Reorganizing the Vice-President Facilities & Operations portfolio

Andrew Sharman - 03 February 2022

Hello colleagues,

After months of consultation and collaboration, I am pleased to share with you the new Facilities & Operations (F&O) organizational structure. F&O, like the rest of the university community, continues to make adjustments as we work to become the University of Alberta for Tomorrow (UAT), advancing the university's mission into the future. The new organizational charts illustrate how our teams will be organized and services delivered across the five departments:

  • Asset Management and Operations
  • Campus Services
  • Integrated Planning, Development and Partnerships
  • Support and Recreation Services
  • Utilities

While changes to our organizational structure have been steadily taking place since 2017, including a realignment in November 2020 to implement our SET reduction targets, this recent reorganization allows us to focus our attention on contributing to the UAT mission. In recent months, F&O's senior leadership has been working on updating the organizational design to ensure that the portfolio can best deliver on its mandate, remain within our challenging resource targets, and contribute to the university's overall financial sustainability.

Changes to date

During the 2020 realignment, F&O made strides towards driving efficiencies and delivering exceptional experiences for students, staff, and visitors on all five of our campuses. Some fairly dramatic realignments needed to occur to achieve our initial SET budget targets—at the same time we were welcoming eight new units to our portfolio including Campus and Community Recreation, U of A Botanic Gardens, Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic, Emergency Management, Technical Training Centre, U of A Pharmacy, U of A Bookstore, and U of A Protective Services.

Throughout 2021, reorganization continued and included several major outcomes, including:

  • Centralization plans executed for communications, finance, health and safety, and human resources through the Service Excellence Transformation (SET) program
  • Discontinuation/prioritization of underutilized and transactional services and functions
  • Changes to custodial delivery through outsourcing
  • Staff reductions to ensure we are focused on our core business
  • Accelerated facilities, land, and space optimization activities to reduce our infrastructure footprint

The above represents some difficult decisions that have led us to prioritize where limited funds could be allocated. Regrettably, some key functions within F&O had to be suspended or standards reduced, and depending on the depth of future budget reductions, may need to further extend to core services such as building maintenance—a critical area of our service delivery.

Supporting the university's mission

As we continue to face challenges in our fiscal environment, F&O consistently adapts to support the university's core mission of teaching, research, and community engagement. Under the UAT initiative, our units and teams have focused on:

  • Optimizing utilization of infrastructure to best support world-class teaching and research
  • Facilitating efforts to reduce overall building footprint to align with resources without limiting our student growth targets
  • Implementing process efficiencies and prioritizing outputs
  • Increasing planning and delivery collaboration across the portfolio and institution
  • Being more integrated, nimble and responsive to changing institutional needs
  • Bringing together functions that engage and support our community
  • Ensuring our business operations are positioned to contribute to the university's budget

On February 2, a town hall was held for F&O staff to learn more about the organizational changes and direct impacts to our units. While certain areas of F&O are being more directly impacted, the changes to the portfolio for the university community will be minimal. For some within the portfolio, the changes are minor (title or reporting structure, with little change in responsibilities), while for others, the changes will be more impactful including changes to roles, reporting relationships, and level of responsibility.

Overall, the new organizational structure establishes clearer lines of authority and accountability. Each Associate Vice-President has been tasked with ensuring collaboration and innovation in everything that we do, and I encourage everyone to explore what is possible and to challenge the status quo for continuous improvement.

It is critical that together, we are integrated, decisive, adaptable, and flexible as we move forward. I am confident that this new organizational structure sets up F&O for success so we can best support the university into the future.

What comes next?

As part of our transformation through the UAT initiative, we have committed to optimizing our campus spaces and ensuring they are being used to the maximum extent to serve our mission. This month, we will begin the process of collaborating with university stakeholders to create a more comprehensive inventory of all of our campus spaces with the aim to collect data that reflects their unique uses and utilization—from research to infrastructure tie-ins to third-party partnerships.

This comprehensive inventory represents a very important step in ensuring that spaces across all of our campuses are best aligned to efficiently support our academic and research mission as well as our growth as an institution.

Thank you

I understand this is a period of significant change for many staff across the university. Therefore, I encourage staff to access well-being and change resources available to you and connect with your direct supervisor if you have any questions at all. Ultimately, through this revised structure, F&O will be better positioned to deliver core services to the community and contribute to financial sustainability for the University of Alberta for Tomorrow.

Developing this structure has been a massive undertaking and more work is ahead of us to bring it to life, leading to even greater efficiencies. Thank you again to the leadership teams and staff within F&O for their hard work and collaboration to realize this new organizational structure. Special thanks to our service partners in human resources, finance and communications and marketing for their support and guidance in helping us reach this outcome.

Andrew Sharman
Vice-President (Facilities & Operations)



2020 updates  2021 updates  2022 updates