Vision and Goals: you spoke, we listened


Vision and Goals: you spoke, we listened

It was early October. After months spent brainstorming with community members, after weeks spent painstakingly combing through piles of feedback, and after days spent locked away as a writing team… we finally had it. The draft set of Vision and Goals. Or should I say – the preliminary draft.

We were about to host five open working groups for the express purpose of giving anybody on campus a chance to sink their teeth into the draft – to really tear it apart. We knew it would be provocative. The third draft (there was a second draft in between!) was incomplete yet brimming with potential. We needed help – and so we invited staff, students, administrators, and faculty to give their feedback at working groups on Research, Teaching, Connectivity, Operations, and Administration & Governance.

At each working group, participants read through the draft on their own, discussed it in groups, and fine-tuned or overhauled the goals related to each category. Feedback was structured according to gut reactions, favourites, missing elements, and major critiques.

This process was invaluable. Participants committed their time and we committed to listen and subsequently incorporate feedback into a new draft. The latest draft Vision & Goals document is so much stronger now than it was in early October, thanks to many passionate and engaged voices.

Here are some examples of the key changes we made to the draft following working groups:

  • We described the context of sustainability as an issue of urgent concern, given parallel ecological, social, and economic crises (e.g., climate change).
  • We strengthened the language to make it clear that working toward sustainability is imperative. It is a must have, not a nice to have.
  • The Vision statement was shortened and its future orientation was emphasized.
  • We clarified the process of Vision 2020, both in terms of why it is needed and how we will work toward achieving our vision and goals through next steps. We emphasized that this will not just be a policy on the wall, and that it will feed into a comprehensive Sustainability Strategy and subsequent Implementation Plan.
  • We provided context for what we mean by sustainability in terms of Research, Teaching, Connectivity, Operations, and Administration & Governance.
  • We made some goals more ambitious (e.g., the goal for waste, the goal for energy), added in missing goals (e.g., addressing the resource implications of research, health and wellness), and revised others to be more understandable and actionable.
  • We included one appendix explaining the Vision 2020 engagement process and another explaining how Vision 2020 aligns (or doesn’t align) with existing high-level processes.

All in all, it took a lot of time and many conversations to get to our current draft document. Throughout working groups, participants were clearly hungry to move onto discussing how we can make these goals a reality. As we move toward finalizing the Vision & Goals, we will finally be at a stage where collective action can be grounded in a set of community wide goals for sustainability.

Check out our online feedback tool and our upcoming giant hallway displays, which present the latest version of the Vision and Goals report for ALL of your comments and critiques.

- Josee Méthot

See the McGill Vision2020 Blog