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What is ASAP 2012?

ASAP 2012: Achieving Strategic Academic Priorities is the formal statement of McGill’s new five-year strategic academic plan—a roadmap that lays out our goals and our vision for McGill through 2017. Despite its acronym—“ASAP”—the plan has been years in the making. The academic priorities, goals, strategies and actions of the University identified in this foundational document provide the structure from which other planning activities and resource allocations, are—or will be—derived. Read more in the “About ASAP ” section of this site. You can also read ASAP 2012,either online or by downloading the PDF icon PDF Format.

Why is ASAP 2012 necessary?

ASAP 2012 builds on the successes of Strengths and Aspirations, the 2006 white paper, and takes as its starting point those areas in need of further attention and follow-up.  We needed updated, articulated plan with measurable goals and to ensure that our University-wide priorities represent those of our students, staff and faculty. Read more in the “About ASAP” section of this site.

Why now?

So much has changed since 2006 that in order to be relevant and current, ASAP 2012 takes into account and responds to the economic, political, global and technological change during the past six years. Read more in the “About ASAP” section of this site.

What is new about ASAP?

In particular, ASAP will help us to take advantage of and harness technological advances that have transformed research, teaching and learning on campus, in the community, and around the globe. In addition, ASAP 2012 notes the importance of both research and creative activity, alluded to, but not emphasized, in the 2006 white paper. Read more in the “Why does it matter?” section of this site.

Will ASAP really change anything?

Actually, ASAP 2012 will change a lot of things—including the improvement of undergraduate research opportunities, graduate supervision, professional development for staff and academic renewal for faculty. You’ll find more information about these and other initiatives in the “Why does it matter?” section of this site.

To what extent was the McGill community consulted as ASAP 2012 was developed?

ASAP 2012 was developed with extensive community-wide outreach and consultation. Over an 18-month period, the Provost offered presentations, conducted consultative sessions, and solicited feedback from faculty, students, staff and governance leaders, all of whom contributed to the plan’s focus and content. Recommendations were offered by six work groups that brought together 100 professors, staff and students from every faculty and administrative unit at McGill. Feedback from these activities was incorporated into ASAP 2012, as was information from submissions by academic and administrative unitsRead more in the “About ASAP” section of the site.

Did the University Senate have a role?

The consultation process included multiple presentations to Senate, the University governing body that endorsed the principles of ASAP 2012 on October 17, 2012. For an example of the Provost’s presentations to Senate see the Office presentation icon ASAP 2012 Report to Senate (May 2012).

What did we learn from the ASAP 2012 planning and consultation process?

The ASAP 2012 planning process taught us about what is important to students, faculty and staff, and produced valuable lessons that are reflected in the final version of the plan. The University-wide consultations reinforced our view that McGill’s many accomplishments must be better communicated internally and externally. We also learned that there is interest in furthering opportunities for collaboration across the McGill community. You can read more about these in the “About ASAP” section of the site, or in the progress update document. 

How will ASAP 2012 affect my department, faculty or administrative unit?

ASAP 2012 and its related evaluations, adjustments, and iterations will provide the principal inputs for subsequent planning efforts. Each faculty or school and administrative unit is expected to find local expression for University-level priorities, strategies, and actions outlined in this strategic plan.

I’ve heard about the SRP, the SEM, the SRI, and now ASAP 2012. How are these strategic projects different? How do they all fit together?

As the University’s strategic academic plan, ASAP 2012 draws on and provides direction for all other planning efforts.

  • Strategic Research Plan (SRP), a stand-alone document directly related to ASAP 2012’s research objectives, expresses McGill’s core commitments to ideas, innovation, sustainability, collaboration and partnership, and social engagement in research. For details, visit the SRP website.
  • Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) provides a comprehensive review of how students are recruited, enrolled and retained, and about how enrolment decisions reflect McGill’s goals and priorities. For details, PDF icon read more about SEM.
  • Strategic Reframing Initiative (SRI), on the other hand, is not a planning document but rather a series of projects designed to increase efficiency. These projects are designed to transform the way we work in order to make more efficient use of existing resources as well as to acquire additional resources. For more information, please visit the SRI website (note the SRI site has been archived, 2016-04-12). One example of an SRI project is the Financial & Budget Model(FBM) discussed above.

Planning is great, but how can we measure whether ASAP is successful?

A planned annual cycle of routine evaluation, reporting, and as needed, adjustment of academic goals and objectives provide the cornerstone of current planning efforts. A framework for assessing progress will provide multiple empirical measures, including KPIs and academic analytics, and where appropriate, qualitative assessments, for ASAP 2012 strategies and actions. These metrics will hold the University and its units accountable for continuous work to achieve goals and objectives. At the same time, any set of metrics or indicators should be viewed as part of an overall assessment about our progress.

This all sounds expensive. Does it make sense to do this when we’re so tight on funding?

It is true that significant budget constraints and economic uncertainty loom now and the years ahead. Nevertheless, McGill will not compromise on quality in research, teaching and services to our students. ASAP 2012 will guide our strategic decisions and help us to identify meaningful tradeoffs.

How will these changes and innovations be funded?

ASAP 2012, like its predecessor, outlines the strategic academic priorities that will drive resource allocation, and there are already strong linkages to budget development. The very same academic priorities that inform multi-year budgeting are also the key to all other resource allocations to each faculty, administrative unit and support service. 

Funding and implementation of elements in the plan will involve decisions by senior administration in consultation with Deans of the Faculties, Schools and Libraries, facilitated through a revised Financial Budget Model (FBM), an enhancements process designed to integrate budgeting and reporting across the University. Read more about FBM.

If I have questions that aren’t answered here, who do I ask?

Please send your questions and comments to whitepaper [at] mcgill [dot] ca. We will make every attempt to respond.

How can I make my individual opinion heard?

If you have something you’d like to contribute or add, please send your comments and suggestions using the feedback form or by sending an email to whitepaper [at] mcgill [dot] ca. Please also be sure to contact your Dean, Vice-Principal, or department head to offer your suggestions.