Interim Report of the Academic Restructuring Working Group

By Bill Flanagan & Steven Dew

By Bill Flanagan & Steven Dew

On behalf of the Academic Restructuring Working Group (ARWG), we are pleased to release this interim report interim report to the University of Alberta community. Please take a few minutes to listen to our introduction to the report in the video above.

As we note in our video, the U of A has embarked on a period of major transformation to strengthen our core teaching, research, and community engagement mission and enrich student experience, while addressing our current funding crisis. Through both academic and administrative restructuring, our goal is to renew the U of A of tomorrow and build our global leadership in higher education and research and drive even greater social and economic growth, innovation, and creativity for the public good of the province and beyond.

Work began on academic restructuring in spring with the establishment of the ARWG. Through the summer, the working group has focused on rationale and stage-setting, principles and objectives, the current state at the university, and lessons we can learn from around the world. As outlined in the report, we have a vision for change. We have heard what matters to our community and reviewed a number of approaches to and philosophies behind various models for faculty organization.

We now present three scenarios for academic restructuring at the U of A for community consultation. It's critical that we check in with the community at this point to gather your feedback before we move further. There are still many details to work out, but we need to hear from you before moving towards a more complete proposal.

Special Note: Extension & Graduate Studies and Research

You may note that two current faculties are not included in the three scenarios: Extension and Graduate Studies and Research. Both Extension and the FGSR were considered out of scope for this exercise, because they have a minimal number of faculty members and have substantially different missions than our other faculties. Restructuring may have implications for both but will be addressed in a later stage of planning.

Ongoing Consultation

Consultation on the scenarios presented in this report will take place throughout the rest of September and October. Highlights include:

  • Academic Planning Committee meeting - Sept. 23
  • GFC meeting - Sept. 28
  • Town hall - Sept. 30 Town hall - Sept. 30
  • Faculty-specific roundtables - October (multiple)
  • Town halls - October (dates to be confirmed)
  • Academic Planning Committee meeting - Oct. 21
  • GFC meeting - Oct. 26

We also encourage discussions at local levels - among your colleagues and within faculties, departments, and other units - about what the scenarios proposed here will mean at those levels. Please send any outcomes of these discussions to for the ARWG's consideration.

We will report back to the community about what we are hearing about the scenarios, how they have been received and reacted to internally and externally, and how we are responding to that input.

An updated proposal will be presented to the university community in November for the third phase of consultation. The ARWG expects to bring a final proposal before GFC and the Board in December for approval. This will allow us to begin implementation of our new structure in time for the 2021/22 academic year.

Thank you for your critical and constructive engagement in the academic restructuring process at the University of Alberta. Please visit the UAT website to learn more and provide feedback.

We look forward to the important discussions to come.

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Chair, ARWG

Originally published at on September 21, 2020. on September 21, 2020.

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