Queen's University Queen's University

Principal's Message: Strengthening our Balanced Academy

Queen’s is uniquely positioned among Canada’s universities. No other institution combines our quality and intensity of research with our excellence in undergraduate and graduate education. It is this “balanced academy” that has built our reputation as one of Canada’s leading universities.

Our success is due in large measure to the exceptional faculty, staff and students who choose to work and study at Queen’s. However, all organizations are affected by their environment. As I suggested in The Third Juncture, we cannot simply take our success for granted in these times of economic change, technological advance, and the globalization of education and knowledge. Increased competition and significant financial challenges threaten to erode our ability to achieve our vision of being the quintessential balanced academy.

Already, the university faces significant cost pressures and restricted revenue growth due to constraints on tuition, static or declining government grants, and demographics that are not in our favour. Now, and over the coming years, we must act carefully and deliberately to ensure that we remain financially sustainable while at the same time staying true to our vision. With tighter limits on resources, this will mean difficult tradeoffs, and, as a result, commensurately difficult decisions (e.g., with respect to faculty renewal), but it will also mean new opportunities.

Diagram of balanced academy

The image shows Queen's unique position (upper right quadrant)
as the balanced academy.

This strategic framework serves as a capstone to a number of years of strategic planning at Queen’s and its purpose is to help the university achieve its vision. It does this by identifying four strategic drivers as the priorities that will guide our decision making over the next five years, to 2019. Each of these drivers—the student learning experience, research prominence, financial sustainability and internationalization—directly supports the success of our balanced academy.

The framework does not attempt to answer fundamental questions about what Queen’s might look like in 15 or 20 years; rather, it is meant to strengthen the university and make it more resilient in the turbulent times ahead. We expect that Queen’s will continue to be a publicly assisted university, and a genuinely balanced academy, one that takes equal pride in the quality of the education we provide and the strength of our commitment to research intensity, and we shall continue to be reliant (albeit to a lesser extent than currently) on provincial government grants and government controlled tuition fees. The framework will guide us as we collectively build a foundation that will ensure Queen’s remains a university where exceptional people continue to thrive in a dynamic and innovative academic community.

Many people have contributed to the development of this framework, including those who participated in the preparation of the planning documents that underpin the framework.  There are too many to single out, but I want to express my thanks to them all for their hard work, which is very much appreciated.

Daniel Woolf
Principal and Vice-Chancellor