Please join us for a discussion of the future of the U of A

As we move towards the future, the U of A Tomorrow is our opportunity to discuss how the University will look in the coming years.

Bill Flanagan - 25 May 2020

On Monday, May 25, I had the privilege of speaking to the members of General Faculties Council about my thoughts on the future of the University of Alberta.

Over the last several weeks, I have been working closely with President Turpin, other members of the executive team and the deans as I prepare to step into my new role on July 1. In the last two weeks, I have begun meeting virtually with a number of Faculty Councils. 

It has been an exciting and steep learning curve. Watching the university community’s extraordinary response to COVID-19 and learning in more detail about the university’s serious financial situation has deepened my understanding of this great institution. I came to the opportunity of being your president knowing well the U of A’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research, but over the last couple of months, I have witnessed much more closely the deep commitment of so many to this institution, a commitment that I know will carry the university through the challenges ahead.

There is no doubt that the U of A is facing unprecedented challenges: deep cuts to provincial funding amounting to $110M in 2020-21 with additional cuts in the next two years, plus staff reductions of at least 1,000. COVID-19 is adding to these pressures in multiple ways. Without a strategic approach to these financial challenges, the risks to the university are significant--declining student experience, reduced ability to attract talent and external research funding, and a diminished role in the province and country.

I am convinced that we can address the current funding crisis and enhance delivery on the U of A’s vision and mission. But, this will require profound change. We must rethink and restructure how faculties are organized, how professional and administrative services support and enable the academic mission, and how the university uses and develops its assets. If we act quickly, we can turn our challenges into a strategic transformation. The U of A will continue to play a leadership role in higher education and research across Canada and the world, and be an essential driver of economic growth, innovation, and creativity in the province and beyond. 

On this website, you will find details about the governance for academic restructuring and administrative transformation. Provost and Vice-President (Academic Steven Dew) and Vice-President (Finance and Administration) Gitta Kulczycki will be leading these two major initiatives.

There is hard work ahead and much more for me to learn. Please join us at a virtual town hall on June 2 at 11 am - noon. You will have the opportunity to learn more about UAT as well as Fall 2020 planning. A Q&A will follow. Please register here.

I look forward to being able to meet and speak with all of you in the weeks ahead. Your engagement and input in this transformation is essential. We can only succeed working together in the best interests of the whole university. 

Bill Flanagan
President-elect

Upcoming Event

Virtual Town Hall

Please join us at a virtual town hall. You will have the opportunity to learn more about President-elect Bill Flanagan’s thoughts on the future of the University of Alberta as well as Fall 2020 planning. Q&A will follow.

Date & Time: June 2, 11 a.m.
Location: Online

Register Now

A meeting invite will be sent to all attendees no later than Monday, June 1 with information on how to join the meeting.