Strategic Plan 2019-2024
The School of Science and the Environment of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, is a collegial academic community which strives for high caliber of scholarship and a sustainable approach to environmental issues. The School builds its reputation through excellence in dedicated teaching, innovative research and socially relevant engagement.
The School of Science and the Environment is dedicated to:
a) achieving the highest standards of quality in creation and dissemination of knowledge by promoting collaboration and integration among different disciplines in solving challenging issues of science and the environment;
b) inspiring and educating our students to prepare the next generation of professionals, scientists, and citizens able to successfully engage in building a sustainable future while protecting the environment;
c) creating an inclusive atmosphere of cooperation with other universities, from Canada and abroad, and engagement with communities, government, industry, Indigenous groups and the public to promote positive change in society towards environmental knowledge, awareness and sustainability.
Our core values are defined in harmony with those of Memorial University – we stand for academic freedom, inclusiveness, diversity, respect, and integrity. Our School has a strong responsibility to prosperity and success of our "place" and a commitment to principles of sustainability. Our students remain our priority and we value engagement and collaboration as a means to achieve excellence in teaching, research and engagement.
The School of Science and the Environment collectively established strategic goals for the next five years which are aligned with Vision 20/20 and the mandate of Memorial University. These goals are:
- to enrich and strengthen the academic environment by enhancing and deepening integration of disciplines across teaching, research and engagement;
- to expose students to stronger programs that integrate active learning opportunities and experiences within and outside the University in preparation for future success;
- to enhance research capacity to the benefit of the School, the people of the province, and beyond; and
- to foster sustainability in the broadest sense.
The School of Science and the Environment was established within Memorial University to help define and further develop Grenfell's distinctive research and teaching identity. The School's activities are guided by Memorial's three frameworks, notably teaching and learning, research, and engagement. Our diversity within a tightly interconnected community is our core strength, and our diversity reflects our strong commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching.
The School of Science and the Environment is home to a powerful and diverse combination of disciplines in the sciences and disciplines relating to the environment, embracing highly successful scholarship with a fundamental and/or applied focus in the fields of environmental science, environmental and sustainability studies and policy, mathematics, physics, resource management, and sustainability science. Underpinning our research agenda is dedicated and innovative faculty and considerable infrastructure that includes a research laboratory facility and other laboratories throughout the campus, an observatory, a herbarium, a research institute, and supporting operations.
Close interactions among faculty, staff and students provide a strong foundation for educational success, based on the constant pursuit and implementation of quality teaching, a long-standing tradition of outstanding undergraduate experience, significant expertise in interdisciplinary programming, and dedication to further development of graduate studies. Our students enjoy small classes, flexible programs, hands-on research experience, outdoor field and pursuits courses, and opportunities for engaged and interdisciplinary study. The School currently features six undergraduate programs and two graduate programs focused on the environment and issues of central concern to our province.
The strengths of our School include a strong sense of "place" with exceptional research capacity in environmental policy, boreal ecosystems in agricultural and forest science, sustainability in the natural, economic and political sciences, subatomic physics and astrophysics, logic, modelling and discrete mathematics. Our strategic direction reflects our identity and aspirations and our special obligation to the people of this province. Through our programming and research, we maintain traditionally strong ties with the community, and have relationships with various partners including the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the City of Corner Brook, and numerous regional organizations and industries. Moreover, the School of Science and the Environment is committed to expanding its links to assist Memorial University in internationalizing and indigenizing the University and thereby our province.
Emerging opportunities reflect the contemporary approaches to fundamental and applied challenges in natural and social environments. They include synergy, growth and development in mathematical and ecological modeling, boreal ecosystem science, environmental policy, environmental health, and novel transdisciplinary approaches to address social-ecological systems to be implemented in both research and teaching.
- The environmental science, policy, and sustainability strengths developed within the School provide a unique platform to combine the social and the ecological approaches to environmental problems.
- Integrating and building interdisciplinary expertise in fundamental sciences including chemistry, biology, earth science, physics and mathematics provide a powerful base for fundamental environmental research.
- Developing an integrated view of the boreal environment allows for shaping of research directions and infrastructure to accommodate and link fundamental and applied projects in agriculture, forestry, geology and ocean science related to our environment.
- Our holistic approach to environmental issues, our diverse expertise and existing high-end infrastructure, allows us to transcend the boreal ecozone focus, give students access to world-class experience resulting in growing enrollment, and expand our collaborations worldwide.
Strategic objectives in teaching, research and engagement
The School of Science and the Environment features a strong academic foundation enhanced by growing undergraduate and graduate programs, diverse research directions, vast community interactions and developing infrastructure. To further develop our strengths on this foundation we shall strive to implement the following objectives for each of the above four goals:
1. With the goal to enrich and strengthen the academic environment by enhancing and deepening integration of disciplines across teaching, research and engagement:
2. With the goal to expose students to stronger programs that integrate active learning opportunities and experiences within and outside the University in preparation for future success:
- build the sustainable applied and fundamental research and teaching capacity, and strengthen the identity of the School;
- support growth in teaching, research and engagement activities and ensure academic and professional growth and well-being of the School community;
- develop collaboration between natural, physical, computational, social and applied sciences, as well as those in other Schools to foster interdisciplinary integration;
- promote a culture of appreciation for achievements in teaching, research and engagement, and ensure high quality experiences for faculty, staff and students;
- improve efficiencies in the work of teaching and research staff and encourage more career development through professional development opportunities in areas that are integral to providing the best research and educational environment within the School;
- increase (including seeking opportunities through engagement and fundraising) the support for undergraduate and graduate student learning, travel and internships, to ensure that our students receive quality and state-of-the-art training in skills and knowledge to prepare them for future success;
- increase flexibility in course choice, improve efficiencies in course delivery, and promote interdisciplinarity and experiential learning activities (including research experience, teaching assistance, and community engagement components) to ensure high quality and sustainability of revised and newly developed programs;
- increase enrolment in our programs through the strategic development of recruitment and retention activities, locally, nationally and internationally;
3. With the goal to enhance research capacity to the benefit of the School, the people of the province, and beyond:
- improve management of school infrastructure and services to establish, sustain, and grow attractive facilities, laboratories and equipment for teaching and research;
- seek research projects such as those that build on our areas of strength, foster collaboration across sciences, and promote scientific awareness, environmental education and sustainability in the community through scientifically, socially and environmentally relevant partnerships;
- enhance the impact of our research by maintaining the existing collaborations and leveraging new strategic partnerships with Canadian and international universities.
4) With the goal to foster sustainability in the broadest sense:
- systematically integrate sustainability in teaching, learning and research where appropriate;
- increase engagement with our Alumni to mentor students in graduate and undergraduate programs, take part in fundraising activities, and have other interactions with the School;
- promote Indigenisation and cultural exchanges within community and the School;
- promote greater awareness of the work of our programs and research to the general public by connecting more strongly with the community through school visits, participation in special events to showcase the School, and through other events that have been ongoing; and encourage more interaction with the media and with local media partners;
- aim to shape a sustainable future by bringing meaningful change towards environmental knowledge, awareness and sustainability in the academic and local communities.