DLSPH Open: Creating a Strong Academic Plan for the DLSPH

November 6/2018

Academic planning is an integral part of the University of Toronto ecosystem and I am pleased to share that this fall, the DLSPH initiated an academic planning process to complete a plan covering 2019 to 2024.

The DLSPH has enjoyed tremendous growth and success since transitioning from a school to a faculty. Thanks to the hard work of our community, our student enrolment is high, our faculty compliment is growing, our international reputation is strong, and our impact on health is broadly felt. Guided by deep engagement with our community, there’s more we can do to make the DLSPH even greater.

An academic plan is critical to the growth of our School because it recognizes our shared values, reinforces our brand, ensures consistency with U of T’s long-term goals and identifies (and addresses) resource needs and gaps. Perhaps most importantly, it will guide investments, advancement and engagement at the School, and support collaboration among faculty and staff as well as partnership development.

This work is built on the Operational Plan (2017-2020), which harmonized the School’s draft strategic plan, the UTQAP external review report, the UTQAP administrative response, IHPME’s strategic plan and other foundational documents. It took a tactical approach to continuing the School’s forward momentum under interim leadership. Now it’s time to develop an overarching strategic document that allows us to measure our progress over the next five years.

This is not about creating an exhaustive list of activities, targets or a broad set of strategic statements. The planning process will be a collaborative, iterative, transparent and accountable process that identifies a specific list of key initiatives for investment and faculty leadership.

With the support of our senior administrative team, we’ve taken the first step by summarizing what we’ve heard across the DLSPH over the last year as well as key ideas from donors and partners. The purpose of the What I have Heard document is to kick-start discussions and focus feedback on concrete options and encourage suggestions that are similarly concrete.

Here’s an overview of the six themes for consideration outlined in the What I have Heard 2018 document:

  1. Building stronger interdisciplinary and collaborative research
  2. Expanding innovative degree and continuing education programs
  3. Creating an inclusive and better student experience
  4. Increasing internationalization of our research and education
  5. Coordinating and supporting engagement for greater health system impact
  6. Improving our management and our local health system partnerships

The purpose of this document is to kick start the creation of our academic plan. These themes and ideas are not a closed list of options, rather it is just a way to begin conversations that we will continue over the next six months at faculty meetings and other venues. We will target the completion of our planning process and submission of our academic plan to university governance by spring of 2019.

Here’s an overview of the timeline for academic planning:

The next steps are to work with all DLSPH stakeholders in both graduate units — students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners — to gather input on the What I have Heard document and benchmarking report, prepare materials for engagement activities, and work with alumni to consider strategic options for engagement of this key group. Finally, we will consult with Simcoe Hall and the Council of Health Sciences for approval of the plan before implementation.

I encourage everyone to review the What I have Heard document and there will be an opportunity to have your voice heard at a half day retreat later this fall.

All are welcome to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns as we look forward to your input and engagement.


Adalsteinn Brown
Dean and Professor
Dalla Lana School of Public Health