Friday, July 11, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Bulletin—July 11, 2014

This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with the 2014-2015 executive teams of the Students’ Union and Graduate Students’ Association. At each meeting, I was pleased to meet both the newly elected members as well as welcome former members back in their new roles. In both cases, we launched productive discussion of our priorities for the coming year and I look forward to meeting again over the course of the next 12 months.

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.

Until then,


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Digital Learning Update

In spring 2012, President Samarasekera established a digital learning visioning committee in order to determine how the University of Alberta fit into the post-secondary digital learning landscape and to seek opportunities for growth. From that report, the Digital Learning Pilots: Research & Development Project Committee (DLP: R&D) was formed in January 2013 to implement its vision, with a focus on managing a select number of MOOC and blended classroom pilots that would “offer the highest quality digital learning environment to enhance in-class experience and create a strong online learning presence."

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.

Carl Amrhein
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Friday, July 4, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Update - July 4, 2014

I mentioned last week that I would use this week’s bulletin to update you on some of the major initiatives and projects undertaken by Vice-President (Facilities and Operations) Don Hickey’s portfolio over the last year. Many of their efforts are highly visible across campus. I've watched with interest the dramatic evolution of the Physical Activity and Wellness Centre nearing completion on the corner of 114 Street and 87 Avenue. The PAW Centre is a joint effort of the University of Alberta, the Students’ Union, the Graduate Students’ Association, the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, and private philanthropy and just one example of several partnerships that lie behind the construction of new facilities on U of A’s campuses. Other ongoing or recently completed examples include the Camrose Performing Arts Centre, a partnership with the City of Camrose, Camrose County and Augustana Faculty; the upcoming installation of an Islamic garden within the Devonian Botanic Garden with the Aga Khan University; the Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility with Alberta Health Services, National Resources Canada, and Advanced Cyclotron Systems; and the Innovation Centre for Engineering (ICE) with the Faculty of Engineering.

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

Dean Selection Committee, Faculty of Engineering - Call for Consultation

Dr. David Lynch has announced that he will step down as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, ending his term effective 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 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

Faculty of Engineering

Carl G. Amrhein, Chair, Dean Selection Committee
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Lorne Babiuk, Vice-Chair, Dean Selection Committee
Vice-President (Research)

Mazi Shirvani
Vice-Provost and Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Robert Burrell
Chair, Biomedical Engineering

Tony Yeung
Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Janet Elliott
Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Simaan AbouRizk
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Duncan Elliott
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Brian Fleck
Chair, Mechanical Engineering

Tian Tang
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Jason Carey
Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Raymond Matthias
Manager, Student Services

Nelson Amaral
Professor, Department of Computing Science
GFC Member

Keith Franklin
Operations Manager nano-FAB, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty of Engineering

Mark Flint
Chief Executive Officer
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists

Luke Wegren
Vice-President Finance, Engineering Students Society
Undergraduate Student

Jeremy Wohland
Graduate Students’ Association
Graduate Student

Total Members: 17


Office of the Provost and
Vice-President (Academic):

Kathleen Brough
Portfolio Initiatives Manager
2-40J South Academic Building
University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-6655

Faiza Billo
Faculty Relations Assistant
2-40 South Academic Building
University of Alberta
Phone: 780-248-1047

Search Consultant:

Colleen Keenan
Odgers Berndtson                                                                          
200 Bay Street, Suite 3150
South Tower, Royal Bank Plaza
Toronto, ON
Phone: 416-366-1990

Friday, June 27, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Update - June 27, 2014

I want to begin this weekly bulletin with a sincere note of appreciation. June 30 marks the last day for our colleagues who decided to participate in the voluntary severance program last fall. On behalf of the entire University of Alberta community, I would like to thank them for their years of service and the major contributions they have made to campus life, our students’ experience, the effective administration of the university and the advancement of knowledge. Their collective expertise, institutional memory and creative energy will be missed in faculties and units across campus. Let me also extend our best wishes for their continued success in future endeavours, whether in retirement, ongoing professional development or employment in another organization.

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.

Until then,


Friday, June 20, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Update - June 20, 2014

In this week’s bulletin, I’d like to focus on a number of key approvals that occurred at today’s Board of Governors’ meeting. As you know, on May 22, Vice-president (Facilities and Operations) Don Hickey informed the community that a proposal for the establishment of a land trust at the University of Alberta would be taken to this month’s meeting. The proposal is one of several ideas that we are pursuing to open new revenue streams that can support the core teaching and research mission of the university over the long term. I am pleased to report that the motion to establish a land trust was unanimously approved today by the board.

With this approval, the process for creating the trust will now begin. Next steps would include defining a clear mandate for the trust, nominating board members and seeking necessary government approvals and orders-in-council that will allow the university to lease lands to the trust. Then the university will identify which lands will be transferred to the trust and it can begin its work. I want to assure you that the trust’s mandate will uphold U of A values and be in alignment with the university’s Long Range Development Plan. Our academic, research and financial needs will continue to be taken into consideration as this process unfolds.

Another major agenda item at today’s board meeting was the presentation of a new Alumni Association Charter. (This was also presented earlier in the week at Deans’ Council.) As the engagement of alumni has grown and strengthened in recent years, it became apparent that the relationship between the university and the association needed to be defined and formalized to create a stronger platform for sustained growth. While some universities’ alumni groups choose to become independent agencies, others choose close partnership with their alma mater. After an 18-month period of study and consultation, the Alumni Association has decided to reinforce our close ties and create a partnership charter. This will ensure tight alignment between the association and the university as the Alumni Association heads into its 100th anniversary in 2015.

I can also report that the board formally approved two namings today. The first confirmed that the leadership college will be called the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. The second approved the naming of the student residence on Saskatchewan Drive, which is the planned hub for the college’s activities. Upon completion, it will be known as Peter Lougheed Hall. Over the last several weeks, PLLC founding principal Kim Campbell and senior advisor Martin Ferguson-Pell have been busy engaging in broad consultations with many members of faculty and students, as well as individuals from the broader community, as they develop plans and programs for the college.

Let me close by thanking all those who came out in the rain yesterday for the staff appreciation picnic. Your presence made it a great success.

Until next week,


Friday, June 13, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Update - June 13, 2014

Convocation ceremonies continued this week, the last one concluding on Wednesday afternoon. Each spring and fall, convocation gives us an occasion to reflect on the achievements of our new graduates (this spring 6,738 in total) and the role that all University of Alberta faculty and staff play in ensuring their academic success. For those in attendance, the experience is an emotional affirmation that our efforts to create meaningful learning experiences for students, and to facilitate and support their personal and professional growth through a host of co- and extracurricular opportunities, do have a tangible impact on many students’ lives. I send all of the Class of 2014 our congratulations and best wishes. Visit the UAlberta convocation page for stories and pictures.

Following the conclusion of Convocation 2014, the members of the President’s Executive Committee and I met for a full day of meetings on Thursday. Our discussions focused on setting priorities for the next six to 12 months to ensure that we make substantial progress on achieving the strategic aims of our four-point Action Plan and the board’s corresponding change agenda. I will provide further details as these plans are refined over the summer months.

This week, I’d like to highlight some recently announced awards and offer my congratulations. Yesterday afternoon in Toronto, TEC Edmonton was named Canada’s “Incubator of the Year” at the Startup Canada Awards. The award recognizes its work and demonstrated success in supporting entrepreneurs and startups. You might also remember that TEC Edmonton was ranked as the 17th best incubator in the world a year ago in the University Business Incubator Index: Global Top 25 Report. Both citations are confirmation that TEC Edmonton’s increasing impact and influence is notable not only here in Edmonton and Alberta, but also in Canada and beyond.

Our team in the Office of Sustainability was also honoured last week by the Alberta Emerald Foundation for its outreach programs aimed at reducing waste in residence. These programs include Eco-Move Out, a program that succeeded in diverting 9,586 kg of goods from the landfill in 2014 alone. In addition to traditional recycling on campus, this program has diverted an additional 21,000 kg of goods from landfill since 2010. This program is delivered in collaboration with Residence Services, Buildings & Grounds Services and many community partners. Thanks to the efforts of both staff and students, the U of A’s long-standing reputation as an institution dedicated to improving environmental practices and performance continues to strengthen.

The University of Alberta Press and individuals from its slate of authors, designers and editors have also won several 2014 awards. These include awards from the Association of American University Presses, L’Association des littératures canadiennes et québécoise/The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures, the Alberta Book Awards, and the Editors’ Association of Canada.

My last word this week is a reminder to all support staff to please join me at the 2014 President’s Staff Appreciation Picnic next Thursday, June 19, from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Please register if you haven't done so already. I’ll see you there rain or shine!

Until then,


Friday, June 6, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Update—June 6, 2014

Much of this week and next is devoted to Spring Convocation 2014. This year, there are 13 ceremonies in all, including one devoted to graduates of Faculty of Extension certificate and citation programs. Most days, I attend two ceremonies, morning and afternoon, and with Chancellor Ralph Young also host a special breakfast and lunch for each ceremony’s honorary degree recipient. A great deal of effort goes into planning and executing convocation each year, and I’d like to thank the staff in our Convocation and Ceremonies Office for their hard work, care, and attention to detail. Each ceremony is meaningful and memorable for each graduate and his or her family. Thank you!

Before the ceremonies on north campus began on Tuesday, a special meeting of the Board of Governors was convened on Monday morning to review and approve the 2013-2014 audited financial statements, immediately following a meeting of the Board Audit Committee. Although convened at a special time in order to meet government financial reporting deadlines, these meetings are a regular annual occurrence. As I mentioned in last week’s bulletin, the Auditor General returned one of the best reports the University of Alberta has received. All but one of the recommendations carried forward from last year’s audit were deemed complete and no new recommendations were added. The 2013-2014 audited financial statements will be posted on the Financial Services website by the end of this month.

On Tuesday evening, I welcomed about 300 alumni, development, marketing, communications and advancement professionals from post-secondary institutions from across Canada to the 2014 Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) national conference. The U of A is this year’s host for the annual three-day national conference.

Over the last year, the Office of the Vice-President (Advancement) has been involved in a number of initiatives that have significantly raised the university’s profile among alumni and other audiences. Hosting this national conference is one such endeavour. Another highlight was the release of the 2013 Alumni Impact Survey commissioned by Advancement and conducted by Business professors Tony Briggs and Jennifer Jennings. A first in Canada, it clearly demonstrated the positive social and economic impact of U of A alumni both inside and outside of Alberta.

In total, $88 million was raised in private philanthropic support for the university over the last fiscal year. More alumni than ever are now engaged with the university, and this past year, the greatest number of alumni in our history donated back to their alma mater. Volunteerism among alumni has also significantly increased (300 per cent) over the last year in large part due to the Do Great Things program launched in April 2013. A U of A venture mentoring service was established with alumnus Ray Muzyka in the lead; already 30 mentors and 20 ventures are involved. About 15,000 students and alumni participated in voting for their choice of professor to deliver the “Last Lecture”—professor Robert Burch (Philosophy) was the final selection for 2014.

As you know from these weekly bulletins, I am often engaged with donors and alumni, and to conclude this brief overview of Advancement’s activities for 2013-2014, let me report that I have personally met with 56 donors, in addition to hosting President’s Society dinners and other major alumni events over the last year—conceived and organized by Vice-President O’Neil Outar and his team.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate Vice-President (Research) Lorne Babiuk, who is receiving an honorary degree from the University of Saskatchewan today for his leadership in vaccine and infectious disease research. And I would like to warmly welcome Pierre-Yves Mocquais, who will join the U of A as Dean of, Faculté Saint-Jean and Executive Officer of Campus Saint-Jean for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2014. He comes to us with extensive academic administrative experience and is currently full professor in the Department of French, Italian and Spanish at the University of Calgary. Many thanks to Ed Blackburn for his effective leadership as Acting Dean at CSJ over the last year and a half.

Until next Friday,


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Preparing for the unthinkable

Today the University of Alberta, along with six partner PSE institutions in the province, releases an educational video about how to respond in an active shooter situation. An “active shooter” is an individual who enters a confined and populated area and begins shooting.

There have been fewer than ten such events in schools and post-secondary institutions in Canada in this country’s history, and the likelihood of one happening here is remote. The consequences are immeasurably high, however, which is why more organizations are providing this education.

In the winter of 2013, emergency managers representing seven post-secondary institutions from across Alberta formed a working group to develop this material, which is available to all 26 Campus Alberta institutions. Chaired by the University of Alberta’s Office of Emergency Management, the working group included representatives of Concordia University College, MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, NorQuest College, SAIT Polytechnical Institute and the University of Lethbridge.

There is no higher priority than the safety of the members of our community. By offering this education, the university adds a new and important piece to our existing safety infrastructure.

Please do take a few minutes to watch the video. Some groups will choose to watch it together so they can discuss it afterwards. Peace Officers from Protective Services are also available to screen and discuss the video for larger groups at the university. You can link directly to the video and see the related materials here:

Carl Amrhein, provost and vice-president (Academic) and
Phyllis Clark, vice-president (Finance and Administration)

Appointment Announcement – Dean of the Faculté Saint-Jean and Executive Officer, Campus Saint-Jean

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors has approved the appointment of Dr. Pierre-Yves Mocquais as Dean, Faculté Saint-Jean and Executive Officer, Campus Saint-Jean for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2014.

Dr. Mocquais is currently a Full Professor in the Department of French, Italian and Spanish at the University of Calgary. He was previously the Dean of Humanities at the University of Calgary from 1999 to 2004. Prior to his appointment at the University of Calgary, he was Assistant Professor (1983), Associate Professor (1987), and Full Professor (1995) in the Department of French at the University of Regina. He was also the Head of the Department of French (1992-1997) and Associate Dean of Arts (1997-1999).

Dr. Mocquais has worked extensively on French cultural identity in the Prairies and in the field of French-Canadian literature and culture. He is the editor or co-editor of three collective volumes on the francophone culture and literature of the Prairies, the author of two books on Quebec writer Hubert Aquin, and has recently published Histoire(s) de famille(s): mémoire et construction identitaire en Fransaskoisie. While in Saskatchewan he was closely involved with the Fransaskois community. First in the context of his research and second as one of the founding members of the Language Institute, which later became the Institut français. He went on to create the Centre d’études sur le Canada-français et la francophonie (CECFF) at the University of Regina, which has now been renamed the Centre canadien de recherches sur les francophonies minoritaires (CCRFM). Dr. Mocquais gathered an interdisciplinary team of researchers which led to substantial funding from the SSHRC and Canadian Heritage to study the Fransaskois culture. He was actively involved with community organizations in Saskatchwewan, among others as a member of the Board of Directors of the French newspaper of Saskatchewan, L’eau vive. In Calgary, he was involved in the Alliance française for more than ten years, including serving as board member, Vice President and then President for six years. His involvement with the Alliance française allowed him to establish relationships with the Alberta French-Canadian community, the French expatriate community, as well as with the international network of Alliance françaises. While at the University of Regina, Dr. Mocquais founded the Canadian Institute for Peace, Justice and Security of which he was the Acting Director for two years. Dr. Mocquais’ engagement on behalf of francophonie and French culture has been recognized by the Government of France which appointed him a member of the Ordre des Palmes académiques in 2005 and an officer in 2013.While Dean of Humanities, Dr. Mocquais successfully led a $1.1 million application to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for the creation of the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary. This was followed by a successful application for a Canada Research Chair in Applied Linguistics attached to the LRC. He proposed the creation of a Chair in Business Ethics to be located in the Faculty of Humanities and raised $1 million towards its creation. While Dean of Humanities, Dr. Mocquais chaired the Markin Flanagan Distinguished Writers Program (now the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program) and worked closely with Allan Markin to substantially increase the endowment. He was a member of the editorial board of Red Deer Press and has been a member of the editorial board of the University of Calgary Press since 2005. He has also served as a member of the Executive of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Mocquais attended the Université de Franche Comté (France), where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies and a Master’s of Modern Literature. He received his doctorate in French-Canadian Literature at the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Mocquais aims to increase the Faculté’s scholarly productivity and external funding, as well as for the Faculté to become the undisputed leader in Western Canadian Studies through national and international partnerships. He also looks forward to collaborating closely with other academic units on campus, as well as the Franco-Albertan community and its leaders, various organizations and agencies, of which he considers the Faculté to be an essential component. He believes that the Faculté contributes uniquely to the identity of the university and the city of Edmonton. This plays a pivotal role in the education and training of citizens and professionals for the francophone community of Alberta and Western Canada and for Canadian society. He also believes that the Faculté must continue playing a very significant role in the cultural and social life of the francophone community, extending to the city and the province.

We welcome Dr. Mocquais and look forward to working with him.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to Dr. Ed Blackburn, Interim Dean, for his excellent leadership of, and dedication to, the Faculté Saint-Jean for the past 16 months.

I wish to thank the members of the Dean Selection Committee, Faculté Saint-Jean, for their hard work and commitment and to thank all of you who participated in the selection process.

Carl G. Amrhein
Provost and Vice President (Academic)