Sask Polytech aims high with new strategic plan: ‘Leading the Rise’

By Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO

Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s new strategic plan sets a bold ambition for the institution, one that empowers learners and employers with the advantages of a polytechnic education.

Leading the Rise” outlines a five-year strategy to ensure that the people of Saskatchewan have the knowledge and know-how—hallmark features of a polytechnic education—to succeed in all walks of life and along all career paths.

Strategic plans are critical tools for post-secondary institutions because they serve as roadmaps while outlining measurable goals towards attaining a vision and an impactful outcome. Without a solid plan, it is virtually impossible for any organization to pivot and adapt to changes brought on by disruption without losing sight of its core mission and values.

As thousands of our graduates know, a polytechnic education not only delivers applied learning; it combines the in-depth study found at university with practical, technology-based skills training.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic provides the depth of learning appropriate to every employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and Bachelor’s degree programs, and apprenticeship training. We are a leader in innovation and applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support businesses and communities, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills through hands-on experience with R&D and innovation. We cater to learners of all backgrounds and ages who want to build their skillsets and achieve their goals in the complex 21st century post-pandemic reality.

Indeed, many of our learners have families and jobs and are older than traditional university students. It is our goal to continue to develop the knowledge, skills and spirit that learners need to flourish in their jobs and to establish fulfilling, dynamic careers. Learning is delivered in-person, online, through distance education or through blended learning, a purposeful combination of in-person and online learning. Whether full-time or part-time, short-term or customized, achieving a new credential or skillset is always within reach. This is part of the polytechnic advantage.

As well, small class sizes, diverse learning methods and student-centred support services make it easier for lifelong learners to realize their aspirations. This approach helps explain the increasing participation of Indigenous learners, to each of whom we say: miyo wahkohtowin—a Cree phrase that expresses the value and positivity of interconnectedness.

As work on our strategic plan unfolded, we learned what many of you have been saying about Sask Polytech. That we are passionate problem-solvers, dynamic adaptors, capable doers and down-to-earth knowledge sharers who embrace excellence. Our reputation is a testament to our talented faculty and staff, who work so hard to ensure learner success.

Because we are employer-driven and learner focused, our employer and industry partners have and will continue to play an integral role in developing curriculum, providing strategic advice and feedback on industry trends, both today and tomorrow. This is the only way to prepare for the future of work that is so often cited as a major challenge for all economies.

Nearly six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the polytechnic model of applied, employment-focused education is needed more than ever to help Saskatchewan recover. Many employers and employees will require reskilling and retraining to meet the challenges ahead. Much of that training and upskilling will need to be technology-driven and technology-enabled. As well, many organizations will require technology adoption and adaptation to survive and eventually thrive in the new world of work.

These are cornerstones of a Sask Polytech education and are the priorities of our new strategic plan. The plan charts a course for an innovative, integrated approach to applied learning and applied research that will help our province and our people rise to the challenge of economic recovery and rise to realize the productivity and prosperity Saskatchewan needs to flourish. It was built on the principle that by empowering learners to realize their aspirations—wherever they are in their learning journey—Sask Polytech will not only advance their success, but also their employers’ success, which in turn will empower a better Saskatchewan, a better Canada and a better world.

Published Sept 2020.