Dean's Message

Welcome to the Faculty of Arts and Winter Term 2021.

 These are extraordinary times for a Faculty that has traditionally thrived on face-to-face interactions and courses delivered in-person. This term, as has been the case since the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to limit in-person interactions and restrict visits to campus, the vast majority of classes will be delivered online.

Please know that Arts’ faculty and staff are doing all they can to ensure the coming term will be fulfilling and successful.

We have learned a lot about remote instruction and best practices for delivering services remotely. I am immensely proud of how we’ve faced the challenges of the pandemic. As we shifted to primarily online instruction, the Arts Pedagogy Working Group and Arts Remote Teaching Support team produced invaluable resources and services that have enabled our instructors to deliver exemplary online courses that have allowed students to continue learning while remaining safe.

As many of you know, the University of Alberta is managing challenging fiscal realities. In December, as a part of an initiative known as U of A for Tomorrow, the Board of Governors approved academic restructuring plans for the University of Alberta with the establishment of three Colleges to coordinate shared administrative services and academic initiatives. As of July 1, 2021, the Faculty of Arts will join the Faculties of Law, Education, and the Alberta School of Business within the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

While these processes of restructuring will not impact courses or academic programs, they will reshape the university. In addition to fostering interdisciplinarity and building collaborative initiatives in strategically important areas, the new Colleges will explore Administrative Restructuring in the hopes of making the institution more efficient and even more service oriented. 

Last August, I began working with our Departmental Chairs, 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. This collegial work continues. 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, and do so in a constrained fiscal context.

Traditionally, our shared sense of community has been built through in-person classrooms, libraries, student groups, and multiple in-person events and activities. While these opportunities to connect have been interrupted, some remain available to you in altered but still meaningful forms. I encourage you to get involved in campus life, even if that means engaging and participating virtually.

As always, I encourage you to 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.

I continue to be energized by the incredible people who are the Faculty of Arts. Their work and dedication contribute to serving our students and advancing invaluable research and creative activity that is truly inspiring.

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

Steve Patten
Interim Dean, Faculty of Arts