What We're Hearing: Alternative Academic Restructuring Scenarios

Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Steven Dew responds to feedback about academic restructuring, including alternative scenarios and requests for detailed financial information.

Steven Dew - 29 October 2020

Over the last week, President Bill Flanagan, Rob Munro, Executive Lead, SET, and I have continued to meet with faculties and other stakeholders groups in roundtable discussions on academic and administrative restructuring. We have also received significant feedback online and through email and I’d like to thank all those who have taken time and energy to provide input to the process. As we have reiterated often throughout the consultations on academic restructuring, your engagement with proposals and ideas will be critical to achieving our ultimate goals.

I have been sharing your input with the members of the Academic Restructuring Working Groups on a regular basis so that we can continue to refine our thinking with a better understanding of where your questions and concerns lie, and also to learn about various alternatives of the scenarios that you believe could be more effective. At GFC on Oct 19, I shared a few of the suggestions we have heard.

In last week’s UAT update, we shared all of the alternatives that have come in through input to the website and email. Today, I want to call particular attention to this input to ensure that everyone has a chance to review the suggested alternatives and see the thinking of our colleagues. Over the last few days, we’ve taken the input received in text and created a series of slides which visually captures all of the ideas that have come from the community. You can find them here. The ARWG will be considering these, along with all of the feedback received, and returning to the community with refined scenarios in mid-November.

During our roundtable discussions as well as at APC and GFC, I have been asked frequently to provide a more detailed discussion of the financial estimates contained in the Interim Report of the ARWG. There is understandable concern that proposed academic restructuring will not achieve the savings we need, on the one hand, and could reduce our capacity for research, teaching, and community engagement, on the other. We want to avoid either pitfall. In discussion, I have been asked frequently to explain how we can find financial efficiencies through economies of scale, especially as it relates to the reduction of leadership roles and academic support activities and function. I presented a summary answer at GFC on Oct 16 in a PPT presentation, but in order to provide a more complete look at the financial estimates, I have prepared a short report that is now available on the UAT website. When the ARWG returns with refined scenarios in mid-November, these financial estimates will be updated accordingly.

I look forward to more discussions in the coming weeks as we move together towards consensus on a new academic structure for the University of Alberta. My thanks again for thoughtful and creative feedback received to date.

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)