Thompson Rivers University is painstakingly consulting a variety of sectors in drafting its five-year plan.
But although 10 faculty members sit on the 35-member committee assigned to gather input, TRU’s Faculty Association says it isn’t being represented.
So the union is conducting its own parallel consultation process to ensure its members’ desires hold sway in the university’s strategy for the future.
TRUFA’s process will coincide with strategic priorities advisory committee efforts, with both ending in mid-December, but it’s unlikely the effort will have much influence.
“I certainly wouldn’t make a commitment to seeing (the results of TRUFA’s consultation),” said committee co-chair Kate Sutherland.
However, she added, that doesn’t mean the faculty association’s views won’t be represented.
“We’re going to have a lot of opportunities to consult with faculty but also equally importantly, a lot of opportunities to consult with students and community members,” said Sutherland.
TRUFA president Jason Brown said the union launched its own consultation of faculty members after a request to sit on the advisory committee was turned down. Committee members were chosen and appointed by a senate subcommittee.
Through its process, TRUFA hopes to maintain a strong focus on quality education and the community the university serves, said Brown.
“This institution’s always been closely associated with serving the needs of the local community,” he said.
“In the type of economic market we’re in these days, some institutions are focusing on revenue generation through global partnerships and things like that. We’re not saying it’s not important to make sure you can pay the bills but we don’t want to lose sight of where we came from in this process of planning where we’re going.”
Sutherland said advisory committee members were chosen through a laborious nomination process with the ultimate goal of diversity.
The group includes 10 students, 10 faculty members, five staff, three community members, three resource personnel, two alumni, two co-chairs and a dean.
Although most of the group’s members can identify themselves with certain organizations, they were asked to represent only their own vision.
“The message has been to come to this committee with open minds and open hearts, not to see themselves in roles where they’re advocating for particular interest groups but rather to see themselves as advocating for the university,” said Sutherland.
The public is currently being asked to provide input by filling out a survey at tru.ca/strategicpriorities.