Augustana undergoes various organizational and infrastructure changes

These changes have moved more services onto campus and have reorganized various offices in an effort to better serve our students.

Tia Lalani - 6 August 2020

Over the last several months, Augustana has undergone various organizational and infrastructure developments. These changes have given us a chance to reevaluate how to best serve our students and communities while strengthening connections between staff and faculty who work together on a regular basis. As with our programming, we view our response to changing circumstances and updated needs as a chance to be innovative and creative--to rethink the ways in which we were previously set up to serve our students, evaluate them and improve them. 

In the spring, Augustana named a new Interim Assistant Dean Enrolment Management and amalgamated staff that were previously spread across campus in order to take a collaborative approach to student academic services. This amalgamation has presented an opportunity to increase student access to these services.

“The newly formed Student Academic Services (SAS) at Augustana provides academic support to students from before they join us, throughout their journey and all the way through to graduation,” says Alexis Anderson, new Interim Assistant Dean, Enrollment Management, and head of SAS. “We’ve merged five student service units into one to build cohesive, efficient and responsive academic student support by asking the question “how could we reimagine this work?” rather than “how have these units individually done this work in the past?” While we find ourselves working in a very different reality than the one we anticipated,  it has been exciting to see this new team seek innovative ways to reduce barriers to access and support throughout the student lifecycle.”

The new SAS office location will be in the lower level of the Student Forum building near the Indigenous Student Services (ISS) office, the Wahkohtowin Lodge and classroom and the Augustana Students’ Association (ASA) office. As a result, this new location connects SAS to the epicentre of student services, classroom space and activity within the Forum. Within this new space, Accessibility Resources will also be able to create a built-in proctoring area, alleviating some need for room booking and proctor hiring. In addition, situating all team members in the same location provides greater workflow efficiencies, reduced duplication of processes, more opportunity for cross-training and enhanced back-up coverage.

Similarly, the relocation of TLS to Founders’ Hall provides an equally appropriate space allocation, visibility and opportunity for our students. TLS offers services that are essential to our students throughout their education, including eClass support, large format printing, OneCard services and system troubleshooting. With most students now using their own devices, students will continue to have increased needs to access TLS services in order to be successful. As TLS has been called upon to assume functions of the campus reception desk, this new location of the team allows for the implementation of a single, shared service desk to deliver services more efficiently and effectively in an easy-to-access space. Both of these office relocations will meet our students where they are, and we’re excited by the new ways they will utilize these spaces and services as a result.

In addition to these changes, Augustana’s Office of Advancement has relocated to the main floor of Founders’ Hall to unify the team and to provide increased visibility and access to our alumni, staff, faculty and donors. 

Also, and as a result of the recent, unfortunate and irreversible structural issues with the Chester Ronning House, the Chester Ronning Centre will be moving into the Garden Level of Founders’ previously occupied by Advancement.

“While we are sad that the Ronning House will no longer be our home, our new space in Founders’ is in the heart of campus, in Augustana's most historic and iconic building,” says Ian Wilson, director of the centre. “It is easily accessible for students and campus visitors, and it is near to several other Augustana offices that work closely with us. Our neighbors in Founders will include the Alumni Office, for example, with whom we organize several campus events every year, as well as the offices of several Augustana faculty members that have worked with the Centre. This new location will make us a much more visible entity at Augustana, and puts us in a position to have a meaningful impact on campus life for years to come.”

And lastly, of the largest changes, is the move of the Augustana Fitness Centre onto campus. In April, the Fitness Centre, located in the Camrose Recreation Centre, was closed for public use due, in part, to COVID-19, as well as a number of budgetary considerations that precluded the pandemic. While members of the public were quickly afforded refunds, we reassured our internal community that they would still have a place to exercise on campus in the future. The Fitness Centre will now live on campus in the space above the gymnasium, and will be open for Augustana  student, staff and faculty use, free of charge. Exercise equipment will also be added to residence spaces to increase access to students living on campus. While Augustana was saddened to no longer offer this service to our community members, we are excited to increase access to our students.

“With this move onto campus, we hope that the location will be more convenient and practical for both the students and staff, creating more opportunities for a healthy campus,” says Kelsy Haesloop, Augustana’s recreation coordinator.