Vice-President Academic & Provost Patrick Monahan has issued this message to the York community:
York University faces crucial financial, structural and competitive challenges – some of which are common to postsecondary education in Ontario and around the world and some that are particular to York. Higher education is in a significant period of change, and pressures to adapt to new forms of technology, new ways in which students learn and new forms of competition mean that the pace and pressure for change will only increase in the years ahead. As the recent Drummond Report underlines, these pressures are being felt in a fiscal environment where resources are becoming even more scarce, making the challenge of adapting to change even more difficult. It is important in this context that we promote appreciation of these issues among all members of our community and foster dialogue across campus about how we can work together to address these difficult questions.
As the president announced at Senate recently, we are establishing an advisory council on academic innovation to work with me in examining the changing environment in higher education and exploring ways in which York can ensure that our commitment to academic innovation continues to be reflected in our approach to teaching and learning. This will include, for example, consideration of how York can incorporate best practices and innovations in teaching and learning, including online and blended learning and experiential education; gaining a better understanding of the educational needs of current and prospective students, and exploring how to address those needs; and reputation-building. The draft terms of reference for the advisory council can be found here.
The Provost’s Advisory Council will include a mix of faculty (full-time and part-time), staff and students from across York, as well as alumni and members of the Board of Governors. It is not intended to be a decision-making body, but will provide a forum for a candid exchange of views and for testing ideas about initiatives and will provide advice to me about academic priorities. I expect the group will meet about once a month.
I would welcome expressions of interest from members of the community in joining this important body. If you would be interested in serving on the Provost’s Advisory Council, please send a brief communication to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, describing the reasons for your interest and indicating how you believe you could contribute to the council.
I look forward to working with members of the community, both through this advisory council and in other venues, towards the achievement of our shared priorities.