Dean's Message

Welcome to the Faculty of Arts. These are extraordinary times for a Faculty that has traditionally delivered courses in-person and built our shared sense of community through multiple in-person events and activities. Fall 2020 will be very different.

Last March our students, faculty members, and staff pivoted to remote learning and work. I am immensely proud of how we’ve faced this challenge. Over the spring and summer, staff adjusted to delivering services remotely and the Arts Pedagogy Working Group and Arts Remote Teaching Support team produced invaluable resources and services that are enabling our instructors to deliver exemplary online instruction while we safely navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To our new and returning students, I offer my assurance that Arts faculty and staff are doing all they can to ensure the coming year will be fulfilling and successful.

Despite the realities of COVID-19, I encourage you to get involved in campus life, even if that means engaging and participating virtually. Join a student group or club and take advantage of opportunities to participate in online events. Consider taking your education beyond the classroom through our Certificate, Arts Work Experience and Community Service-Learning programs. Reach out for support when you have questions or are struggling. Undergraduate Student Services advisors are ready to help, so take a moment to familiarize yourself with the people and the resources available to you throughout your journey.

As many of you know, the University of Alberta is managing challenging fiscal realities. Under the leadership of President Bill Flanagan, the University of Alberta for Tomorrow initiative is considering how academic restructuring and administrative reform can prepare our institution to respond to these challenges while delivering on our mission to deliver excellent academic programs and support world-class research and creative activity. This will require diligent commitment to our core values and mission, working collaboratively, and putting people first.

Working with our Departmental Chairs, I have begun the process of involving faculty, staff, and students in considering how we might reimagine our Faculty’s academic structures to contribute to the goals of U of A for Tomorrow while ensuring our academic programs and students continue to thrive. Our goal is to productively reimagine how we organize ourselves to deliver our excellent academic programs and facilitate the research and creative activities that define our scholarly community.

Although a few exceptional courses will involve in-person instruction, the vast majority of instruction this Fall will be fully online, and the majority of faculty and staff will work from home throughout the term. We have chosen this path because the safety and health of our students, staff, and faculty remains a priority. When the decision is taken to welcome everyone back to campus, please know that we will do everything possible to provide a safe and secure environment for all.

The challenges and opportunities ahead are great. Looking forward, I am energized by the incredible team around me, and by the outstanding people in this Faculty whose work and dedication contributes to serving our students and advancing invaluable research and creative activity that is truly inspiring. While this will be a term like no other we have experienced, I am excited to welcome you to the Fall 2020 term.

I wish you a healthy, productive, and successful year.

Steve Patten
Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts