I have immersed myself for the last three weeks in listening to and learning from the extended Quest community: students, staff, faculty, alumni, families, and friends. It has been a privilege to see and hear your love for Quest, your commitment to our education and community, and your visions for our future.
The timeline for my Interim Presidency runs through the coming 2017-2018 academic year into next summer. During this time, the Board will be conducting the search process for our next President, whom we hope to welcome in the summer of 2018. During this period, I will be focusing on a number of shorter-term and longer-term goals to provide both stewardship in the present, and leadership into the future, in ways that actively build on Quest’s vision, mission, and values. Below I will outline three initial goals that I have begun to work on now.
1. Transition Planning
Planning the transition to our next President is an exciting opportunity and focus for the coming year. I will be working to establish aTransition Team that will oversee the design and implementation of a Transition Plan. An effective Transition Team holds the essential responsibility of reaching out to and representing the many stakeholders in the larger Quest community. The outcome of an effective Transition Plan is a community that has devoted time and effort to directed reflection and growth, and offers a supportive and welcoming foundation to help launch the new President and future strategic initiatives.
The main features of this plan include a timeline, a briefing book, event planning, and relationship development and information transfer between the outgoing and the incoming Presidents. The Transition Timeline is tightly tied to the search timeline (more on this below). ATransition Briefing Book includes a summary of the university’s history, values, mission, and strategic plans; external and internal reviews of our capacities, strengths, and areas for growth; and a comprehensive map of the extensive network of Quest’s many partners and supporters. Transition Events include opportunities to celebrate the successes of the past, and welcome the new President and the future. Over the summer, I will be focusing on forming and working with the Transition Team to outline the timeframe and milestones for the year, and provide regular updates.
The Board of Governors has provided this update on the Presidential search process:
The Board will be seeking general comments from the different Quest communities about the search process through June 30.During that time, we will schedule a meeting with those involved in the prior presidential search to discuss lessons learned, and any recommendations for the Board for the new search. Faculty, alumni, students, or parents who would also like to make suggestions to the Board about the search process are invited to provide them during this time. The Board would especially appreciate input that results from group discussions that represent a larger consensus, but will also take individual emails or letters. If a group would like to meet with a Board representative, we will make our best efforts to arrange that. We would especially appreciate comments on whether an open process, where the finalist(s) would openly visit campus before final selection, would be valued. The Board was advised against an open process last time, but is willing to investigate again the possibility of an open process if it is important to the broader Quest community. After the Board receives and reviews the community input, the search plan will be completed and the search committee established. The target date for the final plan and search committee appointment is July 31. The entire process is expected to take approximately a year to complete. We will provide specific opportunities for communication as we move forward.
For updates on Transition Planning and the Presidential search, please check the Interim President’s webpage.
2. Alumni Network Development
Quest is fortunate to have a growing network of vibrant alumni. A group of local alumni met with me recently on campus (mostly in person; with some via video-conference) for a lively discussion of how to structure and grow their network and capacity. The main areas they will be focusing on are (1) designing their leadership and organizational structure and their communication routes, (2) developing and populating a contact- and information-sharing network, (3) planning social and personal/professional development events, and (4) planning fundraising initiatives. Alumni, family, and friends of Quest can look forward to hearing more from the alumni, in partnership with Quest’s Office of Alumni and Development, as they proceed.
3. 10th Anniversary Celebrations
Quest has nearly reached the end of its 10th year! As we look forward to our second decade, we will take the opportunity to reflect on the tremendous growth and successes of our first ten years. Part of that reflection includes the recognition of all of the individuals and groups that have made Quest the extraordinary place that it is today. We are planning a year of celebrations in honour of our 10th Anniversary to say thank you to all of the people who have contributed to the success of our innovative community of learners. The celebrations will occur throughout the year and include Convocation, Family Weekend, Keystone Presentations, and other University events. Quest’s Office of Alumni and Development will be coordinating these activities and will welcome your input. We will invite alumni, parents, friends of the University, and members of the Squamish community to campus to take part in these celebrations. Please check out our events calendar to learn more details throughout the year, and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected.
Transition planning, alumni network development, and 10th anniversary celebrations are all intensive goals for the coming year through which we will celebrate our past accomplishments, reflect on and frame our present, and build strong support for the future. The coming year will of course bring our usual excitement of Cornerstone activities, Question development, and Keystone scholarship, with a calendar full of intensive, challenging, and creative courses and co-curricular events.
Today is my fourth weekly update since beginning in my new role. For the remainder of the summer, we will resume the alternating monthly schedule of a Quest Newsletter, and a letter from the Office of the President. You can look forward to further news and updates through those media.
Marjorie Wonham, PhD
Quest University Canada