Marcus Shantz, Conrad Grebel University College’s president, provided an overview of Grebel’s new strategic plan during the school’s annual general meeting on Oct 4.
Entitled “Renewing an inspired community,” Shantz said, “The main hope our stakeholders expressed was for Grebel to thrive in the future. No one advised us to radically change our identity, our programs or our mission. Rather, they encouraged us to be good stewards of the college in the face of various challenges and pressures, so that it endures for the benefit of future generations.”
Consultant Rebecca Sutherns assisted in a process that involved faculty and staff, students, alumni, donors, the board, and partners in the Mennonite church and at the University of Waterloo. These conversations affirmed that Grebel is a place that inspires its people to build community, seek wisdom, and pursue peace and justice, long after they leave Grebel’s halls and classrooms.
Four areas of focus emerged from these consultations, which centre attention on the core of the College’s mission:
- The student experience;
- Excellence in learning;
- Resilience for the future; and
- Relationships with key partners in the university, church and wider community.
The plan reaches to 2025.
Shantz said that “implementing this strategic plan requires us to function like a large jazz band rather than as an orchestra. The written plan establishes the time signature, the key and the tempo—but improvisation and individual creativity are required in order to produce a great result.”
“My role on the Strategic Plan Steering Committee was to act as a student voice,” said Jocelyn Bretzlaff, last year’s student council president. “However, I am pleased to say that I was not the only student to provide input during this process. Through virtual feedback sessions, we received valuable recommendations from a variety of student perspectives. As a result, I can confidently say that the plan's centring on students focus is well informed. It focuses on what is really important to students, and I am incredibly excited to see it come to fruition.”
Andrew Roth, Grebel’s incoming board chair, said, “This was a helpful process for the board, as we engaged in a broader perspective that helps us provide guidance and support to the college’s administration. We are keenly aware of the need for upgrades to some of our building systems to enhance the health and comfort of our students, faculty and staff, as we try to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions. We also realize the need for endowments to fund our unique programs as a Mennonite college.”
The AGM included financial reports that documented a small deficit for 2021-22, but a strong balance sheet and progress on growing the endowment portfolio.
Learn more about Grebel’s 2022-25 strategic plan at uwaterloo.ca/grebel/about-grebel/strategic-plan-2022-2025.