Update on Academic Restructuring

Steven Dew - 06 August 2020

This summer, our community has joined together for a number of conversations, presentations, and digital forums to discuss how to best achieve the goals of University of Alberta for Tomorrow. We know that the U of A of tomorrow will need to be different in academic structure than today, and the Academic Restructuring Working Group (ARWG) is carefully considering a full range of options for grouping or consolidating faculties with similar or complementary disciplines, research subjects and methodologies. We are also exploring a range of organizational tools, including the potential development of schools, colleges or divisions, in addition to faculties. It is important that at this early stage we consider as many options as possible.

I want to stress that we are in the first phase of our discussions as we work to explore all options. Last week, I shared a wide range of options with senior leaders at a Deans’ Council. We engaged in a preliminary, exploratory conversation around a spectrum of hypothetical scenarios ranging from 16 faculties to just three. The goal of this conversation was to identify issues in our complex environment and to provide feedback to the ARWG. No decisions were made during this discussion, and none of the scenarios explored contemplated changes to any of our teaching or research programs — just the structures used to administer them. As I noted in the town hall on academic restructuring on July 8, the ARWG will be presenting about three options to the community for full consultation in early fall. Final recommendation and approval of any changes to faculty structure resides with General Faculties Council and the Board of Governors.

We will continue to communicate regularly and gather feedback. Next week, we will be sending out an email seeking members for the Staff Advisory Team so that it can be in place by the end of the month. It is critical that we hear from all members of our staff — the team will provide important feedback as we move through development and implementation of proposals on both academic and administrative restructuring.

We have embarked on a major period of academic and administrative transformation as a community, and we will see it through as a community. Our goal is to build on our long history and put in place academic and administrative structures that will enable us to reinvest in our core mission and enhance our ability to deliver innovative and entrepreneurial programming and enrich the student experience. We are considering all options for a new academic structure that will create economies of scale, reduce administrative costs, and further deepen the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research.

Thank you for your continued engagement.

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)