A ‘guiding document’: Despite past failures, the AMS is trying to develop a new strategic plan

After years of trying and failing, the AMS executive says it’s confident that this year’s attempt at a strategic plan will stick.

The plan will “set a vision for the direction of the AMS,” said AMS President Cole Evans, to ensure the student society is “setting goals that are aligned with what student priorities are [and] ... so that the work that we do continues to have a positive benefit on the students who are here at UBC today, and also on the students that are here in the future.”

According to Evans, the strategic plan is the AMS’s attempt to establish not only a “guiding document,” but also a “tool” to ensure that the AMS has “a strong, cohesive, strategic approach” to supporting students. In other words, the strategic plan will function as a kind of operational blueprint for the AMS.

Evans emphasized that the plan will also aim to facilitate better goal setting not only amongst the AMS’s student leadership but its staff leadership as well, to make sure that staff’s goals and departments, as well as the AMS’s businesses, are aligned with students’ best interests.

Currently, the contents of the document remain in development. Past iterations have included an emphasis on vision statements, values, goals and key areas for the AMS. The plan’s make-up has yet to be revealed outside of the AMS and PhD student and former Graduate Student Society exec Nicolas Romualdi, who’s been tasked with developing this plan.

“We're still in the process of defining data,” said Romualdi. “We're really in the process of nailing that down: what exactly is the plan going to look like once we finish it.”

Proposals for strategic plans for the AMS have been circulating recurrently since the early 2000s, but none have stuck in recent years.

Evans and Romualdi both emphasized that the AMS’s latest attempt at a strategic plan is likely to succeed. “The big thing is there's never sort of really been a cohesive approach within Council to [answer] ‘What do we want out of a strategic plan?’ and [ensure] that there's buy-in,” said Evans. “We're confident that we'll be able to create a strategic plan that encompasses aspects of the whole organization.”

Romualdi and Evans both emphasized that student input will be a significant part in the development of the strategic plan.

“I would encourage students to look out for opportunities to engage,” said Evans. “We want this to be as collaborative a process as possible.”

However, both Romualdi and Evans were clear that parts of the plans will not involve student consultation. “It's really about identifying which aspect of the plan gets consulted with the relevant stakeholder,” said Romualdi.

“Our internal pieces are working with our elected representation, on council and internally with our staff,” said Evans.

Though the plan will be, according to Romualdi, “transparently communicated to all students,” which aspects of the AMS’s strategic plan will involve student input, and what exactly this plan will look like when it nears its completion in April of 2022, remains to be seen.