A Message to U of A Students About Academic Restructuring

Bill Flanagan & Steven Dew - 22 September 2020

Throughout the summer and now into the fall, you’ve no doubt heard about - and been interested in - the U of A for Tomorrow. The overarching goal of this initiative is to redirect a greater portion of our resources into your learning and research environment. Yesterday, we released the Interim Report of the Academic Restructuring Working Group. We shared that report with you via email and expect that you may have some questions about the report and what it could mean for you.


What is academic restructuring and why are we doing it?

Academic restructuring means rethinking how we organize our faculties, how we provide services, and how we do administrative work. One of our main goals is to enrich your experience, by creating a new organizational structure for the university that will promote more interdisciplinary programs, build on existing experiential learning opportunities, and make student services easier to navigate. It will also bring us some cost savings, ensuring that more of our resources are going towards your learning experience is one of the main reasons we are undertaking this effort. 


Will faculties change in this process?

Yes, this process will affect the organization and the administration of some or all of our faculties. We will not “cut” faculties though - we are simply looking at how best to bring them together. Doing this will mean fewer administrative leaders at the top and more instructors in the classroom. 


We know that a faculty’s identity and history matter to students—as well as faculty, staff, and alumni—and we have taken this into consideration in the three scenarios that have been proposed for consideration. Whether your current faculty is called a faculty or school in the future, you will continue to experience the same affiliation as you do today.


If your faculty changes will your program or degree change too?

No. No matter what we finally decide about academic restructuring, your program and degree will not be affected. Unless you make a change in direction, you will complete the degree you are currently enrolled in. And, students entering the U of A next fall will also complete the degree and program they begin.


Will students have a say in this process?

Yes! We want to hear what you think about the three scenarios that we’ve developed thus far. We hope that you’ll provide your feedback at the U of A for Tomorrow website and participate in our town halls over the fall. We regularly meet with the Students’ Union and Graduate Students’ Association and there is student representation on the Academic Restructuring Working Group. 

General Faculties Council, which has 57 seats for students, is one of the other key places where students will be part of discussions throughout the fall. The Council on Student Affairs, a standing committee of GFC, has already discussed UAT and will have another special meeting this fall on the topic. Students sitting on GFC will ultimately place their vote whether to recommend a final proposal to the Board of Governors which has final approval authority. Students also have a voice on the Board.

The U of A has a mission to serve the public good through excellence in teaching, research, and community engagement. Our commitment to that mission  is unwavering and our commitment to you is at the core. We want to hear from you as we make decisions about the future of the U of A and encourage you to join us at an online town hall on Sept 30 at 1 pm at ualberta.ca.


Bill Flanagan, President and Vice-Chancellor
Steven Dew, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), Chair of the Academic Restructuring Working Group