Operating model

In the vision and implementation of U of A for Tomorrow, we are focused on the future university—one that is relevant, responsive, and nimble. A university that can grow and adapt to changing demographics and student needs. A university that engages with the critical issues and questions of our time and discovers the social and technical innovations the world needs.

Initially, we approached the development of a new operating model from two angles simultaneously—looking at the academic structures that provide our core mission and at administrative functions across the university which support it. On that basis, we created a new administrative model (led by the SET initiative) and established three colleges (led by the Academic Restructuring Working Group).

Through winter and spring of 2021, the president, provost, deans, and SET team worked to bring these two branches of UAT together. The university's new operating model (released June 2021) represents the complete integration of the administrative and academic branches of restructuring into a single vision for the U of A moving forward.

The model is a significant shift from the current approach to operating the university. It integrates administrative and professional services (those required for operation of the university, such as human resources, information technology services, or finance) with academic services (those specific to delivering teaching, research and community engagement, such as teaching resources or student services.) And, it introduces new structures such as colleges, Centres of Expertise within units, and service partners to liaise between central services and the faculties and colleges.

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Leadership structure

The new operating model comprises four main levels: university (i.e., vice-presidential portfolios), college or portfolio, faculty or unit, and department. Each level plays a key role in the model's organizational structure, decision-making authority, budget, approach to interdisciplinary teaching and research, and administrative and professional support.

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New structures

In order to integrate and centralize the delivery of academic and administrative services that are common across the university, several new structures have been established. These include the Colleges (fundamental to the provision of academic services), Centres of Expertise (the core of the reorganized AVP units) and two service centres (one for students and another for staff). Advisory support services are distributed within the colleges and faculties through embedded service partners who report primarily into the Centres of Expertise.

Administrative and academic services

A chief goal of UAT is to restructure the university's administrative and academic services so that we work as one university, with a clear vision, with aligned and consistent best practices, and a shared commitment to providing service excellence. To achieve this goal, the UAT team is completely redesigning major processes across all university functions to promote consistency, avoid duplication, and support a university-wide service culture.