Strategic Initiative 1

Discovery and Innovation in a Learning-Centred Environment

Accountability: Vice-President Academic and Research

University-wide Initiatives

1. Promote innovative and distinctive pedagogies and student curriculum


Senior Advisor Teaching & Learning


Academic growth, intellectual curiosity

Progress Indicators:

  • innovations in curriculum (including exploring new credentials and alignment of learning objectives)

2. Improve the holistic student learning experience


Dean of Science


Academic growth, intellectual curiosity, intercultural learning

Progress Indicators:

  • percentage of students participating in cohort learning programming (by year group)

  • number of students in interdisciplinary programs

  • use of in-person and online advising tools (such as Success Maps)

  • percentage of students with internship, practicum and work-integrated learning

  • tracking external reports and assessments of student satisfaction with learning experience

3. Graduating students with creative and entrepreneurial mindsets


Dean, Sobey School of Business


Academic growth, intellectual curiosity, demonstrating resilience, engaging the community in an action-oriented manner

Progress Indicators:

  • increased enrolment in cross-faculty entrepreneurship program

  • number of credit and non-credit courses with entrepreneurship modules and percentage of students enrolling

4. Deliver a student-focused experiential and academic service-learning strategy


Senior Advisor, Teaching and Learning, Chair Senate Committee, Dean of Arts


Academic growth, intellectual curiosity, demonstrating resilience, engaging the community in an action-oriented manner, exercising ethical wisdom

Progress Indicators:

  • percentage of students with internship, practicum and work-integrated learning experience

  • employment rates of graduates

  • advising rates through Career Counselling

  • percentage of student participation in co-curricular record

5. Promote both foundational and community-engaged research


AVP and Dean Graduate Studies and Research, University Librarian


Academic growth, intellectual curiosity, action-oriented engagement of our alumni and community

Progress Indicators:

  • number of community based, community engaged research projects

  • research funding/prizes/awards

  • percentage of undergraduate students with research experience

  • research plan renewal

Saint Mary’s learning-centred environment places a high value on the process of research and innovation, as students, as professors, as researchers, ensuring that we are not simply transferring knowledge but creating it – the distinguishing feature of a high-quality university. As a university we are student-centred, but at Saint Mary’s University we are all learners.

Our learning-centred environment brings faculty and students together in a complementary pursuit of learning – it lays a foundation for a broadened and more meaningful faculty and student interaction.  Teaching and research are complementary, and Saint Mary’s takes pride in its commitment and ability to integrate the two.

Attention to first-year or transition-success initiatives has been growing at Saint Mary’s. The development of academic learning communities, a peer mentorship program, university-wide academic orientation, and new workshops specific to the needs of first-year students in information literacy, writing skills, and numeracy have been extremely beneficial to students transitioning into our university environment.

At Saint Mary’s, we have a practice of seeking ways to support faculty talents and community interests in order to develop research programs that meet the needs and interests of our society and of our students.

We are highly ranked among Canadian universities for research: Saint Mary’s placed 35 out of 100+ institutions for the intensity and impact of our research. Saint Mary’s receives over $8 million annually from outsides funding sources including the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Canada Research Chairs.

Saint Mary’s long-standing commitment to critical thinking, innovation and entrepreneurial education and training has been a differentiator for the University – we remain one of the few universities that has a major in entrepreneurship for our students in both Business and Arts with associated co-op options.

Our students, their parents, the community and future employers are looking to us to prepare students for their future careers. We will highlight our work with students on their career planning through student focused experiential learning opportunities. We will increase student engagement with our career advisors and encourage use of our unique Success Maps tool that helps set goals, track accomplishments, discover new opportunities, and prepare for their post-graduation career.