During this year’s first briefing with President Alan Shepard, there were a myriad of topics to discuss. The main focus was Dr. Shepard’s experience after completing his first full year at Concordia’s helm but he also discussed his aspirations and how he plans to proceed in the upcoming year.
Admitting to 18-hour days at the office, Shepard is nothing short of committed. When asked about his first year with Concordia University, he explained that he learned a lot about time management and how to make adjustments to meet the schools needs. Concordia’s welcoming community of staff and students blew Shepard away, stating how proud he is of Concordia’s “rich, diverse and fantastic community.”
When asked about the upcoming year, Shepard explained his plans for the creation of both writing and math centres, designed to not only help students struggling with those subjects but also offer options to any student seeking improvement. Additionally, Shepard mentioned the amelioration of student financial aid and says that speeding up the admissions process is absolutely necessary, explaining the school needs “academic renewal in an era of online education.”
Dr. Shepard was also thrilled to tell students that Concordia is thriving – in comparison to many universities across the country who are unfortunately being forced to cut staff and programs due to budget cuts at massive levels, Concordia is in the process of strategically hiring new faculty members to work in multidisciplinary programs. Dr. Shepard says “it’s the way of the future. Programs that students want are now cross cutting, they don’t just do or focus on one thing.” Shepard said they are currently working on 9 or 10 new multidisciplinary programs to be advertised next July.
When asked about the repairs in the Hall building, Shepard says they are going to be on-going renovations to the lobby and that, for now, there is no definite deadline. There are also major advancements being done in the H-110 auditorium. The large space holds up to 650 students and is scheduled to be completely renovated by Jan. 2014. The president assured us that Quebec allocates a certain amount of funds for upkeep and renovations and that it does not interfere with the budget for programs and classes. The Hall building’s facelift is being done to improve the space and ambience for all students. Additional hopes for the building are to create an attractive destination in the heart of Montreal, providing the school with more opportunities, particularly during the times of the year where Montreal hosts many world-renowned festivals.
Finally, Shepard was keen on confirming the rumors of a logo change. Suggestions to remove the open-book graphic have been brought forth but no replacement image has been chosen. Shepard says he likes the idea of only using the school’s name and feels there is no graphic needed. Plans are to have the logo appear simple and minimalist with no overwhelming changes.