FoMD Organizational Redesign and the University of Alberta Operating Model

The following is intended to provide information and an update on the organizational redesign work underway in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. All FoMD’s organizational redesign is taking place in response to the larger institutional initiatives, including the University of Alberta for Tomorrow Initiative (UAT), the Service Excellence Transformation program (SET) and the new U of A operating model.

FoMD will align with the institutional operating model that establishes the Colleges and emphasizes the importance of shared administrative services. Organizational redesign requires us to be attentive to the position and role changes created by SET and to be flexible, as we will likely see further refinements as the College structure and SET are implemented.

The FoMD restructuring work began in the summer of 2020. Following months of consultation and dialogue with Department Chairs and stakeholders, we agreed that rather than academic restructuring and reducing the number of departments, we would instead focus at this time on administrative restructuring that aligns with the SET model, and develop a shared services model to support our departments and academic programs. Given the institutional budgetary realities, the SET model aims to deliver services and support to faculty, students and staff to promote efficiency and reduce duplication while maintaining quality.

As Dean, I am committed to supporting the FoMD in the implementation of SET and organizational redesign. I will do this by continued engagement and by working closely with our senior leadership team, Department Chairs and other stakeholders, staff and students. Our people have valuable on-the-ground knowledge and skills to contribute to the success of the new operational model and the continued provision of excellent support to our learners, teaching and research programs.

We will work together within the new operational model to tailor our organizational design and service delivery to best support our departments, educational programs and research institutes and meet the unique needs in our faculty.

Fall 2020 - Spring 2021 Consultation

The foundations of FoMD’s organizational redesign work began in Summer 2020 with the establishment of the Department Chair’s Service Transformation Working Group (STWG) seeking the optimal structures to enable our Faculty to be more nimble, collaborative, efficient and effective.

We also put together a Staff Advisory Team (SAT) to identify and propose solutions to any issues relevant to staff.

Faculty-wide consultation took place throughout Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, including:

  • department-based discussions led by Chairs
  • bi-weekly Conversations with the Dean zoom events with faculty, students and staff
  • other forums such as Department Chair meetings, Executive Council meetings and Faculty Council meetings
June 29: Engagement with Department Chairs and the new role of Academic Department Managers

Today’s message provides details on the development of new administrative shared service units that will support the departments and programs and the new role of Academic Department Managers (ADMs), a key administrative leadership position in our shared services model.

Following months of consultation and dialogue with Department Chairs and stakeholders, we agreed that rather than reducing the number of academic departments in FoMD, we would instead focus organizational redesign efforts on administrative restructuring, grouping departments and developing shared service units for these groups.

Guiding principles for grouping departments

Department Chairs, Faculty General Manager Asha Rao and I were guided by the following principles and considerations in our work to group departments:

  • Clinical and basic science: Keeping similar functioning units together allows for resources that are shared to be more efficient and consistent.
  • Education and research: Similar teaching and research programs within units allows for more efficient use of shared resources and expertise.
  • Location: Where possible, departments that are closer in physical proximity will be grouped together. There may be instances where proximity is not the basis for groupings, but site location is a reasonable factor to consider.
  • Economies of size and supporting units that currently do not have an Assistant Chair: Offering smaller departments a consistency in practice, service and support so that all departments are able to operate at a recognized academic level that allows for accountability and the scope to implement policy and manage in / out of scope issues.

Academic Department Managers

Academic Department Managers (ADMs) will be key new positions in the new administrative services units that will be the core of FoMD’s shared services model.

Previously, academic departments were supported by administrative teams led by Assistant Chairs Administration (ACAs). In FoMD, some ACAs were responsible for staff in a single department, while some departments did not have an ACA exclusively assigned to them.

In the future state of FoMD, the position of ACA will cease to exist. The reality of the financial constraints the University is facing is that there will be fewer administrative positions. We will have to reimagine how we do things. The administrative model will shift to a shared services model with 12 ADMs leading the shared administrative units supporting the groupings of our 21 departments.

The ACAs in FoMD are valued members with important institutional and operational knowledge and expertise. These administrative professionals have been in many cases the first point of contact ambassadors for FoMD, onboarding new faculty members and instructors, welcoming students, residents and staff, connecting our programs with community partners, donors and alumni.

I recognize these changes to administrative leadership in the departments may be challenging. We will work to maintain strong connections with and between the departments and ensure that we support the transition and installation of the ADMs over the coming months. The ADMs will work closely with their department chairs. They will also work with our Faculty General Manager Asha Rao in a team based approach, sharing best practices.

Next steps

Engagement will continue for organizational redesign to:

  • ensure organizational structure in departments will support the new operating model
  • receive input on administrative structure and needs
  • help build a shared understanding of the new operating model
  • support Chairs and ADMs as leaders through this period of change

ADM job description evaluations for FoMD are complete. Positions considered as vacant with no incumbent and not a re-evaluation will be posted shortly.

We will share the organizational groupings of the departments in a few weeks. More information regarding the departments with re-evaluations will be forthcoming as well.

July 6: Human Resource Workstream update

Today’s message provides a Human Resource Workstream update.

In alignment with the University of Alberta for Tomorrow and SET initiative, several new roles have been introduced to the university community including Senior Partners and Partner positions. These partner roles are integral, as they will provide strategic support, ensure policy is applied consistently and facilitate connection to services in the central functions.

As you know, the Senior HR Service Partners have been announced. Pam Averill is the Senior HR Service Partner in the College of Health Sciences. The hiring of several HR partners is in progress and I am pleased to announce Kendra Brunt will be moving into the HR partner role within the Department of Medicine. Kendra started in the Department of Medicine and held a brief role in the Department of Surgery prior to moving to the Dean’s Office in 1998. She has been the HR lead for FoMD and the overall go-to person for FoMD memory and HR problem-solving. I’m grateful that Kendra will continue to support the Faculty in addressing our HR needs over the next months as we operationalize the SET roles, positions, hirings and transitions.

July 21: Updates on Department groupings and transition of HR services

Today’s message provides an update on our FoMD Department groupings and information about how we will triage HR service requests in FoMD as the new Staff Service Centre begins Phase 1 of its operation effective July 26.

Department groupings

To align with the University’s new operating model, rather than academic restructuring and reducing the number of departments in the Faculty, we will instead focus on administrative restructuring and develop a shared-services model to support our departments and academic programs. As part of the FoMD’s responsive organizational redesign some departments will be grouped, with Academic Department Managers (ADMs) leading the shared administrative units. You can review the department groupings in the following figure:

FoMD Academic Department Manager (ADM) structure

Academic Department Manager roles

Currently there are three vacancies for Academic Department Manager (ADM) posted on the POP and Careers pages. Closing date for all three positions is July 27, 2021. They include Pediatrics, Radiology & BME, and Biochemistry & MMI. There will be two additional vacancies posted in the next week. The other ADM positions have been filled, and we will announce the ADMs once all positions have been filled.

Supporting new Staff Service Centre launch: Phase 1 begins by offering some Human Resources services July 26

As you may know, Kendra Brunt is moving into her new role as HR partner in the Department of Medicine and Lindsey Rodil has moved to the Staff Service Centre. As Human Resources services shift to the Staff Service Centre in the coming weeks, we will be in a period of transition here in the Faculty. Until the official Staff Service Centre launches on Aug. 15, please refer to the table below and direct your questions to the appropriate email account, which is being monitored by staff in the Dean’s office. Specific duties are being handled as follows:

HR Service Previously handled by Current transitional period contact
Salary Benefit Adjust Lindsey Rodil Send email to:
Monitored by Wendy Batienko
Purchase-Cards Lindsey Rodil Send email to:
Jennifer Bernard
General HR enquiries - Faculty Kendra Brunt Send email to:
Valerie George
CCID Kendra Brunt Send email to:
Monitored by Jacqui Mowat
Academic Recruitment Kendra Brunt / Jacqui Mowat Send email to:
Monitored by Jacqui Mowat
Time Entry - transitioning to Shared Services August 15, 2021 Lindsey Rodil Send email to
Monitored by Wendy Batienko
External billing Lindsey Rodil Send email to:
Monitored by Dusty Pederson

 Next steps

After Aug. 15, HR activities including time and labour-related auditing and exception time management will move to Shared Services. While some HR activity will still exist at the Faculty level, it will be represented by more generalist roles (CGM, FGM, and administrative support, for example). Staff will be able to find answers to most of their HR inquiries via the new Staff Service Centre web page, which you will be able to access from the Services tab at the top of the U of A homepage. To learn more about the future of Shared Services, click here.