The Strategic Priority Fund
The Strategic Priority Fund was introduced in 2009-10 to provide dedicated funding in support of the University’s Strategic Plan. With the signing of the first Strategic Mandate Agreement with the Province in 2014, the Fund also enabled the University to invest in initiatives aligned with provincially agreed upon priorities. The Fund has improved curriculum, enhanced student experience, promoted research, fostered community partnerships and international engagement, and contributed to the recruitment and retention of highly effective faculty and staff.
For the 2015-18 period, the Strategic Priority Fund has been fully allocated to support Investing in Faculty, a major hiring initiative to create 50 new tenure-track Assistant Professor positions across a range of fields. Intended to support a new generation of scholarly leadership across campus, areas of focus for positions were strategically identified based on the research and programmatic potential of both established and emerging fields of study. Candidates for these positions must demonstrate both scholarly and teaching excellence.
SPF Round 2: Academic Appointments which began July 2017
Dr Jijian Voronka - Direct Practice in Disabilities - School of Social Work
Prof. Jason Grossi - Sustainable and Integrated Design - School of Creative Arts
Dr Gregory Feldman * - Borders, Mobility, and Social Inclusion - Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology
Dr. Ofelia Jianu - Sustainable Energy Systems - Mechanical, Automotive & Materials Engineering
Dr Yong Hoon Kim - Intelligent Transportation Systems - Civil & Environmental Engineering
Dr. Arezoo Emadi - Microsystems and MEMS - Electrical & Computer Engineering
Dr Balakumar Balasingam - Autonomous Systems/Internet of Things (IoT) - Electrical & Computer Engineering
Dr Paula van Wyk - Adapted Movement for Healthy and Active Living - Human Kinetics
Prof. Jillian Rogin - Academic Clinic Professor - Law
Dr Sheila Boamah - Mental Health or Pediatrics - Nursing
Prof. Russell Evans - Accounting - Odette School of Business
Prof. Minjie Zhang - Finance - Portfolio Management - Odette School of Business
Dr Saeed Samet - Health Informatics – Intelligent Data Analytics and Modeling - School of Computer Science
Dr. Jill Crossman - Quantitative Watershed Hydrology - Earth and Environmental Sciences
*Beginning January 2018
Faculty hired in the first year of the initiative have already begun to make their mark on the research and learning cultures of the University—for example, through collaborations that will enable the further development of stretchable, wearable electronics; leadership in our unique, newly launched weekend Master of Engineering management program; research on the implications of drone technology for privacy in Canadian public spaces; multi-disciplinary exploration of migration, immigration, and borders; research into the history of feminist theatre; and innovations in teaching and learning such as the development of vertical mentorship models in science laboratories. The perspectives, energy, and expertise our new colleagues bring are a potent catalyst for innovative ideas and approaches on campus.
Full information on the progress of Investing in Faculty can be found here: http://www.uwindsor.ca/50newprofs/
SPF in Review: Highlights from 2016-17
Strategic Priority Fund (SPF) projects are often multi-year initiatives. Here are some of the highlights.
- Supported by SPF funding in 2011 and 2015, the Office of Open Learning has been increasingly recognized as a provincial leader in the development of technology-enabled learning in Ontario. OOL spearheaded six successful two-year grant applications to eCampus Ontario for online course and program development and open educational resources totaling $2,752,733 (including a collaborative grant with Western University worth $802,120 in total). These grants will lead to four new fully online programs. OOL also worked with faculty to secure an additional $145,283 in Research and Innovation funding from eCampus Ontario for 5 projects, plus two Sandbox projects to pilot Riipen and Labster Virtual laboratories.
- Supported by SPF funding in 2010 and 2015, the Entrepreneurship, Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) provides curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs and services that help students and recent graduates start and grow their businesses.
- EPICentre hosted a total of 97 programs, events, competitions, and presentations attended by 2,974 students and youth in 2016-17. The Centre acted as an incubator for 51 start-ups that collectively created 81 jobs.
- EPICentre has enhanced its partnerships with WeTech Alliance, the Regional Innovation Centre for Windsor-Essex and Chatham, which is now collocated at EPIC Innovation.
- EPICentre also signed an agreement with St. Clair College to extend the University’s programs and services to St. Clair College’s incubator EPIC Genesis.
- Odette students acted as small business consultants with a local nutritionist, music studio, various engineering, science and creative arts faculty inventors, a London UK/ Detroit-based fashion startup, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, 3D printing consultancy, the Alumni Association, and the International Student Association.
- In 2017, the USci Network, whose establishment was originally funded through SPF in 2015, moved into a newly remodeled home in Essex Hall. The USci space provides the resources needed to prepare students for academic success, a place to carry out extracurricular activities in science, and a locale for connecting with graduate students and faculty in leading student-centered science initiatives. To date, USci initiatives include first-year transition programming; work-ready, experimental design, and science study skills; career exploration; a Women in Science initiative; and support for undergraduate research experiences and for the exploration of science-art connections. Mentorship for student-led initiatives is a key element of this program’s success.
- In 2017, the University’s Faculty of Engineering launched searches for two limited-term positions intended to provide comprehensive technical communications instruction and support through the entire engineering curriculum. This major initiative, funded by Strategic Priority Fund allocations in 2015, will significantly enhance the success and employability of Uwindsor graduates, as numerous studies confirm the increasing value that employers place on communication and collaboration skills.
- In 2015, FAHSS received multi-year funding to pilot a range of new approaches to academic advising, including proactive intervention to support struggling students and online advising. They are having significant impact on student persistence and success. Other initiatives, such as the Transfer Student Toolkit and the FAHSS web app, are providing online resources for student success, focusing on areas such as campus support, academic engagement, social engagement, and stress management.