Faculty Day

Faculty Day 2010: Defining Administrative Excellence was held on February 16, 2010 as part of the Faculty’s current planning exercise. The opportunity was used to obtain direct input from the staff to define administrative excellence, and develop plans to promote and sustain excellence and to improve as professionals.

The outcome of the day was a wealth of “raw material” with which administrative managers can now use to build action plans. The main theme expressed by the staff with respect to how they see themselves is that they exist to collaborate with others – faculty members, students and other staff. As well, the group of “non-academics” is not homogeneous; they view themselves as comprised of many different job types that should not automatically be categorized as the third group in our academic environment. They want to be seen as members of distinct professional groups. A third important revelation is that many of the staff do not have a bigger picture understanding of their place within the Faculty; they want to learn where and how they fit in.

Click here to read the Academic Strategic Plan, titled: “Collaboration for Excellence: Submission to Academic Planning on Behalf of the Administrative and Technical Staff.”

One of many great outcomes of the day is the vision of excellence that was collectively developed and validated by the group. The staff have defined administrative excellence as:

  • Providing quality service
  • Demonstrating high values
  • Going above and beyond
  • Creating a positive working environment

The staff had much to say about barriers to realizing this vision. The staff feel they need more information – this was a universal and consistent request – and they want it readily accessible via some electronic means. As well, they pointed out that interdepartmental differences and inconsistencies in policies and procedures hampered their ability to be effective as a group.

Based on the input from the staff, the following strategies to achieve this vision were identified for further development and inclusion in the academic plan:

  1. Use technology to share information: this includes information about the staff and their jobs; allows for the creation of special communities of staff; provides a forum for sharing best practices; and gives them voice to express constructive criticism and offer suggestions.
  2. Hold events to bring staff together: this includes continuing the Faculty Day annual event along with Departmental Open Houses to learn about different departments, Charity team building events, Happy Hour networking, Town Halls to bring academics and admin together, and Celebrate Success awards event.
  3. Create documents and statements: this would include the creation of an administrative plan to be incorporated into the academic plan of the Faculty currently being developed, and also provide for regular plan updates and measurements of progress against the plan; development of an administrative mission statement, separate but supportive of the Faculty’s mission; and other published reference documents in support of administrative excellence.
  4. Develop more formalized training: this would include Engineering specific administrative training; orientation specific to job roles; procedures manuals; standardization of student services approach; and secondments and job shadowing opportunities.

At this time, the management team is working to create specific action plans based on this material for inclusion in our new academic plan.


To learn more about the resulting feedback from Faculty Day, download the report titled: Collaborating for Excellence! Results of Faculty Day 2010: Defining Administrative Excellence, by Scott Ferguson (Facilitator for Faculty Day);