The Memorial University campus in Corner Brook is looking to make itself more attractive to local students, while also adding 100 new international students to the mix.
The school has released its new strategic plan for 2020-25, with a focus on nine areas it believes will enhance the student experience, as well as what the campus gives back to the community.
Jeff Keshen, vice-president at Grenfell, said the plan was about setting tangible targets to hit in the next five years.
“I think this plan really focused on getting us some benchmarks so we could measure success,” he said.
The plan has nine focuses, inlcuding academics, wellness, internationalization and Indigenization.
It aims to boost external research funding by 50 per cent, add two PhD programs, two new undergraduate programs, double the number of mature students, and more.
During an interview with CBC’s Newfoundland Morning, Keshen highlighted efforts to increase the number of international and Indigenous students.
The school has 200 international students, with the goal of making it 300 in the next five years.
“In that process, of course, that would bring in extra money and we could funnel that back in to support those students,” he said.
They also hope to increase Indigenous enrolment by 10 per cent, and add an Indigenous studies requirement to undergraduate programming. Keshen said staff will also look at how to integrate Indigenous knowledge into courses, such as the Canadian history courses he teaches.
“The way that I’ve taught that in the past might not be the way I want to teach it in the future,” he said. “As a scholar I try to learn and reform my courses and try to bring Indigenous knowledge into those courses.”
Keshen said universities have a role to play in truth and reconciliation, and ensuring Indigenous people have equal access to post-secondary education.
“I think clearly there are historic wrongs I think the university has a responsibility to address.”
There are 1,400 students on the Grenfell Campus, which Keshen said needs to brand itself as more than a school for students on the west coast of the island. The plan also addresses goals for reaching students in other parts of the province and attracting them to Corner Brook.
Integrating nursing school
The new strategic plan also looks at moving the Western Regional School of Nursing onto the Grenfell Campus.
The school is currently operated by the Western Health authority, and classes take place at Monaghan Hall, adjacent to the hospital.
Plans have been mulled over for decades, but the school has never fully come under the umbrella of Grenfell Campus. With a new hospital being built, Grenfell wants to finally develop a plan to physically move the nursing school to its property.
“We’re really hopeful on that one,” Kesher said. “We’ve made excellent progress in that.”
He said staff have identified six locations where a building could be constructed or renovated to house the nursing students. They hope to relocate before fully integrating, since the administrative tasks of switching employees from Western Health to Memorial University would be complex.
The plan can be read in full here.