Friday, August 22, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Researcher Home Page is an online tool that enables faculty members to track expenditures in their grants. This improved self-serve resource is the culmination of more than a year of software development, several years of experience with the previous version (Grants 2.0) and the incorporation of valuable feedback from users. The result is a tool that is simpler to use with several useful new features. For example, faculty members will be able to initiate research proposals online, directly from their Researcher Home Page. As well, they will be able to monitor their requests for new research projects online with the new Grants Life Cycle feature, in which completion of each stage for setting up a project is displayed in a clear diagram that includes completion dates. Similar easy-to-use online features are also available for amendments to existing projects.
The upgrades to Researcher Home Page are designed to enable faculty members to spend less time on grant administration and more time on their research. It will also further streamline and automate procedures in the Research Services Office. This aligns with the University of Alberta’s goal of efficient administration, the third point of its four-point Action Plan.
The Grants system – which enables the combination of pre-award activities for research grants with post-award financial management in one platform – is a large component of the university’s financial system. We are seeing the benefits of this software in a number of areas. Earlier this year, the Auditor General issued one of the best reports the University of Alberta has received. This financial management system has resulted in better accountability to funders, our board of governors and the people of Alberta. We believe the system will be further enhanced with Grants 3.0.
We encourage faculty members and other users to watch for information and resources on how to maximize use of the new Researcher Home Page via email and on the RSO website.
Lorne A Babiuk
Vice-Provost and AVP (Information Technology)
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Only 20 locations from around the world have been invited to participate in the Falling Walls Lab competition. The fact that the U of A is on the list is a testament to the quality, passion and talent of our researchers and thinkers. Graduate students, post-docs and academics under the age of 35 are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is Aug. 25, 2014.
About the Falling Walls LabUAlberta’s Lab will showcase the quality, passion and talent of Alberta's next generation of research leaders and innovative thinkers. On Sep. 25, upwards of 20 U of A finalists will present their idea, discovery or research to a distinguished panel of judges from academia, business and government. The grand prize is a trip to Germany to participate in the Falling Walls international finale, including air travel, accommodation and a ticket to the international Falling Walls Conference on Nov. 9.
Who can applyAcademics under the age of 35 from all fields of study, including graduate students, post docs, researchers, and scholars are all invited to apply. The only requirement is that applicants have innovative ideas, research projects, entrepreneurial initiatives or social initiatives that could break down walls or improve society.
Applications and deadlineThe application form is online and quick to complete. The deadline is Aug. 25. Semi-finalists will be chosen by a UAlberta selection committee and invited to a presentation training session on Saturday, Sep. 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The session will conclude with participants presenting their idea to the selection committee. Up to 20 finalists will be invited back to participate at Falling Walls UAlberta on Sep. 25 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
IP protection | Stage of idea/projectPresentations should be high-level and free of confidential details. Presenters must have a key role in the idea or project. Permission must be obtained if the idea/project is not theirs alone. Presentations should be simple: highlight the problem being addressed and the vision or proposed solution. Ideas can be a project in progress, one already completed or an idea under development.
Meet the juryFalling Walls UAlberta event jury: Richard Fedorak and Jillian Buriak (University of Alberta), Dan Rizzoli (acting deputy minister, Innovation and Advanced Education, Government of Alberta), Cory Janssen (entrepreneur and University of Alberta alumnus), Zainul Mawji (vice president operations and strategy, TELUS) and Paula Simons (Edmonton Journal).
Berlin’s jury will be lead by Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation, and will be co-chaired by Dr. Martin Sonnenschein, Managing Director Central Europe at A.T. Kearney and Founding Partner of the Falling Walls Lab. Other jury members will include representatives from highly regarded universities from across the globe, members of industry, the media, and internationally focused political organizations. A complete list of jury members can be found here.
Visit the U of A Falling Walls Lab website for more details including videos of the Berlin Lab, a list of previous lab presentations and videos of Berlin’s past winners.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
UAPPOL provides members of the university community the opportunity to contribute to the process. Individuals are welcome to express their views on current issues, leadership, and future direction of the Office of the Vice-President (University Relations). An anonymized summary of the feedback will be provided to Dr. Pozega Osburn during the review process. Dr. Samarasekera invites you to submit your comments and/or suggestions by 4:30 pm, September 5, 2014, to:
President Indira Samarasekera
c/o Catherine Swindlehurst, Secretary to the Advisory Review Committee
2-24 South Academic Building
University of Alberta
Phone: (780) 492-9592 Fax: (780) 492-9265 Email: email@example.com
All submissions shall be in writing and must include a written or email signature. Non-tenured faculty and staff may request that their submission be passed to the committee anonymously.
Responsibility for the administration of the review process is housed in the Office of the President. Please feel free to contact Catherine Swindlehurst should you have any questions regarding the review process.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
I write to announce that Vice-President (Advancement) O'Neil Outar has accepted the position of senior associate dean and director of development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will be leaving the University of Alberta as of August 31, 2014. In his new position, O’Neil will lead the fundraising enterprise for the largest of Harvard’s seven faculties; the Faculty of Arts and Sciences includes Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Continuing Education, as well as libraries, museums, and athletics.
Since his arrival in 2010, O'Neil has shown tremendous leadership in organizing and professionalizing the U of A’s first Advancement portfolio. During his tenure, the U of A has raised more than half a billion dollars. A single-year record was set in 2011-2012 with $163 million raised.
Record numbers of alumni donors and volunteers are now engaged with the university through a variety of strategies and initiatives, including the “Do Great Things” campaign, Venture Mentoring Service, and several new alumni outreach programs. During O’Neil’s tenure, alumni engagement has increased by more than 40 per cent. A renewed Alumni Association Charter is in place and the impact of our alumni in the broader community has been powerfully captured through the Alumni Impact Survey released in September 2013. Under O’Neil’s leadership, the Advancement team has won numerous awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for work ranging from “Together We Can”—the U of A’s most recent institutional fundraising video—to the case for support for the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, to numerous articles, design features, and photographs produced for our alumni magazine, New Trail.
O’Neil has also successfully implemented new administrative systems within Advancement to better allocate resources, inform goals, and measure outcomes. These have been, and will continue to be, instrumental in setting and charting the course for the U of A’s next major fundraising campaign. Most important, he has created an integrated, sustainable, and successful organization of talented Advancement professionals across the university whose work will continue to build a strong and diversified funding and advocacy base for the university well into the future.
Upon O’Neil’s departure, Colm Renehan, current Associate Vice-President (Office of University Development), will take on the role of Interim Vice-President (Advancement), subject to approvals. As AVP, Colm has been responsible for co-ordinating university-wide priorities, managing outreach to leading individual donors, and overseeing major gifts, as well as annual and planned giving. Colm has 25 years of experience in advancement. Prior to coming to the U of A, Colm served as Vice-President for Advancement at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., and before that held senior fundraising portfolios at MIT. He holds a bachelor degree in social science from University College in Dublin, two master’s degrees—one in social work from Temple University and the second in management from Lesley University—and a PhD in higher education administration from Boston College.
In closing, I wish to thank O'Neil Outar for creating a "best in class" Advancement portfolio, one that has attracted a great team and garnered external recognition. I am grateful to O'Neil for putting in place the scaffolding on which the U of A can continue to build and escalate its fundraising and alumni relations enterprise. My congratulations to O'Neil on his new position at Harvard, and on behalf of all of the members of the U of A community, I extend our best wishes for his future success.
Indira V. Samarasekera
President and Vice-Chancellor
Friday, July 11, 2014
In general, I spent the week meeting with colleagues from both the university and other institutions to work on current initiatives and prepare plans for the upcoming academic year.
The university also received two pieces of good news this week. First, let me congratulate the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry for passing with tremendous success a very demanding peer review accreditation process for the MD program. Led jointly by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the review found that our MD program complies with all 132 accreditation standards; as a result, the program earned an unqualified eight-year accreditation. My thanks to FoMD administration, faculty, staff and students whose efforts ensured that this process ended so successfully. I would like to especially commend Dean Doug Miller for his leadership. He has been named the new chair of CACMS and is now the Canadian member on the U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
The U of A’s Protective Services (UAPS) also received a major commendation this week, although of a different order. NAIT has contracted UAPS’s services to manage its security division for an initial term of one year. NAIT reached out to the U of A because of the quality of professionalism and customer service our protective services provide. This partnership represents a new source of revenue for the university and is a testament to the high regard in which Bill Mowbray, director of UAPS, and his organization are held within Campus Alberta’s security community.
Over the next few weeks, I will be travelling to South Asia where I’ll be participating in a review committee for the Institute for Technology (Bombay). Like many of you, I will be taking some vacation and am excited to have the chance to visit my mother and family and friends in Sri Lanka. During my absence, I will take a break from the weekly bulletin but will resume writing again later in August.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Since it began its work, DLP: R&D has managed the production of MOOCs and blended courses and significantly strengthened the U of A’s national and international leadership in the field of digital learning. The committee not only led the creation, launch, and implementation of U of A’s first MOOC (Dino 101) and a series of core blended courses in the Faculty of Education, but also established innovations in digital learning pedagogy and the field of automated assessment, developed a MOOC business model, contracted partnerships with Udacity and Coursera to provide large-scale IT infrastructure to deliver the courses, and resolved many technical, procedural and policy issues that arise when open courses are delivered, such as registration, tuition, course credit, copyright, and proctoring exams.
Outcomes indicate that Dino 101 and its associated on-campus courses, Paleo 200 and 201, have performed very well, with excellent participation and completion rates. Pilots of blended courses developed and tested a selection of pedagogical strategies for both online and face-to-face portions of the courses, as well as various types of course design and delivery models (e.g., courses that were team taught, media intensive, more practical than theoretical, or had high enrollment). RLP: R&D also conducted research into both professor and student experience teaching and learning in a blended classroom.
Throughout its work, DLP: R&D has constantly evolved to better manage and deliver digital learning at the U of A. It has now successfully fulfilled its mandate and has recently been disbanded. Three entities are the natural outgrowth of its activities.
First, in May 2013, the Provost’s Digital Learning Committee (PDLC) was established to capture and translate the innovations and outcomes being achieved by the DLP: R&D throughout the broader teaching and learning community across campus. Through the PDLC, close collaborations have been built and will continue with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, Information Services and Technology, as well as other digital learning experts across the academy. A successful conference on blended learning was hosted by PDLC earlier this year. Funding put in place for PDLC formed the basis of a competitive seed funding program, similar to the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, targeted to blended learning. This has resulted in nine awards being distributed in the first year of the program.
The second major outgrowth of the DLP: R&D committee’s work is the recent launch of a U of A not-for-profit spin-off, Onlea. This company has been formed for two main reasons. First, while online delivery platforms such as Coursera and Udacity are ideally positioned to market and host large scale online learning experiences, their core business and expertise is not founded in advanced pedagogies or technical production of learning content and objects. And, second, through the pilot projects undertaken by DLP: R&D, it is clear that members of the committee have developed this desired technical and systems expertise and now have an opportunity to provide these services to institutions across the globe.
Several international institutions have already expressed significant interest in accessing U of A expertise and services. However, providing these services on a global scale falls outside our core mission and current funding model. As a result, Onlea has been established by four founding members with an equal interest in the corporation: Jennifer Chesney (Associate Vice-President, University Digital Strategy, University Relations), Glen Loppnow (Associate Dean, Learning and Innovation, Faculty of Science), Jonathan Schaeffer (Dean, Faculty of Science), and the U of A. Onlea will be the sole source provider for an initial three-year service contract with the U of A.
Onlea has been created with the participation of the founding members as per U of A policy and procedure, faculty agreement guidelines, and conflict-of-interest protocols. Portions of the budget that were already allocated to DLP: R&D for the production of digital learning experiences will now be allocated to the service contract.
Digital Learning Oversight Committee
A new oversight committee—the third offspring of the DLP: R&D—is now being formed, charged with the responsibility for setting the vision and direction of the university’s overall digital learning strategy. It will also vet, prioritize, and recommend for funding any U of A proposals to create online and blended courses through the services of Onlea. The oversight committee will be co-chaired by Deputy Provost Olive Yonge and Associate Vice-provost (Academic Programs and Instruction) Robert Luth.
My thanks to all of the members of DLP: R&D for their tremendous work and leadership over the last two years. Through much time and effort, you have helped to move several important initiatives forward and set the standard of excellence in digital learning experiences. Thank you.
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Friday, July 4, 2014
Increasing the number of student residences has also been a main priority of the U of A and thus of Facilities and Operations over recent years. Many studies have shown us that living on campus increases students’ academic success and co-curricular engagement, so our long-term goal is to provide space for 25 per cent of full-time undergraduate and graduate students. In the last year, two residential projects were completed in the East Campus Village and the next stage of development in that region of campus is underway. A new women’s residence is also being built in collaboration with St. Joseph’s College with an anticipated completion date in fall 2015.
Building and operating U of A’s facilities to high environmental standards continues to be both a major priority and achievement for the Facilities and Operations team. The Camrose Performing Arts Centre, for example, has been awarded Four Green Globes and features the largest photovoltaic array in Canada. In 2013-2014, the highly successful Energy Management Program—in place since 1975—was reborn as the Envision Program. Since the inception of the EMP, the university has saved $288 million and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 2.3 million tonnes. The new Envision Program includes plans to incorporate renewable energy generation strategies, such as photovoltaic, solar thermal heating, and possibly, geo-thermal. The aim is to continue reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 tonnes a year.
In addition to building and operating facilities, Don Hickey’s team has led the process of amending the Long Range Develop Plan for both South and North Campus. Don also led the proposal for creating a land trust approved at last month’s Board of Governors meeting. In this proposal—as in all of the portfolio’s efforts—the aim is to create and implement ideas and planning that sustains and facilitates the core mission of the university as well as the academic and research success of students and faculty.
I’d like to close this week with a warm welcome to new faculty members and deans who began appointments with the U of A on July 1. We are delighted that you have chosen to join the U of A and look forward to working with you in the years to come.
Until next week,
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
It is my pleasure to announce to you the members of the 2014-2015 Dean Selection Committee, Faculty of Engineering. Please find the committee membership list, attached.
As its first action, the selection committee asks for your advice and opinion on the leadership needs of the faculty in the years ahead and any other key issues. You are urged to express your views on the priorities, current issues, and the future direction of the faculty. All feedback will be collected on a consultation form, and may be shared with the selection committee. To facilitate the committee’s work, please submit your comments by Tuesday, July 15, 2014.
We encourage you to nominate individuals who you feel would be suitable candidates. In addition, individuals who wish to stand as candidates are invited to apply.
The selection of a Dean is vital to the success of the Faculty. I therefore ask you all to take the time to give some thought to the future of this Faculty. Your views are important to us.
Thank you for your assistance.
Carl G. Amrhein
2014-2015 DEAN SELECTION COMMITTEE
Faculty of Engineering
Carl G. Amrhein, Chair, Dean Selection Committee
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Lorne Babiuk, Vice-Chair, Dean Selection Committee
Vice-Provost and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
Chair, Biomedical Engineering
Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering
Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Chair, Mechanical Engineering
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Manager, Student Services
Professor, Department of Computing Science
Operations Manager nano-FAB, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
Chief Executive Officer
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists
Vice-President Finance, Engineering Students Society
Graduate Students’ Association
Total Members: 17
Office of the Provost and
Portfolio Initiatives Manager
2-40J South Academic Building
University of Alberta
Faculty Relations Assistant
2-40 South Academic Building
University of Alberta
200 Bay Street, Suite 3150
South Tower, Royal Bank Plaza
Friday, June 27, 2014
Implementing the voluntary severance program was one of many strategies undertaken by the Provost’s Office over the last year to deal with budgetary challenges, all of which I have covered in earlier bulletins. Today, let me highlight a few of the other initiatives and projects undertaken by the Provost’s Office in 2013–14, as I continue my review of the activities of each vice-presidential portfolio that I began a few weeks ago.
In the last year, the office moved forward a major review of graduate education, which included the important development of a new four-year funding model for graduate students. Significant progress was also made on the digital learning strategy, including the development and highly successful launch of Dino 101, the U of A’s first massive open online course, as well as the piloting of a number of blended learning courses.
Over 2013-2014, many of the recommendations of the Provost Portfolio Review were implemented through a reorganization of the office. Working closely with the deans, ideas for future revenue generation have been proposed and are now in process. The successful passage of the Students’ Union proposal for a fall reading week was also the result of dedicated efforts by members of the provost’s team working in conjunction with SU executive leadership.
Next week, I will complete my review of senior administrative portfolios.