U of T Mississauga’s Vice-President and Principal Alexandra Gillespie will soon launch forums for reflection to hear what matters most to the UTM community.
Over the next months and beyond, Gillespie will host open conversations with students, staff, librarians, and faculty to listen, learn and reflect: about what the pandemic has shown about the community’s diverse values and about what UTM does—or could do better—to represent them.
The forums, facilitated by Gillespie and a series of special guest moderators, including Chief Administrative Officer Saher Fazilat, Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management Lorretta Neebar, and Professor Fiona Rawle, associate dean, undergraduate, will serve as the foundation for the process of long-term campus-wide planning, to begin later in 2021.
Like conversations in the reflection forums, the campus-wide plan will emerge through collective dialogue, building on the momentum created by the Academic Plan, the Sustainability Plan, and the ongoing Master Plan. It will also aim to extend—and improve—Gillespie’s ongoing priorities around research and teaching excellence, equity and anti-racism, sustainability and well-being, and innovation and student support.
To best co-create this flexible strategy for future success, Gillespie hopes first to provide space to reflect in communal conversation—to think together about guiding principles for the campus’s future.
“I encourage people to think about times when UTM-based experiences, in the context of COVID-19 or otherwise, made them feel joyful, respected, appreciated—proud to be part of the campus,” she says. “I also encourage people to think about other times when it felt that their values didn’t matter as much as they should—when the university seemed out of step with their priorities.
“Naturally, I don’t presume that this exercise in institutional reflection will adequately address the challenges and grief experienced in the past year. But I do hope that it will convey an abiding truth: You matter. Your values and experiences matter and you deserve a university that will listen.”
Gillespie will host several forums for different members of the UTM community in the coming weeks, anchored by a campus-wide townhall at month’s end. The first event, on May 4, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET, invites participation from all UTM students. For subsequent events, plus information on how to register, please see the schedule and links below.