-13 to 2014-15

 

Female

Indigenous

Disability

Visible Minority

Ethnic Minority

Gender Minority

Total All Staff

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

3

0

0

0

0

0

3

Arts (including Religious Studies)

17

0

1

4

4

1

27

Education

9

0

0

0

0

0

9

Engineering

2

0

0

1

0

0

3

Law

4

0

0

0

0

0

4

Libraries

7

0

0

0

0

0

7

Desautels Faculty of Management

9

0

0

0

0

0

9

Medicine and Dentistry

23

0

0

8

6

1

38

Schulich School of Music

3

1

0

0

0

0

4

Science

9

1

0

2

5

1

18

Total

86

2

1

15

15

3

122

* In total, 73 individuals met 96 categories, as certain individuals could meet more than one category.

Under the leadership of the Associate Provost, Policies, Procedures and Equity, SEDE’s Equity Educational Advisors have been working on designing and co-facilitating training for members of academic search committees; additionally, they conducted eight “made-to-measure” sessions with University departments in 2015-16. These sessions addressed issues such as the representation of women in STEM fields and making a graduate academic department more supportive of racialized students. The Provost has also created the Award for Equity and Community-Building to recognize the work of students, faculty and staff committed to advancing equity and diversity at McGill.

Human Resources (HR) and the Social Equity and Diversity Office (SEDE) have worked together on a number of initiatives to ensure the development of a diverse workforce. In 2015, the two offices provided hiring units with statistics describing the diversity of their workforce, accompanied with a workshop for human resource advisors (who support the staff recruitment and hiring processes). SEDE has offered training though the Organizational Development unit within HR has worked with SEDE McGill staff on subjects such as disability, access and Universal Design; engaging with diversity; race and cultural identity; anti-discrimination; sexual orientation and gender identity; and understanding discrimination. In addition, the University’s Leadership Development Program and its new Service Excellent pilot program have integrated learnings on diversity into their curricula.

SEDE, in collaboration with Teaching and Learning Services, First Peoples' House and the Office for Students with Disabilities, offers a regular schedule of training for staff, faculty, and graduate students.

After discussing with various stakeholders, SEDE helped lead and facilitate a first meeting on the presence of the Black Community on campus with members of the Equity Subcommittee on Racialized and Ethnic Persons, the Black Students’ Network, Community-University Talks (C-Uni-T), Enrolment Services, and other community members. Additionally, Indigenous Awareness Week – organized by SEDE’s Indigenous Educational Advisor – serves as an important program for creating a safe campus for Indigenous students, encouraging both recruitment and retention.

SEDE conducts a number of off-campus programs in the Montreal community. The Schools Outreach Programs consists of Homework Zone, that pairs McGill students with elementary school children in areas underrepresented at McGill to form mentorship relationships; My Day @ McGill, which invites Homework Zone participants onto campus for the day to get a glimpse at what it’s like and what it takes, to be a McGill student; and Spaghetti Nights Family Workshops, which were developed by SEDE in collaboration with LEARN Quebec’s Community Learning Centres to provide tools and peer support to parents and guardians whose children participate in Homework Zone.

Ronteweiénstha Tehontatia'takéhn (Kahnawake Homework Help), launching in September 2016, is similar to Homework Zone in its mission to foster academic success with students in underserved schools.  Each week, Homework Help will send McGill students to Kahnawake to help high school students build culturally relevant tools for social and academic success, while providing a personal connection to campus.

The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) has built strong collaborative partnerships with McGill Faculties offering professional programs, including Physical and Occupational Therapy, undergraduate and postgraduate Medicine, and Education to improve support services and offer reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities during their stages, clinical placements and medical residencies. Reasonable accommodations will remove unnecessary barriers, support student success and allow students with disabilities to achieve their full academic potential.

In addition, the OSD has increased and improved the types of support services for graduate students with disabilities to facilitate access and offer support services. In order to offer excellent support services to graduate students, the OSD has entered a close collaborative partnership with the Associate Deans, graduate and postdoctoral studies, to ensure that graduate students with disabilities have equal access to research opportunities and graduate programs.

While central units may have specific mandates related to encouraging diversity, McGill’s academic units also engage in these efforts. Recognizing the rapid and very significant increase in numbers of graduate students over the past 10 years, the Faculty of Dentistry created the McGill Dentistry Graduate Students Society, which represents the approximately 90 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the Faculty. This is a highly diverse group that explicitly addresses issues of equity and diversity. The Faculty is also participating in a research project funded by SSHRC and run through the Faculty of Education investigating means to address sexual violence on campus.

In the Faculty of Medicine, academic recruitment takes gender equity into consideration in every search. This is being further enhanced and supported with the creation of a Social Accountability and Community Engagement (SACE) Office (summer 2016). The SACE Office will work closely with SEDE and the Aboriginal Affairs Work Group. Additionally, Faculty-wide outreach programs continue to be developed in line with the SACE Office, the Widening Participation Committee, the Indigenous Health Professions Program Initiative, and will include efforts with University Advancement to find funding support. The Faculty is increasing its collaboration with the SEDE Office to adopt approaches and initiatives that better support its diverse student population and make for more culturally sensitive curricula and welcoming, safe environment in all health professions. A Faculty Development workshop series for department chairs will be offered between fall 2016 and fall 2017. Objectives include teaching proactive approaches to promoting a positive learning environment; sensitizing chairs to diversity issues and inclusion and present administrative best practices; promoting gender and marginalized group equity when filling positions of academic and educational leadership. Efforts towards strategic joint appointments have been and continue to be challenging.

In recent years the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry have adopted Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) as a means to help promote the selection of the highest quality students. While assessing academic performance in applicants to health care professional programs is relatively straightforward, the process of identifying the non-cognitive, human and social skills that are so important in the work of a health care professional has long been are area of difficulty across all health care professions. The MMI approach and similar structured scenario/interview testing for specific attributes has been a significant step forward in that arena.

To address issues related to diversity in its student population, the Faculty of Engineering has organized several recruitment events geared towards women, including activities with primary and secondary schools through student group POWE, a reception for newly admitted female undergraduate students, personalized letters from chairs geared towards women, and webinars for female applicants.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis students are strongly encouraged to apply for admission to the Faculty of Law, and are invited to self-identify on their application form. This allows McGill to inform students about specific services and funding opportunities and to assess its progress in the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal students. Since 2008, there has been some fluctuation in the number of applicants who self-identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis; in 2014, it was the highest it has been since 2010 (19 applications). The Admissions Office continues to collaborate with McGill’s First Peoples’ House in its efforts to attract more applicants who identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis, and to support admitted students and registered students, in order to increase our yield in this category. In May of 2015, the Admissions Office organized a very successful student-led interactive session for First Nations youth from all over Canada hosted by First Peoples’ House at the Eagle Spirit High Performance Academy. The First Peoples’ House (FPH) is a home-away-from-home for Indigenous students who have left their home communities to study at McGill. The FPH offers a residence, programming, support and connection among Indigenous students, the McGill community and the larger Montreal community.

As described earlier, the Provost is launching Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education in Fall 2016 to examine how McGill can deepen its commitment to integrating Indigenous perspectives. Part of the task force’s mandate will be to examine how McGill can best recruit and retain Indigenous students and faculty.

OBJECTIVE 10: ATTAIN PRE-EMINENCE IN EDUCATION FOR THE PROFESSIONS

Recognizing that McGill University offers many professional programs, ASAP 2012 acknowledged that external agencies, such as accreditation bodies and professional orders, can exert pressure on the educational mandate of the University. In response, it called for the University to seek a prominent leadership role among external professional orders, recognizing the contributions of its professional programs to the local, national and international communities McGill is a part of.

McGill faculty members are active members in the external organizations, including professional orders and national and international associations. The Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry is President of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, member of the Executive Committee of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research (funded through CIHR and partners) and member of the Board of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. The Faculty is also home to a full professor who is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dental Research - Clinical and Translational Research, a leading dental research journal on the international stage.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences has been working in recent years with the Ordre des Agronomes du Québec (OAQ) to better align its B.Sc. (AES) program with the requirements of the profession. The Faculty established the Office for Continuing Studies specifically for this purpose, and has led many successful workshops and short courses for the training of professionals (including an online course in Integrated and Adaptive Water Resources Planning, Management, and Governance, and a Fruit and Vegetable Handling and Processing Course).

While not strictly offering professional training in fields regulated by professional orders, the Schulich School of Music offers a Sound Recording Program and Performance Programs that are focused on professionally-oriented education. The sound recording MMus program is one of the leading professional programs worldwide for training in sound recording. It admits around eight students per year, all of whom go on to significant positions in the industry. A major part of their experience in the program is recording performances of the School’s ensembles, including live streaming of audio and video. Faculty members have won numerous Grammys and other major awards. The School’s performance programs train students to be professional musicians at the highest levels. During the last five years alumni have found positions in over 20 international orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre de Paris. The School’s opera singers have performed at the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, The Bayerische Staatsoper, and Glyndebourne, among many others.

The large majority of School of Continuing Studies learners seek to advance their professional careers – the School’s certificates and diplomas (more than 40 in total) are designed to help learners professionally. To ensure relevancy in content, SCS maintains close connection with the province’s professional orders and related employers/professional associations. Instructors in SCS programs and courses are practising professionals. The jointly-offered (Desautels/SCS) Graduate Certificate in Professional Accounting is a particularly strong example of providing access to both full-time (Desautels) and part-time (SCS) learners to a high quality professional program. In addition, SCS provides professional development opportunities to thousands of individuals each year.