Outcome of GFC Special Meeting on Academic Restructuring

Bill Flanagan - 08 December 2020

At a special meeting of the General Faculties Council yesterday (Monday, December 7), GFC reached an important milestone in the academic restructuring process. As Chair of GFC, I am pleased to report that after engaged discussion of three motions and various amendments, GFC passed the following:

  1. College Model

    THAT General Faculties Council recommend that the Board of Governors approve a college model as defined in the Executive Summary below, and contingent upon GFC having the opportunity to debate and make recommendations in relation to proposed motions 2 and 3.

  2. College Configuration Formation

    THAT General Faculties Council recommend that the Board of Governors approve, effective July 1, 2021, the establishment of a:

    • College of Health Sciences, composed of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Faculty of Nursing, the School of Public Health, and the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation.
    • College of Natural and Applied Science, composed of the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences.
    • College of Social Sciences and Humanities, composed of the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education, Alberta School of Business, and Faculty of Law.
  3. Management Structure

    THAT the General Faculties Council recommend that the Board of Governors approve an administrative structure for the college model that requires that:

    • each college be supported by a Service Manager who is responsible for the administration of the college, and reports collectively to the Deans;
    • each Faculty be led by a Dean who reports to the Provost, administers the Faculty budget, and is responsible for all matters relating to the academic program of the Faculty;
    • the college be led by a collegial Council of Deans, in consultation with the Provost; and
    • after three years, the President shall undertake a review of the college administrative and leadership structure and report to the Board of Governors and GFC.

The first two motions recommend that the Board of Governors establish three new colleges, consisting of 13 faculties organized by disciplinary alignment with shared administrative services. This decision constitutes an important change to how the university is organized.

With regard to the management model, GFC recommended a model where the College be led by a Council of Deans in consultation with the Provost.

The motions do not affect the status of Campus Saint-Jean, Augustana, and the Faculty of Native Studies, which remain as stand-alone faculties.

GFC’s recommendations will now go to the Board of Governors this Friday, December 11, for its consideration.

I want to thank all GFC members for their attention and work on these critical matters and for the collegial discussion leading to yesterday’s decisions. I would also like to thank the thousands of faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to this process, providing advice and input at roundtables and online. In a short period, our community has pulled together to develop a creative new academic model that will preserve faculty identity, foster the expansion of interdisciplinary research, programming, and community engagement, and enable us to address our immediate and significant financial challenges.

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor


Executive Summary: For the purposes of this discussion, a “college model” is defined as a group of related faculties intended to promote coordination and collaboration between them. At a minimum, the college will provide common administrative services for the faculties in the college, with a view to providing a high level of service at a lower cost. Each faculty remains focused on its respective academic programming and research with minimal administration, and departments support the faculty in delivering the academic functions where disciplinary specialization makes sense. Currently, the sixteen faculties governed by the budget model each generate a stream of revenue. Those streams would continue to be separately calculated and assigned to faculties. Those faculties within colleges would be “taxed” at a common rate to fund any college-level services and initiatives. The remaining net amount is administered by the academic dean.

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