About two years ago, Mulgrave initiated the development of an Advisory Board. While the school, as a non-profit organization, has a governing Board of Directors, Head of School John Wray recognised the opportunity to garner an even broader range of input from people in the wider community who are interested in the future of education and could give advice to Mulgrave.
“Some people can’t make the commitment to the more detailed work of the Board of Directors, but nevertheless have the expertise or perspectives that can aid our discussions about education, generally and at Mulgrave,” explains John. “We’re very fortunate that many such individuals – parents, alumni, and other community leaders – bring the lens afforded by their backgrounds in the arts, technology, education and other areas.” Representatives of the Student Board, and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors are also active members.
The Advisory Board meets twice a year and discusses high-level, yet focused topics. For example, they’ve looked at the value of a liberal arts education and relevance in today’s (and tomorrow’s) society. At their most recent meeting, they group tackled the topic of youth mental health and the pressures embedded in both our society and our current education system, as well as what can be done to address and alleviate some of those stressors.
Advisory Board member and Capilano University President, Paul Dangerfield, finds these discussions to be both insightful and gratifying. “Our conversations are creative. The group has an incredible ability to step back and ask ‘is there a different way?’ and ‘why has this always been done this way?’ I find that as much as I can contribute my own experience with three post-secondary institutions, I’m also learning personally and bringing thoughts back to Cap U.”
As much as we always look at education as a continuum within our school, the Advisory Board also looks outward to the bigger picture of which Mulgrave is a part - students progress on to post-secondary institutions or follow various paths, ultimately reaching a point of employment, entrepreneurship or other pursuits. “Things have changed substantially since the time many of us parents went to university. Students need to get there equipped with the ability to not only acquire knowledge, but to do something with it in varied situations,” says Paul. “There’s also a perception that the transition from high school to university will be perfect. Sometimes it isn’t, but children will find their way and discover as they go. University is invigorating if we can take some of that pressure for perfection off.”
Mulgrave’s leadership team and School Board continues to take the advice and discussions of the Advisory Board as one of many inputs into long-term strategic planning and implementation. Watch for more on our Strategic Plan Update in upcoming issues of Connexions, as well as for information after the summer on community consultation for the next iteration of the Plan, which will take the school from 2020-2025.