UAT profiles: meet Asha Rao

Meet Asha Rao, Faculty General Manager (FGM) for the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

13 January 2022

In this new series, get to know some of the people who have taken on new roles as part of the university's operating model.

Asha Rao

  • Current position: Faculty General Manager (FGM), Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Time with the university: 25 years
  • Former position(s):
    • Assistant Chair (Pediatrics), 2020-2021
    • Assistant Chair (Electrical and Computer Engineering), 2009-2020
    • Acting Assistant Chair (Mechanical Engineering), 2017-2019
    • Assistant Chair (Psychology), 2002-2009

What do you like most about your current position?

The variety, the challenge, but most importantly, the people.

How was the transition into your new position?

The transition was trying as I took my role in Pediatrics just prior to COVID and then took on the role of Faculty General Manager during COVID, so I have yet to meet all of my colleagues in person. This was also a brand new role and at a time when SET was getting all the key people in place for the transition.

Has your unit experienced any successes or progress as part of the UAT initiative?

One success has been the recruitment of our Academic Managers. We now have leadership in this key position consistently across all of our departments, which didn't exist before.

What aspect of UAT has been more challenging than you expected?

The transition of both staff and work moving centrally has been more challenging than I expected. Not all of the work has shifted yet, even though staff are taking on new roles in the new operating model, which has left behind some significant gaps. We have had to be creative to keep functioning.

When you think of the U of A of Tomorrow, what are you most looking forward to?

I'm most looking forward to the time when all of the transitions have taken place. I believe once the kinks are eventually ironed out we can achieve consistency and efficiency. We have embarked on a restructuring project that typically takes years and trying to implement these changes in a short time while saying farewell to many of our excellent colleagues—all during a pandemic, is extremely challenging. I always say there will be brighter days ahead once the dust settles because our people are our most valuable resource and they have so much talent and resilience to help all of us.

Faculty General Managers are a brand new role to the university and report to their faculty dean to manage any administrative resources in the faculty. They work collegially with a group of assigned, function-specific partners to provide administrative services and to monitor the performance of the faculty.

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