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New 'Capstone' brings together university frameworks, other plans

Feb. 6, 2013

Memorial University’s plans for the remainder of this decade are coming together in a new document that will help guide the institution until 2020.

Titled “Capstone”, it was commissioned by Memorial’s president, Dr. Gary Kachanoski. “This is a natural progression from the extensive processes that the university undertook to develop Memorial’s three frameworks in teaching and learning, research and public engagement,” he said.

“I was struck by the outcomes of each of those processes,” he added. “They reflected a true desire to distinguish Memorial as a top, public university in Canada and beyond, and to ensure that we build on our areas of strength. At the same time, the frameworks underscored the deep understanding of the university’s importance to the province and Memorial’s responsibility to fulfill its special obligation to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. So, it became obvious that we needed those sentiments expressed together in a single document.”

The president asked leaders involved in the development of the frameworks – Dr. Doreen Neville (Teaching and Learning), Dr. Ray Gosine (Research Strategy) and Dr. Rob Greenwood (Public Engagement) – to bring together the findings from each into an overarching concept that sets out the institution’s vision, mission and core values.

“The essential part of Memorial’s mission is in the areas of teaching and learning, research and public engagement,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “We had the three individual frameworks, we had other essential plans, for example, the Aboriginal task force report, we had our past strategic plans, and I asked them to knit them together to develop the overview.”

Dr. Kachanoski said that he outlined the process to develop the Capstone to Senate, understanding that the extensive consultations around the frameworks would provide the foundation for the final document.

Dr. Neville, who co-led the Teaching and Learning Framework with Albert Johnson, explained: “The draft Capstone document has been informed by the frameworks and the considerable external and internal public consultation that led to their development.”

The Working Group reviewed the frameworks for their vision and mission statements and values, as well as the existing institutional mission statement and values.

“Despite years of planning, Memorial has never developed a formal, institutional vision statement, and that needed to be one product of this process,” said Dr. Greenwood. “And, as we reviewed the feedback and the approved frameworks, it became apparent that both the institution’s mission statement and list of core values needed some minor adjustments.”

Dr. Gosine added: “Each of the frameworks set out a vision and mission and a set of core values that will guide how we operationalize them. So we used them as the foundation for the creation of the new vision, the changes to the mission and the reshaping of the core values.”

With a draft in hand, Dr. Kachanoski brought the document to deans and directors for review and feedback.

“With their valuable input and support, I’m now asking our deans and directors to bring the Capstone to their academic departments and other units for discussion,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “At the same time we’ll be sharing it with student leaders and the Senate planning committee. The plan is to garner comment and feedback over the next several weeks as we move to completing a final document. Once that‘s done, I will bring it to full Senate for its consideration, and then to the Board of Regents.” 

Dr. Kachanoski said he expects that the final Capstone planning document should be ready by the end of the winter semester.

“Then this will be an important guide for the university from now until 2020, as we make resource allocation and other decisions,” he said. “Unit plans will need to align with the goals and objectives of the frameworks and the vision, mission and core values expressed in the Capstone.” 

The draft document is available for review on the president’s website at Comments can be addressed to