Panoramic view of Calgary

Ahead of Tomorrow

UCalgary's 2023-30 Strategic Plan

The University of Calgary’s remarkable trajectory reflects audacious growth and entrepreneurial spirit. Our students, postdocs, faculty, staff, and community have built a bold university in less than 60 years.

What is next?  How do we look beyond tomorrow?

We face universal challenges. But we are confident we can achieve global impact while remaining true to our Calgary community and values.

This Strategic Plan shapes our journey toward 2030, considered through long-term, foundational commitments to: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility; Indigenous Engagement; Mental Health; Global Engagement; and Sustainability.

Based on our unique approach to teaching and learning, research excellence, community partnership, and campus operations, this Strategic Plan and our foundational commitments together lay a mosaic for the future.

People walking along a path on campus with Elders Reg and Rose Crowshoe, and Dr. Michael Hart.

Ahead of Tomorrow

We inhabit a turbulent time, but we do so purposefully, ready to think and act ahead of tomorrow.

We equip students, postdocs, faculty, and staff with the ingenuity to improve the world.

We enable ambition and excellence, and we see challenges as opportunities that spark our singular mission – to dare to imagine ahead of tomorrow.

Our mission

The University of Calgary powers positive change.

We strive for inimitable excellence through innovative teaching and learning, cutting-edge exploration, and community linkage.

We seek to surpass today’s limitations, our quest a prosperous, compassionate, sustainable, and equitable world.

We lead change by combining academic excellence with a spirit of innovation. Knowledge creation and mobilization pilot our research, impelled by action and agility.

Our current and former students, postdocs, faculty, and staff, serve today while anticipating a tomorrow that we have the power to reframe.

Female student works with innovative technology in a kinesiology lab.
Students and community members participating in a Calgary Pride parade.

Our values

The University of Calgary values authenticity, inclusivity, diversity, and critical thinking.

We celebrate curiosity-driven investigation, fostering collaboration so that all can achieve their potential.

We strive for community-focused excellence and accessibility, a sense of belonging, where all can thrive.

We aim to spark global change, to solve what seems unsolvable.

We commit to recognition and reconciliation, to walking a parallel path together with Indigenous partners.

Our strategies

Our strategies will position the University of Calgary to leap ahead of tomorrow. They address both what we do and how we do it. These strategies will be realized through cross-cutting initiatives and through the decisions we make throughout the university.

Increase access to impactful and future-focused education

Goal: To educate transformative leaders.

Harness the power of research and innovation to tackle society’s biggest challenges

Goal: Maximize research impact.

Locate community at the centre of all we do

Goal: Enhance community relevance.

Make our processes clearer, simpler, better than any other university

Goal: Ensure it is simpler and faster to set ideas in motion here than at any other university.

Students sitting in a group talking with each other.

Strategy 1 – Increase access to impactful and future-focused education

Teaching and Learning Ahead of Tomorrow

By 2030, demand for post-secondary education is anticipated to rise dramatically.

Rapid change has whetted global appetite for transfiguring knowledge, for anticipatory design and content. Lifelong learning will fuel needed capability and resilience.

To support prospective students, we will provide a variety of formats and modalities, learning that equips students to question, navigate change, and distill information. Evolving curricula will cut across unforeseen obstacles through critical analysis, creative engagement, and ethical entrepreneurialism. 

The University of Calgary will be equitable and inclusive to all with talent and ambition, providing students with the tools to grapple with the unanticipated and to meet challenges that do not yet exist.

Our goal

To educate transformative leaders.

Objectives (2030)

  1. Become #1 University, U15 in student engagement.
  2. Increase total enrolment by 10,000 and graduate enrolment by 7,000.
  3. Ensure all students are provided an opportunity for meaningful entrepreneurial thinking within research and creative scholarship.

How we approach our work

We embrace new technologies and new discoveries to support innovation in teaching and learning.

Strategy 1: Cross-cutting initiatives


1. Increase average financial support for thesis-based graduate students to highest level in the U15 research universities.

Become a magnet for graduate students, attracting local, national, and international superstars, growing our economy and our reputation. (OBJECTIVES A, B)

2. Provide one semester of financial support for first-in-family students.

Students from families with no university history face unique uncertainties about investment in higher education. Support can open the door to expanded educational participation across communities. (OBJECTIVES A, B)

3. Develop innovative programming that anticipates tomorrow’s demands.

As student population diversifies and evolves, so must current practice. Meaningful experiential learning, rich in community engagement, will prepare students for future challenges. (OBJECTIVES A, C)

4. Expand understanding of the university’s foundational commitments.

Facilitate access for all seeking additional education in: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility; Indigenous Engagement; Mental Health; Global Engagement; and/or Sustainability. (Objective A) (also directly supports Strategy 3)

5. Expand required programming focussed on entrepreneurial thinking, research, and creative scholarship.

Tomorrow’s challenges will demand disciplinary expertise coupled with critical thinking and adaptable execution. Core programming will expose students to transdisciplinary windows and crossover latitude. (Objectives A, C)

Entrepreneurial thinking requires taking initiative, exchanging knowledge across disciplines, learning from experience, and resourcefully engaging with creative and cultural literacy. The University of Calgary is committed to ethical innovation that enriches lives and enhances society in every aspect.


Student interacting with virtual reality technology in a lab.

Strategy 2 – Harness the power of research and innovation to tackle society’s biggest challenges

Research Ahead of Tomorrow

Knowledge generation and its benefits grow commensurate with global complexity.

Research universities exert impact by involving members of the community.

Student research opportunities provide hands-on experience, portable skills, and the chance to work with faculty on world-changing projects.

Transdisciplinary research opportunities for scholars lead to new connections and unforeseen discoveries, a chance to tackle wicked challenges, too big for one scholar or one discipline to solve on their own.

Research opportunities for community partners lead to new collaborations and solutions.

Embedding research in all we do enhances our ability to change the world.

Our goal

Maximize research impact.

Objectives (2030)

  1. Become #1 University in U15, research revenue per scholar.
  2. Grow external research revenue to $750m a year.
  3. Grow our position as Canada’s #1 creator of start-ups to the top 50 start-up creators in the world.

How we approach our work

  • We will embed research opportunities in all student learning.
  • We will seek to collaborate with community partners, colleagues from other disciplines, and students.

Strategy 2: Cross-cutting initiatives


1. Create research opportunities for undergraduate students.

Involve students as partners, provide opportunity for paid summer research between first and second year to expand their practical knowledge of research and innovation. (OBJECTIVES A, B, C)

2. Expand transdisciplinary scholarship, partner with community on grand challenges.

Improve connections between faculties and departments to enable cross-appointments, shared analysis, and collaboration. Bolster campus-wide surges of activity to address society’s biggest quandaries. (OBJECTIVES A, B)

3. Develop our research and innovation ecosystem.

Invest in world-class facilities, equipment, and technology to grow our research and innovation ecosystem. Expand our capacity to support more student, postdoc, faculty, alumni and community endeavours. (OBJECTIVES A, B, C)


Rex interacting with the crowd at the Calgary Stampede.

Strategy 3 – Locate community at the centre of all we do

Community Engagement Ahead of Tomorrow

Surpassing tomorrow demands a deep connection to place, the multiple communities of Treaty 7, the City of Calgary, the country of Canada, and the world beyond tomorrow.

Community partnership means strengthening our connections to these interwoven spheres, to their many shared concerns, challenges and opportunities.  We must be poised to perform on the global stage.

Our goal

Enhance community relevance.

Objectives (2030)

  1. #1 in U15, community engagement.
  2. 25,000 students, faculty, and staff annually contribute to community challenges.
  3. Engage 100,000 alumni, donors and community members on an annual basis.

How we approach our work

Community is included by design throughout the process.

Strategy 3: Cross-cutting initiatives


1. Incentivize community engagement, expand credits, scholarships, and professional inducements for community-focused work.

Engagement with local and global communities enriches learning, strengthens connection, and promotes horizon collaboration. Community connection reciprocates interconnectivity, social acumen, and practical experience. (OBJECTIVES A, B, C) (ALSO DIRECTLY SUPPORTS STRATEGY 1)

2. Enhance engagement capacity through position of Associate Dean (Community).

Fostering community-first focus is currently everyone’s job but no-one’s responsibility. New Faculty Associate Dean positions would track, coordinate, and enable faculty-wide and faculty-specific approaches to knowledge mobilization, partnerships, alumni engagement, and community service. (OBJECTIVES A, B, C)

3. Seed and nourish local and global partnerships with community and industry.

Seek out partnerships with transformational potential, deepening community connection and elevating Calgary and Alberta on the world stage. (OBJECTIVES A, C)


Two people standing in the Hunter Student Commons, talking and interacting with an iPad.

Strategy 4 – Make our processes clearer, simpler, and better than any other university

Operate Ahead of Tomorrow

To unlock the potential of our students, postdocs, faculty, and staff, we must match our entrepreneurial outlook with commensurately flexible processes and services.

Our goal

Ensure it is simpler and faster to set ideas in motion here than at any other university.

Objectives (2030)

  1. #1 in U15, ease and speed of services and supports.
  2. #1 in U15, investment in professional development for postdocs, faculty, and staff.
  3. 90% of students, postdocs, faculty, and staff agree they have the tools and services necessary to manage their education or accomplish tasks.

How we approach our work

  • Choose nimble, lightweight processes.
  • Services and supports will find ways to address needs - quickly.
  • Clear processes, information, and explanations for decisions.

 

Strategy 4: Cross-cutting initiatives


1. Increase flexibility to change majors and register in other program’s courses, creating a more seamless student experience.

To foster transdisciplinary learning and collaboration and encourage diverse passions, faculties will make more out-of-program seats available to students. (OBJECTIVES A, C) (ALSO DIRECTLY SUPPORTS STRATEGY 1)

2. Annual re-orientation to increase awareness of services available to students, postdocs, faculty, and staff.

Create recurring opportunities across portfolios to build culture, develop skills, and become aware of supports and services available in teaching, research, community partnerships, and operations. (OBJECTIVES A, B, C)

3. Invest in process improvement and professional development.

Optimize student, postdoc, faculty, and staff experience. Identify and address areas where improvement would have the biggest impact, invest in training to shape university operations. (OBJECTIVES A, B, C)

After extensive planning, analysis and two rounds of community consultation, the strategic plan proposal evolved from its original draft and successfully moved through governance approval. Visit the link below to learn more about the strategic planning process.