Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Student support services: Together we help each other

We are approaching the end of the term, exams and final papers are upon you, and the days are getting shorter. We all know this can be a stressful time of the year, for students as well as faculty and staff. Compounding this usual stress is the tragic loss of students in the past weeks. My thoughts and heart go out to those most directly affected, but I think all of us are feeling the sadness of losing members of our U of A family.

My first and foremost priority is always the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. If you are struggling, I urge you to reach out to your friends and family, or the many support services available to you on and off campus. Whether you’re looking for help with your classwork or exams, have concerns on a health matter, or could just use some support in dealing with life right now, there are people and services available to help.

On campus, students can access a variety of services:

  • Student Success Centre: Here, caring staff offer help for students to deal with everything from final exams to final papers through individual appointments, workshops, and other resources. They are here to support your academic success. studentsuccess.ualberta.ca
  • University Wellness Services:
    • Health Clinic – Located on the second floor of SUB, this clinic is primarily drop-in and provides a wide variety of professional, friendly, and compassionate medical services to students and staff. http://uofa.ualberta.ca/services/health-centre
    • Counselling and Clinical Services – This service offers individual counselling, as well as a series of drop-in workshops on a number of topics, and online resources including an audio relaxation series. http://uofa.ualberta.ca/current-students/counselling/workshops
    • Sexual Assault Centre – Trained staff provide a safe and compassionate place on campus where unconditional support, confidentiality, respect, and advocacy are available for those affected by sexual violence. http://uofa.ualberta.ca/current-students/sexual-assault-centre
    • Campus Pharmacy – Located in the Bookstore in SUB, this full-service pharmacy provides convenient and professional services to the U of A community.
  • Community Social Work Team: This approachable and knowledgeable team can be a great place for students to start with questions or concerns. Their primary focus is on helping students become connected to each other, the campus community, and resources both on and off campus. http://community.ualberta.ca
  • Peer Support Centre: Provided by the Students’ Union, the Peer Support Centre provides information, referrals, crisis intervention, and a completely confidential place to talk. su.ualberta.ca/services/psc/
  • Residence Services: If you live in residence, remember that your RA can be a support and can help you find other support services you might need. You can also check your residence’s web page for more information. www.residence.ualberta.ca/CurrentResidents/YourResidence.aspx
  • Aboriginal Student Services Centre: ASSC honours the indigenous world view of education as a continuous ceremony of learning by respecting and supporting the voices and spirit of the Aboriginal community at the U of A. Students have access to advising, Elder services, and a smudge room. www.aboriginalservices.ualberta.ca
  • International Student Services: The staff in ISS are committed to helping international students adjust to life in Canada and providing a supportive environment for international students studying at the U of A.
  • Helping Individuals at Risk: If you are concerned that someone you know may be at risk of harming themselves, you can contact the co-ordinator at the Helping Individuals at Risk office for support and guidance. www.disclosure.ualberta.ca/Contact_us.aspx

As it does each year as we near the end of term, the Office of the Dean of Students also has a wide range of activities planned for the coming weeks. Unwind Your Mind is co-ordinated by the Healthy Campus Unit in partnership with U of A Libraries and other U of A student services. The program will bring healthy snacks, free fitness classes, mental health resource stations, and wisdom corners to libraries. This team also brings in our Furry Friends—trained animals certified in pet-assisted therapy—to visit campus thanks to our partnership with Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society.

Of course, students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this kind of support. Staff and faculty have access to the University Wellness Centre and the University Employee and Family Assistance Program, and a variety of supports from counselling to coaching to financial planning assistance.

As anyone who has ever used these services will tell you, they are professional, caring, and confidential. They have helped many people on campus, and if you're having a hard time, they can help you as well. At the very least, reach out to a friend or colleague. Together we can help each other.

—Olive Yonge,
Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Dean Review, Faculty of Arts – Call for Consultation

Dr. Lesley Cormack’s current term as Dean, Faculty of Arts will end on June 30, 2015, and she has indicated she will seek a second term in office. In accordance with University regulations, a Dean Review Committee has been established. The Committee membership is listed below.
As its first action, the Review Committee calls for your advice and opinion on the state of the Faculty under the leadership of the current Dean.

Specifically, the Committee is interested in the following:

1) Leadership – demonstrates a high level of integrity and commitment to University and its values, inspires a shared vision of the Faculty, leads academic planning process, communicates the Faculty vision, develops a strong team of faculty and staff, provides strong leadership within a shared-governance structure, builds trust through openness and transparency while making difficult decisions needed to move Faculty forward;

2) Research and Scholarly Activity – sound intellectual leadership, promotes excellence and integrity in research and scholarly activity, works to support research funding, collaboration and productivity;

3) Advocacy – builds effective relationships, promotes/advocates for Faculty to broad spectrum of constituents, including University community and other community leaders, agencies and key institutions regionally, nationally and internationally;

4) Teaching and Learning – leads academic planning process and supports curriculum development, promotes excellence and integrity and fosters a climate that encourages faculty and staff to identify and pursue excellence, works to build strategic recruitment/retention plans;

5) Faculty and Staff Relations – Plans/prioritizes human resource needs for Faculty; establishes strategies to compete for high-caliber faculty and staff; is responsible for appointments, recommendations for tenure and promotion and annual merit increments; is fair and follows effective, transparent processes, builds environment of collegiality;

6) Administration – ensures compliance with University policies, demonstrates financial acumen and ensures fiscal responsibility in working with budgets, funds, and financial processes;

7) External Relations and Advancement – builds national and international linkages, pro-actively looks for new challenges and funding sources, attracts resources to the Faculty from government, philanthropy and other programs, works with advancement professionals, leads Faculty’s fund development activities.

8) Other matters.

Should you wish to offer comment on the above, please use the online Consultation Form. To facilitate the Committee’s work, please submit your comments by Monday, January 5, 2015.
Submissions from non-tenured faculty, administrative and support staff, and students may be sent with a request that comments be passed to the Committee anonymously. Requests of anonymity will be granted on condition that the individual identifies him- or herself in the Consultation Form. Submissions from tenured faculty will be attributed to the contributor.
Your views are important to us and I encourage you to share your thoughts with the Committee.
Thank you for your assistance.

Olive Yonge
Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Committee Membership:  Dean Review, Faculty of Arts

Olive Yonge, Chair
Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Walter Dixon, Vice-Chair
Associate Vice-President (Research)

Joanna Harrington
Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Beau Coleman
Associate Professor, Drama

Roger Graves
Professor, English and Film Studies

Robert Lederer
Associate Professor, Art and Design

GFC Member
No Nominee

Rick Szostak
Professor, Economics

Guillaume Tardif
Associate Professor, Music

Pamela Willoughby
Professor and Chair, Anthropology

Dylan Hanwell
Undergraduate Student

Erin Borden
Undergraduate Student

Justin Leifso
PhD Student, Political Science

Heather Cook
Graduate Advisor & Research Coordinator, Anthropology

Julie Brown
Assistant Chair/Administration, Drama

Kelly MacFarlane
Faculty Lecturer, History and Classics


Susan Buchsdruecker
Faculty Relations Officer, Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Phone: 780-492-7813
Email: susan.buchsdruecker@ualberta.ca

Faiza Billo
Faculty Relations Assistant, Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Phone: 780-248-1047
Email: faiza.billo@ualberta.ca

Friday, November 21, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Bulletin--Nov 21

I expect that many of you would agree with me that it has been an eventful week. It began last Friday with the announcement of the new president, David Turpin. As I said at the announcement, I have worked with David on the national scene and believe that the Board of Governors has entrusted the future of the University of Alberta to an individual with exceptional skills and experience as a leader, researcher, and university administrator. Few people have such extensive experience, from being department head to dean to president. I was delighted to host David, his wife Suromitra Sanatani, and a few guests in my home on Friday evening, where we launched the first of many conversations I know we’ll have over the coming months.

The university has entered a period of major transition, but we are well prepared. Debra Pozega Osburn (VP, University Relations) has been working with a committee comprised of a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, board and senate members, community leaders, and alumni, to prepare for the new president and to help ensure his successful introduction into our community. At our dinner, David reiterated his desire to begin listening and learning about the U of A.

With Carl Amrhein’s resignation of his role as provost and vice-president (academic) and immediate secondment to Alberta Health Services as its official administrator, which was announced on Monday, I quickly began consulting with members of the senior leadership team on the appointment of an interim provost and will launch a formal search for a new provost and VP (academic) next week. In the meantime, Olive Yonge has graciously agreed to take on the responsibilities of acting provost until the interim appointment can be made. In the New Year, I expect that a search committee for the new provost will be convened. I will be consulting with David Turpin throughout the process as he will be responsible for bringing the process to conclusion and making the final selection. 

On Tuesday, following the announcement of Doug Miller’s decision to accept a new position at the New York Medical College, I also began to seek advice from members of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry on the appointment of an interim dean. I hope to have a person named by mid-December.
In the midst of all of this change, I was renewed by two days of convocation ceremonies Tuesday and Wednesday. Congratulating students on the stage of the Jubilee Auditorium, I was reminded that no matter how things change, the most important work of the university continues, and that our graduates leave this institution well prepared and inspired because of the dedicated efforts of faculty and staff. One of this fall’s honorary degree recipients noted how much his teachers had inspired and shaped him, and I could see how that message resonated in the faces of the graduates in the audience. As always, I was moved by the three ceremonies.

Finally, let me end with a note of thanks to the staff in Faculties and Operations who have strung several trees in quad with lights. The lights (all energy-efficient LED bulbs) are a beautiful addition to campus during the darkness of winter. Thank you!

Until next Friday,


Dean Selection, Faculty of Education- Call for Consultation

Dr. Fern Snart's second term as Dean of the Faculty of Education will come to an end on June 30, 2015. In accordance with GFC regulations, a Dean Selection Committee has been established.

It is my pleasure to announce to you the members of the 2014-2015 Dean Selection Committee, Faculty of Education. Please find the Committee membership list below this message.

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 Monday, December 1, 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.

Roger Epp
Vice-Provost (Academic)

Committee Membership: Dean Selection, Faculty of Education

Roger Epp, Delegated Chair
Vice-Provost (Academic)

Lorne Babiuk, Vice-Chair
Vice-President (Research)

Paul Melancon
Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Kent Den Heyer
Associate Professor, Secondary Education

Cheryl Poth
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology

Larry Prochner
Chair, Elementary Education

Toni Samek
Professor, Library and Information Studies

Kristopher Wells
Assistant Professor, Educational Policy Studies

Sessional Teaching Staff

Heather Kennedy-Plant
Office Manager, Education Undergraduate Student Services

Sally Hunt
Clinic Administrator, Clinical Services, Education

Louanne Keenan
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Mark Yurick
Coordinator, Alberta Teachers’ Association

Kathleen Degeer
Undergraduate Student, Vice-President External

Suzanna Wong
PhD Program, Elementary Education

Total Members: 15

Committee Support:

Kathleen Brough
Portfolio Initiatives Manager
2-40J South Academic Building
University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-6655
E-mail: kathleen.brough@ualberta.ca

Faiza Billo
Faculty Relations Assistant
2-40 South Academic Building
University of Alberta
Phone: 780-248-1047
E-mail: faiza.billo@ualberta.ca

Maureen Geldart
The Geldart Consulting Group Inc
Executive Search & Leadership Consulting
2433A Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC V7V 1L3
(604) 926-0005
1(866) 252-8710 – fax
Email: maureen@thegeldartgroup.com
Gmail: mgeldart@ualberta.ca

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Join us for the 2014 Festival Of Ideas

The U of A’s Festival of Ideas begins today!

The roots of the University of Alberta's Festival of Ideas can be credited back to three of our academic peers --Rosalind Sydie, Anne Marie Decore, and Janine Brodie--who wanted to find a way to share the U of A’s tradition of spirited debate and idea development with the broader Edmonton community. The first festival launched during the 2008 U of A centenary, and now, the fourth iteration of the Festival of Ideas will be presented from Nov. 19 to the 23rd.

This year’s events will provide our community with a platform to spark cross campus conversations around issues related to cultural bridge-building, investigations of perception, the search for truth, and the foundations of personal identity. This year’s programming will include:

  • Inaugural Ross and Muriel Cheriton Distinguished Visitor Lecture 
    • Wednesday, November 19 at 8:00pm | CCIS 1-430
    • This session, which will be moderated by David R. Cheriton, will highlight a number of the technological advancements that are in the works on our campus.

  • Opening Night: An Evening with Colm Tóibín
    • Thursday, November 20 at 8:00pm | Shoctor Theatre, Citadel Theatre
    • Novelist, journalist, and playwright, Colm Tóibín will be speaking with the Edmonton Journal’s Elizabeth Withey in an onstage interview. An audience Q & A session and book signing will follow.

  • CIFAR Lecture: The Psychology of Scarcity with Eldar Shafir
    • Friday, November 21 at 4:00pm | City Room, Edmonton City Hall
    • Psychologist Eldar Shafir will how our ability to make healthy choices is limited by lack of money, time and resources—and what we can do to overcome those limits and shape our own lives. 

  • Reconciliation Between Aboriginal Peoples of Canada and Other Canadians 
    • Friday, November 21 at 8:00pm | Shoctor Theatre, Citadel Theatre
    • Moderated by Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson, this panel dialogue and public conversation will explore how bridges can be built between indigenous communities and the rest of Canada as the country takes the next steps in reconciliation. 

  • Henry Marshall Tory Lecture: Responsibility for Soldiers as a Measure of Societal Maturity
    • Saturday, November 22 at 3:00pm | Library Theatre, Stanley A. Milner Public Library
    • Dr. Ibolja Cernak’s research examines the nature of military injuries, physical and psychological, to find new treatments that can improve the quality of life, whether military or civilian, for returning soldiers. 

  • "What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?" with Art Spiegelman 
    • Saturday, November 22 at 8:00pm | Metro Cinema
    • Art Spiegelman, winner of a special Pulitzer Prize for his graphic novel Maus, will be explaining why the comic is on the rise and he will emphasizes the value of this art form that both reflects and reshapes the way we see the world. 

  • Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, "Pathways to Hopak"
    • Sunday, November 23 at 7:00pm | The Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre, Camrose
    • This cultural dance performance will explore life's universal cycle of birth, youthful playfulness and the search for love, the tragedy of conflict and the desire to wash clean our battlefields—and, ultimately, the opportunity to begin the cycle again.

  • Closing Night with Joyce Carol Oates
    • Sunday, November 23 at 8:00pm | Winspear Centre
    • Best-selling novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist Joyce Carol Oates will engage in an onstage conversation with the CBC’s Eleanor Watchel. An audience Q & A session and book signing will follow.

To find out more about this week’s programming, please visit the Festival of Ideas website.

I hope to see you during this year’s festivities.

Debra Pozega Osburn
Vice-President (University Relations)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Announcement regarding Dean Doug Miller--Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

I am writing today to announce a change in leadership in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Dr. Doug Miller has resigned his position as dean, effective January 31, 2015, to become dean of the School of Medicine at New York Medical College, one of the oldest and largest health sciences universities in the US. Since his arrival at the University of Alberta on July 1, 2012, Doug has set an effective four-year strategic plan for FOMD and provided strong leadership through a period of considerable achievement, including the celebration of 100 years of medical education at the U of A in 2013.

Doug’s passion for excellence in medical education is the defining feature of his leadership, setting the highest standard for students and faculty alike. Throughout the last academic year, Doug led FOMD faculty, staff, and students through a demanding peer review accreditation process with the aim of ensuring that the University of Alberta would be recognized for its pursuit of excellence in preparing medical professionals of the future. Led jointly by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the review was a tremendous success. The U of A’s MD and DDS programs earned unqualified accreditation for eight and seven years, respectively. As a testament to his leadership skills, Doug was named the new chair of CACMS and is now the Canadian member on the US Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Doug has also been a respected and trusted member of the university’s senior leadership team. In addition to serving as chair of the Health Sciences Council, he has championed and supported the Gold Leadership Development Program for U of A’s academic administrators. He led the establishment of three new Translational Science Institutes at the U of A to promote cross-faculty, interdisciplinary research collaborations in the areas of cancer, cardiology, and neuroscience and mental health. He played a critical role in ensuring that the U of A, along with University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, Alberta Health Services, Academic Health Network, Alberta Health, and Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions won funding to launch the first CIHR-funded Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit in Canada.

In 2012, Doug initiated the first-ever economic impact study of a school of medicine in Canada, which estimated the total annual economic impact of FOMD at $4 billion and demonstrated how the education and research done in the faculty provides both the knowledge and personnel to ensure the health and wellness of Albertans. As a result of the success of the study, other post-secondary institutions across Canada and North America have now completed or are in process of doing similar economic studies.

I would like to thank Doug Miller for his leadership and service to the U of A as dean of FOMD and wish him well in his new position at New York Medical College.


Indira V. Samarasekera
President and Vice-Chancellor

Monday, November 17, 2014

Letter to UAlberta community from Dr. Carl Amrhein

To Faculty, Staff, Students, and Post Doctoral Fellows of the University of Alberta

On November 16, I resigned my position as Provost and Vice-President (Academic) of the University of Alberta.  On November 17, I assumed the position of Official Administrator of Alberta Health Services. This information was embargoed and could not be shared until the announcement by the Government of Alberta on November 17.

This is a sudden change, made in the midst of the presidential transition. Just two weeks ago, the Government of Alberta contacted the university and asked that I be seconded into my new role, at least for the period November 17 to June 30, 2015.  When our government calls with such a request, the university should respond whenever possible. This is consistent with the history and traditions of this institution as the oldest and largest post-secondary institution in Alberta.  We often release our colleagues to serve in government, at all levels.

The call also came at a time of reflection for me.  Over the past many months, it became clear to me that I was ready to move to the next phase of my career.   Of course I am aware that the juxtaposition of my secondment with the announcement of our president-elect, David Turpin, creates a very fertile field in which rumors might take root.  It is important to stop the rumors to provide President-elect Turpin a clear path to his installation.

My new assignment is important to all of Alberta.  It is a position that is challenging, exciting, and will stretch my administrative skills.  I will have many opportunities to learn. I am very much looking forward to working with Health Minister Stephen Mandel, a leader who has done so much for the City of Edmonton and Alberta when he was mayor. However, this sudden departure will create significant challenges within the central administration of the university.

Beyond June 30, 2015 I plan to return to the Skills and Post-Secondary Education project at The Conference Board of Canada, do teaching and research in the Planning Program in the Faculty of Science, and continue my work with the provincial government, contingent on government approval.  It will be a blended career.  I will remain a professor at the University of Alberta.

The position of acting-provost is in the very capable hands of Professor Olive Yonge and her team.  It is an outstanding team of individuals with the length and depth of experience necessary to lead the Academy.  They are committed to the university.  I ask that you support Olive as you have me.

In closing, I would like to add my warm welcome to President-elect Turpin.  I already have offered to assist him in any way I can.  As mentioned by the President-elect in his remarks on Friday, this institution has great opportunities, and great responsibilities, to continue to work for Alberta, Canada, and the world. It has been a tremendous honour to serve and work with all of you at the University of Alberta. You welcomed me as an easterner and slowly turned me into a forever westerner. Ellen and I will continue to make Edmonton our home.

All the very best to all of you.  

Carl G. Amrhein, PhD

Announcement regarding Provost Carl Amrhein

I write today to announce that Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Carl Amrhein has resigned his administrative post, effective November 17, 2014, to undertake a secondment as Official Administrator in Alberta Health Services to June 30, 2015. At that point, Carl will begin a seven-month administrative leave from the University of Alberta before returning to his position as professor of geography in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. While on secondment and administrative leave, Carl will continue his highly-regarded work with the Conference Board of Canada, examining how Canada’s post-secondary institutions are being reshaped by, and responding to, major global trends in higher education.

Throughout his eleven year tenure as provost and vice-president (academic), Carl has provided instrumental leadership throughout the U of A. Whether in the chair’s seat at the head of a committee table or managing an urgent issue, Carl’s keen insight, intelligence, clear-headed analyses, and sense of humour have been hallmarks of his leadership. He has championed the vision, mission, and strategic goals of Dare to Discover and led the development and implementation of two academic plans—Dare to Deliver (2007-2011) and Dare to Deliver (2011-2015)—to ensure that we continue to meet those goals. As provost, his role in attracting and leading the U of A’s deans has also been critically important in moving ahead initiatives at the institutional level and facilitating initiatives at the faculty level.

Enriching the undergraduate student experience has been a major focus of his leadership, and over the last decade, we have seen extensive growth in undergraduate research opportunities, community service-learning, study and work abroad, Aboriginal engagement, co-curricular programming and certificates, and much more. Under Carl’s leadership, simplified and consolidated student-centred systems and services have also been put in place by the Registrar’s Office and Dean of Students. To achieve these enhancements, he has worked closely and collaboratively with the Students’ Union and Graduate  Students’ Association.

During his tenure, Carl has ensured that Augustana Campus became a fully integrated part of the U of A community, offering students a unique liberal arts small campus learning experience within a large comprehensive university. The Faculty of Native Studies and School of Public Health were both established in the last decade. Carl’s development of a Council on Aboriginal Initiatives, and complementary initiatives such as the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, annual AMIQAAQ Conference, TAWWOW, and Round Dance, have created a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for Aboriginal students. For his work in advancing traditional knowledge, Carl was presented with an Eagle Feather at a special ceremony hosted by Chief Piwapisamostos and presided over by Sundance Chief Clifford Cardinal in 2014.

Carl has also been a champion for the U of A, Alberta, and Canada on the international stage. The U of A’s international reach and reputation has increased through his reorganization and leadership of UAI and his dedicated relationship-building, most especially in Germany and China. Thanks to his efforts, the U of A is now host to more China Scholarship Students than any other Canadian university. Germany has honoured him with their highest tribute—the German Order of Merit—for his work fostering international scientific co-operation. Under Carl’s leadership, the internationalization of U of A’s learning environment has expanded, with increases in international student enrolment, growth in international programs, and strong support of global citizenship education.

Since my arrival as president, Carl has been an invaluable colleague and advisor. His affection for, and fierce commitment to, the U of A was evident from our first meeting and has only grown over the course of our work together. His leadership as provost here at the U of A has been an example for academic and other public service leaders across Canada; in recognition of this leadership, he received Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration earlier this fall. His ability to establish and maintain strong ties throughout all of our stakeholder communities has secured the U of A’s reputation as an active and engaged civic partner. I look forward to working with Carl in his new role and have no doubt that he will continue to forge strong partnerships between Alberta’s research intensive, medical-doctoral universities and Alberta Health Services.  

Deputy Provost Olive Yonge will serve as acting provost until an interim provost is appointed in consultation with our incoming president. I will be hosting an event in the New Year for the university community to celebrate Carl’s many contributions to the University of Alberta. Please join me now in wishing Carl the very best in this new endeavour.


Indira V. Samarasekera
President and Vice-Chancellor

Friday, November 14, 2014

David Howard Turpin named University of Alberta’s next president

The University of Alberta is pleased to announce David Howard Turpin as its 13th president and vice-chancellor.

Turpin, who most recently served as president of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, is an outstanding Canadian academic leader and renowned international scholar whose achievements are recognized across the post-secondary sector. His appointment was ratified Nov. 13, 2014, by the University of Alberta Board of Governors.

“The University of Alberta is up for the challenges of the future, and David Turpin, a seasoned researcher, talented teacher, successful administrator and visionary leader, is up to the challenge of leading us into that future,” said board chair Doug Goss. “We could not have found a better candidate to carry on the great work that has been done by President Indira Samarasekera.”

Turpin begins his appointment at the U of A July 1, 2015, taking over from Samarasekera, who is retiring after serving two terms as president.

Turpin served as president of the University of Victoria for 13 years. He served at Queen’s University as vice-principal (academic) from 1995–2000 and prior to that, as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Royal Society of Canada, a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals, and was named an NSERC Steacie Memorial Fellow.

Read the UAlberta news story


Friday, November 7, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Bulletin - Nov 7, 2014

To the students, staff, and faculty who spent a sleepless night in Rutherford South last night (Thursday), my thanks and congratulations on staging the University of Alberta’s first Long Night Against Procrastination. Complementing other initiatives organized in recent years at the U of A to support student success, such as BaseCamp, Day of Service, and others, the LNAP is aimed in particular at helping students manage the time pressures and gain the academic skills needed to prepare high-quality writing assignments on time. Last night’s event was part of a Canada-wide launch of this initiative, which was first organized in Germany in 2010. Organizing the LNAP here on our campus was a collective effort and I appreciate the work done by the U of A’s writing centres and Libraries, in addition to partners from NAIT and MacEwan, to make it a success.

Another international initiative will culminate this coming weekend. Also originating in Germany, the Falling Walls Lab showcases the innovative ideas and entrepreneurial ambitions of academics, students, and post-doctoral fellows under the age of 35. In a competition held on campus earlier this fall, 20 U of A candidates pitched their research ideas before a panel of judges who chose three of them to head to Berlin to participate in the international Falling Walls competition tomorrow in Berlin. Supported by the Office of the Vice-President (Research) and the Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative, the U of A was one of only 20 institutions around the world selected to participate in the Falling Walls Lab. Please join me in wishing engineering post-doc Zack Storms, diabetes researcher Nermeen Youssef, and chemical engineering PhD student Diana Martinez Tobon good luck tomorrow. 

This week, Gordon Houlden and Jia Wang of the China Institute have been in China to sign four new agreements with the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, Peking University, Xi’an Jiao Tong University, and Northwest A&F University. These agreements continue to extend the U of A’s reach in China and focus on shared objectives to create student and faculty exchanges, establish a joint research centre dedicated to agriculture and food innovation, and encourage collaboration on issues relating to trade and investment in Canada and China.

Debra Pozega Osburn, vice-president (university relations), and David Lynch, dean of engineering, represented the U of A at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities early this week. There, they participated in highly productive conversations with other post-secondary leaders from the United States and Mexico on the creation of possible partnerships in the future.

A final note to highlight what has clearly been a theme this week: partnership and collaboration.

Last Saturday, Augustana Campus and the Camrose region celebrated the opening of the new Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre. This project has come to fruition thanks to a collaborative effort between the University of Alberta, the City of Camrose, Camrose County, the Province of Alberta, and many generous community donors. My warmest congratulations to Dean Allen Berger and all others involved in making this new facility a reality—it represents years of advocacy and strong community partnership building.

Until next Friday,