For the Public Good Report 2020

Since its launch in 2016, For the Public Good has guided the university's actions under President Turpin's leadership. Our achievements, outlined in the 2020 report, illustrate our community’s creativity and resilience. Through common cause, together we continue to build a better province, a better Canada, and a better world.


Build a diverse, inclusive community of exceptional students, faculty, and staff from Alberta, Canada, and the world.

Indigenous Recruitment

Indigenous students enrolled in 2020. A 10% increase in enrollment was noted year over year since 2015.

Indigenous Initiatives

Record Indigenous enrolment growth is supported by two new recruitment roles in the Office of the Registrar and a new role in the Office of the Dean of Students. Many faculties and departments Indigenized their programs by introducing new courses and experiential learning opportunities taught by Indigenous instructors. The Office of the Vice-provost (Indigenous Programming & Research) was created to provide further, ongoing support for faculties and departments.



out-of-province Canadian students enrolled in 2019-20 (a record high)

National Recruitment Strategy

The Undergraduate National Recruitment Strategy was initiated in 2016 and the first university brand audit in 11 years was launched in 2019 to gather more feedback to strengthen recruitment, marketing, and communications strategies. As part of the strategy, the Boarding UAlberta program was initiated as prospective students who have direct experiences at the U of A are more likely to apply and attend.

International Students


of total undergraduates are international students, meeting enrollment target

International Students

International students enrich the academic and cultural diversity of the U of A and contribute to building more meaningful and relevant learning experiences for all students. More than 35 percent of international graduate students are nationalized as Canadian while studying at the U of A by becoming Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity

The university’s first Strategic Plan for EDI was launched in 2019. The plan recognizes equity and diversity as fundamental to achieving inclusive excellence in learning, teaching, research, service, and community engagement. Other EDI initiatives include producing a set of best practice guides and tools to support units across the university in their recruitment processes and administering a Workforce Diversity Census to track long-term progress in diversifying the workforce.


Experience diverse and rewarding learning opportunities that inspire us, nurture our talents, expand our knowledge and skills, and enable our success.

Engineering Garage

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning opportunities are offered in all faculties and are positively associated with learning and retention. These programs depend on extensive collaboration among diverse groups of people and transform and enrich the student experience. 84 percent of senior U of A students participate in experiential learning.

Community Learning

Many Albertans experience immediate and long term benefits from the work and expertise our students bring into the greater community. The expansion of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre helps students serve 1,000 more patients annually. Students working on the second AlbertaSat satellite are continuing to advance the dream of developing a space industry in Alberta.

Dental Clinic


of U of A students are employed two years post-graduation


among Canadian universities for employability


of PhD students find employment before graduation

Lifelong Learning

The University of Alberta engages learners of all ages through a variety of programs. Hundreds of thousands of participants worldwide have learned from U of A experts through free massive open online courses. Alumni programming promotes U of A’s expertise and research excellence and facilitates learning and training for people of all ages.


Excel as individuals, and together sustain a culture that fosters and champions distinction and distinctiveness in teaching, learning, research, and service.

Signature Areas

Founded upon the broad array of disciplinary excellence at the University of Alberta, the development of five signature areas is aimed at promoting cross-faculty, interdisciplinary approaches to enhance the university’s already existing leadership and capacity to address complex global challenges

Energy research today must encompass a full range of approaches, from advancing sustainable development of both fossil fuels and renewables, to understanding and measuring climate change. This builds on the work of Future Energy Systems, which was awarded $75 million from the federal government to help move Canada to a low-carbon energy economy.

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Many of today’s complex challenges―from health care in refugee camps to water security on Indigenous communities to automated transport―require cross-disciplinary, cross-faculty, and intersectional gender expertise to develop effective solutions. The U of A is the first university to make intersectional gender research and teaching a strategic priority.

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Precision Health is an emerging healthcare model that leverages data, new technologies, and the study of factors such as genomics and environment to better understand and address diseases and disabilities. The university’s Precision Health strength spans discovery, applied, and clinical research and is supported by significant infrastructure and assets.

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Home to the only Faculty of Native Studies in North America, a Faculty of Education with a long history of Indigenous scholarship, and one of the largest concentrations of Indigenous faculty members in Canada, the U of A is uniquely situated to be at the forefront of centring relationships with Indigenous peoples and communities through research and teaching.

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The U of A has gained institutional recognition and prominence as a lead player in Canada’s national AI strategy and is one of three universities sharing $125 million for the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. AI4Society will provide continuing institutional leadership, coordinate and design innovative training programs, and represent the institution in new initiatives.

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Research and Innovation

Innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization are core to the university’s research and education mandate and have become a top priority for many stakeholders. To better build and foster a strong innovation culture within the university, the Vice–president (Research) portfolio was renamed Vice-president (Research and Innovation) and a dedicated Associate Vice-president (Research) role was created.

Sponsored Research Funding

Leveraging industry funding and partnerships is a key strength for the university. Since 2016, we have led the U15 in the number and value of NSERC Industrial Research Chair awards and NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grants. This success is a marker of our researchers’ ability to connect with industry, and with them, conduct research, find solutions, and produce innovations to address shared challenges.

Sponsored Research Income

Sponsored Research

Source: CAUBO. Data from 2019-20 not available at time of publishing.


Engaging communities across our campuses, city and region, province, nation, and the world to create reciprocal, mutually beneficial learning experiences, research projects, partnerships, and collaborations.

Community Support and Engagement

Providing solutions to the challenges we face with local, provincial, national, and international communities has been core to the university’s since the beginning. And even during the most challenging times, the University of Alberta serves as a pillar of support for the community.

Fort McMurray Fires


When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the U of A community was essential to Alberta and Canada’s response and recovery. 11 U of A research projects received a total of $5.9 million to examine measures to rapidly detect, manage, and reduce the transmission of the virus. More than 20 members of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology are working to develop antivirals and vaccines. And researchers are carefully studying the effects of the pandemic to provide assistance and expertise now and in the future.

Flight PS752

On January 7, 2020, the world received news of a devastating loss of life of 176 people aboard Flight PS752 leaving Tehran, Iran. As the day unfolded, it was confirmed that 10 of the victims were university students, faculty, and alumni. The U of A worked with Edmonton’s Iranian community to host 2,300 guests, and thousands more virtually, for a national memorial service. With input from our internal and external communities, a memorial fund was established with the goal of creating an endowment to provide two annual graduate student scholarships.

Fort McMurray Wildfires

When wildfires forced 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray to leave their homes, U of A staff and volunteers quickly mobilized to welcome evacuees into U of A residences. Community partnerships and the generosity of others helped to provide additional resources and supports evacuees during their stay, and in the following years as they cope with PTSD. A campus barbeque raised $16,000 for the Red Cross, a sum matched by the provincial and federal governments.

International Strategy

The University of Alberta’s largest international research collaboration, a partnership with the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, provided training opportunities for students and contributed to the availability of a highly skilled labour force in Alberta, Canada, and internationally. The U of A continued to build on more than two decades of collaboration with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China through new research, accelerator, and student exchange partnerships. And the university continues to develop relations with Mexico, particularly in the areas of energy.


Countries in 2015


Countries in 2020


Universities involved in study abroad programs


Sustain our people, our work, and the environment by attracting and stewarding the resources we need to deliver excellence to the benefit of all.

Syrian refugees

$753 Million Raised in Total Donor Support

The continued generosity of University of Alberta’s donors changes lives and advances discovery. Over the last five years, this generosity has been record-setting, with annual totals among the highest in the university’s history. In 2016 the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation gave $40 million to the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute—the largest gift in U of A history.

While serving as president and vice-chancellor, Dave and his wife Suromitra Sanatani were dedicated to building a better world. To thank them for their commitment to the public good, the university renamed a significant award in their honour. The David Turpin and Suromitra Sanatani Award for Refugees and Displaced Persons provides financial assistance to students fleeing civil war, persecution, or other life-threatening situations. Originally established by President Turpin in 2015 to support Syrian refugees, the award has helped 24 students find a better life.


for research and discovery


for student awards, bursaries, and scholarships


for academic programming


for learning and research through improved labs, libraries, and learning spaces

Residential illustation


New residence spaces have opened in St. Joseph’s College, Lister Residence, and East Campus Village.


A key infrastructure development over the last five years has been student residences. This allowed U of A to meet the For the Public Good commitment to provide on-campus accommodations for all first-year undergraduate students, as well as programming to support students’ academic success and sense of belonging to the university community.

Governance Transformation

The University of Alberta is on the verge of a period of major transformation. Being ready for this kind of transformation takes planning. Since the launch of For the Public Good, the university community has been preparing an extensive toolkit for change, including renewed governance processes, a new budget model, implementation of administrative benchmarking against global peers, and an integrated asset management strategy.

Student Financial Aid

Student success and reliable, accessible financial support go hand-in-hand. Strong philanthropic support since 2016 has added $93 million for student support. As tuition increases over the next three years, the U of A has also committed to allocating a portion of tuition revenues to student aid. By 2022-23, an anticipated $11.5 million will be added to the U of A’s suite of student financial supports for both domestic and international students.

Aga Khan Garden, Alberta