Announcement: College Deans Named for New Colleges

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On December 11, 2020, in a historic decision, the Board of Governors adopted the recommendation of General Faculties Council (GFC) to establish three new colleges effective July 1, 2021. These colleges will group 13 of our faculties in a way that will help us achieve significant savings in administrative costs. Of equal importance, these new colleges will deepen and diversify the university’s ability to enrich teaching, research and community engagement, especially along interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary lines. The colleges will enhance the university’s ability to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time, including advancing human health and wellness, science that advances knowledge and improves lives, and building a society with justice, equity and opportunity for all. Although grouped, the faculties within each of the colleges will remain, preserving their unique identity and history, with faculty deans having authority over all academic decisions.

The establishment of these three colleges enjoyed the broad support of both GFC and the board. This remarkable achievement demonstrated the university community’s ability to work together over a very tight time frame to develop highly innovative solutions to our immediate financial challenges and, at the same time, advance interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and research.

New Colleges

The new College of Health Sciences will bring together the combined strength of all our health sciences faculties, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, public health, rehabilitation medicine, and kinesiology, sport, and recreation. This new college will include a total of over 750 faculty members and 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, enabling a new level of interdisciplinary research and teaching that can advance the whole spectrum of human health and wellness in our local communities and around the world.

The new College of Natural and Applied Sciences will bring together the combined strength of our faculties of science, engineering, agricultural, life and environmental sciences. This new College will include a total of over 600 faculty members and 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students, spanning the entire range of scientific teaching and research, from pure and fundamental discovery that advances our understanding of the world around us to the direct application of science in a way that can touch and improve all of our lives.

The new College of Social Sciences and Humanities will bring together the combined strength of our faculties of arts, education, business and law. This new college will represent a total of 500 faculty members and 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Through critical inquiry, this new college will expand the boundaries of knowledge and understanding of ourselves and of our society. From the creative arts and the humanities to education, law and business, this college can take the lead in teaching and research on all dimensions of fostering an inclusive, creative, equitable, just, prosperous, free and democratic society, with opportunity and well-being for all.

At the same time, as we create these new colleges, we have preserved the unique mission of each of our community-focused faculties, including the Campus Saint-Jean, Augustana and the Faculty of Native Studies. They will remain as autonomous faculties to preserve and enhance their connections to key communities and partners and, at the same time, will be meaningfully and thoughtfully integrated into the larger vision for the University of Alberta for Tomorrow. As the only French-language university-degree program west of Manitoba, Campus Saint-Jean is a crossroads of a unique academic, linguistic and cultural life and will continue to enrich the teaching and research mission of the university. Providing high-quality teaching in an intimate, residence-based setting in Camrose, Augustana provides a distinctive liberal arts undergraduate experience as a valued part of the university’s offerings. Producing graduates with respect for Indigenous knowledges and educated in Indigenous histories and contemporary issues, the Faculty of Native Studies plays a key role in advancing the university’s core commitment to advancing Indigenous teaching and research. As autonomous faculties, each can continue to fulfil its unique community mission and at the same time contribute meaningfully to the larger university mission and vision.

Management Structure — New College Deans

Along with the creation of the colleges, the board approved a management model for the college where it will be led by “a collegial Council of Deans” and “each college will be implemented by a college dean, seconded from and by the existing deans.” The college dean will be “responsible for the administration of the college” and will work closely with and regularly report to the Council of Deans on the progress in implementing the new college.

Following on the board’s decision and working closely with the provost and the deans to develop a position profile for the new role of college dean, I am delighted to announce that three of our existing deans have agreed to take on the new role of college dean.

Effective July 1, 2021, Greta Cummings will take on the new role of Interim College Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell as Interim College Dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, and Joseph Doucet as Interim College Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities. Over the next six months, the college deans will start the planning process to create the new colleges, including developing shared administrative services and a strategic plan to foster interdisciplinary teaching and research within and between the three colleges. As provided in the board motion, the new colleges will be in place by July 1, 2021. We will shortly announce who will be taking on the position of Acting Dean effective July 1, 2021 of the Faculty of Nursing, the Faculty of Science and the Alberta School of Business.

I want to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our three colleagues who have agreed to take on this challenging and important role. I also want to thank all the deans and other senior leaders for their thoughtful and constructive engagement in developing this new role. I look forward to working together with the new college deans and all members of the university community to ensure that the colleges succeed in achieving administrative and financial savings and, at the same time, succeed in fostering and deepening the university’s longstanding commitment to interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and research.

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor


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