Friday, February 27, 2015

Statement regarding student club display on campus

The university is aware of concerns regarding a display scheduled to be set up in Quad on March 3rd and 4th by the student group Go-Life, and takes these concerns seriously.

The University of Alberta will always start from a position that supports a right to freedom of expression. It is our duty to foster and facilitate discussion and debate in an environment that is a safe space for all students.

It is clear that there are passionate viewpoints on either side of the abortion debate. As Canadians, we are fortunate to live in a society that values democracy and protects our freedom of expression. As a place of higher learning, the university supports freedom of expression, including academic freedom, and we encourage our community to partake in a true exchange of ideas, and to do so in a respectful and civil manner.

Go-Life is a registered student group on campus and, as such, has the same rights and privileges as other student groups. That includes access to the same spaces as any other student group. They have followed university policies and procedures in preparation for their display on campus next week, and in placing posters about the event. Both University of Alberta Protective Services and the Office of the Dean of Students have been working with the group in advance of their event to ensure they follow procedures and expectations with regard to conduct.

A safe and respectful campus community is always a high priority. The university does not condone activity that violates the Student Group Procedures or the Code of Student Behaviour. Any complaints will be investigated by UAPS, according to our existing policies and procedures.


Indira V. Samarasekera
President and Vice-Chancellor

IVS Weekly Bulletin - Feb 27

This week, I spent time in Ottawa and Phoenix, where I had a number of productive meetings with government officials and donors covering a variety of topics.

In Ottawa, I met with Ted Hewitt the CEO of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to thank him for investments in research at the university and to discuss the Canada First Excellence Research Chair program. My thanks go to VP (Research) Lorne Babiuk, the deans, and many others across the institution, as they work toward the March 9th submission deadline.

I was also fortunate to meet with Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Millwoods-Beaumont and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, and Graham Flack, Deputy Minister of Heritage Canada to talk about the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative and issues important to the university. In addition, Mike Lake and I discussed autism and autism research. Given that our campus is home to a number of efforts that aim to advance autism related initiatives, we have invited Mike Lake to visit campus next month to learn about our autism research programs and to share his personal experiences with the disorder.

On Thursday, I was in Phoenix meeting with university supporters and donors, many of whom spend part of the winter in warmer climates. It is always a pleasure to hear how far the University of Alberta’s impact can reach and how the U of A has changed lives.

This week also saw the meetings of several Board of Governors committees. The Comprehensive Institutional Plan (CIP), including the 2015-2016 budget, was recommended for approval by the Board Learning and Discovery Committee and the Board Finance and Property Committee. As a result, the CIP will be presented to the full Board of Governors for approval on March 13.

Finally, while we welcomed our students back from Reading Week, it was with sadness. The campus suffered a tremendous loss last week, with the deaths of three of our own: two students and one former student. Our flag once again flew at half-mast this week to recognize the loss of another student, who had succumbed to her injuries suffered during the same accident. Again, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to their families and friends. I would also like to share my appreciation for the compassionate support that our students, faculty and staff have shared with the families and their friends in this time of grief. There is much to be done to help families through a loss like this, and I was heartened by the efforts of our campus community. Thank you for all that you have done in this difficult time.

Until next week,


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Statement on the passing of U of A students

Words seem inadequate to express the sadness enveloping our campus today. Two of our students and a former student lost their lives in a tragic car accident yesterday and a fourth person is in serious condition in hospital. On behalf of our university community, I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the students who died. Our thoughts are with the survivor.  

I urge any member of our university community who has been affected to reach out to the supports available from the university and the surrounding community. Students in residence are encouraged to contact an RA or other residence staff. As always, any student can access the the following supports on campus:
Location - 2nd floor SUB 
Phone - 780.492.5205
Hours - Open 8-4:30 Mon, Thur, Fri; open till 8- 7pm on Tue and Wed.

Phone - 780.492.3342 

Phone - 780.492.0339 

Location - 2-707 SUB
Hours - Monday to Friday 9am-8pm
Phone - 780.492.HELP (4357) 

University of Alberta International - Student Services

Location - International Centre (172 HUB)
Phone - 780.492.2692
Email -

This is a sad day for the University of Alberta, and most especially for the families and those closest to these young people. I know that our supportive community will come together and hope that our caring thoughts will, over time, help bring some small measure of peace to those who have lost loved ones this weekend.


Indira V. Samarasekera
President and Vice-Chancellor

Friday, February 13, 2015

IVS Weekly Bulletin—Feb 13

The week opened with Dean Fern Snart in Fort McMurray, where the University of Alberta signed a formal agreement with Keyano College that will make it possible for students in Wood Buffalo and Fort McMurray to complete a U of A bachelor’s degree in elementary education without having to move to Edmonton. This kind of partnership building is an extension of our mission as Alberta’s flagship university and leader within Campus Alberta. The success of the Faculty of Education’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program, shows that we can be innovative and responsive in providing high-quality educational choices to Albertans where they live, so that they can then go on to benefit their home communities. A huge majority of graduates of ATEP and two previous cohorts at Keyano College stay in or near their communities to teach.

Back on campus on Tuesday, Kerry Mummery and Phyllis Clark, co-chairs of the resource management steering committee, held a campus forum to explain the work being done by the working groups of the resource management model project. If you were unable to go, the presentation and following question period were recorded and are posted, along with other information, on Change@UAlberta.

The 2015 Comprehensive Institutional Plan began to make its way through the formal governance system last Friday with budget briefings to both the Academic Planning Committee of GFC and the Board of Governors. This was followed by a meeting of APC this week, where the full CIP was recommended for approval by the board; in the last week of February it will also go for recommendation to the Board Finance and Property Committee and the Board Learning and Discovery Committee. Required by the provincial government, the CIP is a major document comprising the university’s academic plan, capital plan, and institutional budget, along with other sections per government guidelines.

In this year’s CIP, we have presented our 2015–2016 institutional budget based upon the assumption that there will be no change to the Campus Alberta grant. We recognize that the provincial government is facing significant budget pressures due to the fall in the price of oil, and as prudent managers, we are preparing for a number of alternative scenarios based on possible reductions to the Campus Alberta grant. However, as we have received no official direction from government at this point, I feel it is essential that we continue to reinforce the message to government that investment in post-secondary education is the right choice in difficult economic times.

As next week is Reading Week, I will return again on February 27. I hope that all of you enjoy the long weekend.

Until then,


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Feb. 10 Campus Forum- RMM Project

Just a quick reminder that Phyllis Clark, VP (Finance and Administration) and Kerry Mummery, Dean, Faculty of Physical Education will be holding a campus forum today from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in L-1 Humanities Centre. All faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to attend. Today’s forum will focus on the development of the Resource Management Model project and will provide the campus community with the opportunity to ask the project’s team leads questions about the exploration of this alternative budgeting model.

Campus Forum 
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 
12 p.m. – 1 p.m. 
L-1 Humanities Centre

The event will also be livestreamed on Change@UAlberta. Following the event, video of the forum will be available in the Campus Forums section of the Change @UAlberta website.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bruce Peel Special Collections Library - Upcoming Renovation and Closure

I am delighted to announce that the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library is expanding because the University of Alberta is committed to the continued enhancement of collections that support research and teaching. In order to bring this exciting project to completion, the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library will be closed for renovations from April 2015 to approximately January 2016.

Without the expansion, our collecting efforts would have been seriously compromised. We simply did not have any more room to grow. The renovation will allow us to convert five floors of existing library stacks in Rutherford South into secure, climate-controlled storage space suitable for our unique and valuable Special Collections materials. A key feature of this expansion project is the new mechanical system that will be built on the basement level to create suitable atmospheric conditions throughout the newly acquired space. I am pleased to report that the expansion will increase our shelving capacity by approximately 270%. In effect, the Peel Library’s storage capacity will grow from 3400 to just over 9000 linear meters of shelving. The extra shelving will give us decades, not merely months and years, to continue transforming our library into an even greater centre of research and discovery.

Please note the following service changes that will be in place for the duration of the closure:

  • There will be no access to special collections materials or the reading room for the duration of the renovation due to the need to utilize the space temporarily for safe and secure storage. For this reason it is recommended that researchers who might need access to materials housed in the Peel Library visit prior to April 2015. 

  • Access to non-circulating materials from the Book and Record Depository (i.e., theses and books designated “no loan” in the library catalogue) or non-circulating interlibrary loan material on loan from other institutions will continue to be available. Contact Peel Library staff at or by calling 780–492–7311 to book an appointment. Appointments will be available within restricted afternoon hours. Advance booking is required.

  • Bookings for class visits to the Peel Library will not be available for the fall term in 2015.

Updated information will be available later in the year on the library website.

We look forward to bringing this exciting project to completion in due course. For further information regarding the closure, please contact Robert Desmarais, Head of the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library ( / 780-492-7929).

Gerald Beasley
Vice-Provost and Chief Librarian

Friday, February 6, 2015

President Samarasekera's Weekly Bulletin--Feb 6

This week opened with a meeting of General Faculties Council on Monday. In my comments from the chair, I gave a brief update to the council on my meetings with government. As you know, I have been meeting regularly with the deputy minister for the Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education—in fact more than usual. In this period of uncertainty before the provincial budget is released, I am keenly aware that this presents a critical opportunity to advocate strongly for the benefits that come from a strong post-secondary sector in this province—and from having a globally recognized research-intensive flagship such as the University of Alberta.

Later in the week on Thursday, I sat down with the Capital Region Conservative Caucus and talked with them about those benefits: highly skilled people and engaged citizens; breakthrough research that leads to creativity, innovation, commercialization, evidence-based public policy, and ultimately, economic diversification; and critical connections to leading international institutions and organizations in regions of the world that matter to Alberta.

Another, sometimes overlooked, public good that comes out of our university was highlighted in two other events this week—the outstanding public service leaders who are often selected from our ranks. This week, we came together as a community to celebrate the enormous contributions of Carl Amrhein. His leadership here at the U of A transformed the learning and research landscape for students and faculty, but that leadership extends far beyond our campus because of his strengths as a public administrator. He is now leading essential change with Alberta Health Services. His continued work as Distinguished Research Chair at the Conference Board of Canada is influencing national policies on higher education. His leadership-building partnerships with German research universities and institutions was of such calibre that he was awarded the German Order of Merit. And because of Carl, the U of A is considered one of China’s most prominent and trusted partners. A video honouring his legacy is available here.

The other event this week that highlighted the U of A’s contributions to public leadership was yesterday’s swearing in of Wayne Renke as a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Most recently vice-dean in the Faculty of Law, Wayne has also served our community as an associate dean and as president of AASUA. His appointment to the bench is a testament to his reputation for leadership, judgment, and dedication to public service. As Dean Paul Paton noted on news of this appointment, Wayne’s swearing in is another reminder that the Faculty of Law has a long history of contributing members to the Alberta judiciary.

If you were unable to attend the event for Carl Amrhein yesterday afternoon, I’d like to pass along the news that a new student scholarship has been established in his name to honour his long-standing dedication to expanding and strengthening post-secondary opportunities for Aboriginal students. More than half a million dollars has already been raised in thanks and tribute to Carl’s service to our community. If you are interested in learning more about the Carl Amrhein Aboriginal Student Fund, please visit this page.

Finally, let me note that I am thinking of SU president William Lau as I write this bulletin today. He has just finished racing around the Butterdome and Van Vliet Complex seeking hundreds of hiders in today’s attempt to break the world record for largest game of hide and seek. Although they may have fallen short of a world record, my thanks to the student organizers from the U of A’s Hide and Seek Club for their incredible spirit and hard work!

Until next Friday,


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dean Review, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation

Dr. Kerry Mummery’s current term as Dean, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation will end on June 30, 2015, and he has indicated he will seek a second term in office. In accordance with University regulations, a Dean Review Committee has been established.

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) State of 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 a 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 Friday, February 20, 2015.

Submissions from non-tenured faculty, administrative/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.

Dean Mummery’s review is based on the position description in effect at the time of his appointment.

Your views are important to us and I encourage you to share your thoughts with the Committee.

Roger Epp
Deputy Provost

Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Dean Review Committee:

Roger Epp, Chair
Deputy Provost

Erasmus Okine, Vice-Chair
Associate Vice-President (Research) and Associate Vice-President (Academic)

Mazi Shirvani
Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Kelvin Jones
Associate Professor

Tara-Leigh McHugh
Associate Professor

Pirkko Markula-Denison

Marjorie Cayford
Senior HR Partner, Human Resource Services

Ryan Schwartz
Undergraduate Student

Joel (Scott) Edwards
Panda’s Basketball Coach, Athletics

Joanna Auger
Faculty Lecturer

Katie Spriggs
Associate Director Athletics

Vang Ioannides
Associate Director Athletics

Gregory Lembke
Manager, Saville Community Sports Centre

Tyson Lazaruk
Recruitment Coordinator/Advisor

Jennifer Crawford
PhD Student

Committee Support

Susan Buchsdruecker
Faculty Relations Officer
Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Faiza Billo
Faculty Relations Assistant
Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Friday, January 30, 2015

President Samarasekera's Weekly Bulletin--Jan 30

This week I was in Ottawa, where I had a number of productive meetings covering a range of issues. First, I met with the deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada to discuss how recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have affected universities, and the University of Alberta more particularly, in the area of faculty and staff recruitment and retention.

I also had two meetings with Industry Canada—one with Minister James Moore and the other with ministry officials—where I both thanked them for government investments in research and continued to stress the need for and benefits of Canada Foundation for Innovation and Tri-Council funding. In addition, we discussed the upcoming inaugural competition for the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. I was pleased to assure the minister that the U of A will be ready to meet the tight timelines thanks to the preparatory work of VP (Research) Lorne Babiuk in conjunction with the deans and many others across the university.

Finally, I met with Rona Ambrose, minister of health. I am looking forward to hosting her next Friday when she expects to be here on campus for an announcement related to glycomics.

I was delighted upon my return from Ottawa to see how Quad has been transformed in my absence. No doubt many of you have already seen the beautiful snow and ice sculptures erected for Green & Glow Winterfest—the first event of many that will unfold over 2015 to celebrate the U of A Alumni Association’s centennial. With the weather taking a wintry turn today, the timing will be perfect for various activities planned for the weekend—all of which culminate in a 30-foot column of fire on Saturday night. I invite faculty, staff, and students to come out and welcome our alumni back to campus.

Along with alumni, the U of A is welcoming students from across Alberta and Western Canada to the inaugural Alberta Student Leadership Summit this weekend. The summit has come together because of the efforts of many groups, led by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Students’ Union, CAPS, and Residence Services, all of which are involved in helping students explore and ignite their potential for leadership.

As you know, we’ve identified student leadership development as a priority at the U of A, and many units and faculties have developed leadership programming or are in the process of doing so. I’d like to highlight today that recruitment began this week for the pioneer class of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. Information about the program and application deadlines can be found here.

Next week, the agenda for General Faculties Council, which meets on Monday afternoon, includes a number of items related to students, including enrolment management and student mental health and wellness. You can see the full agenda at the University Governance website.

Until next Friday,


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Resource Management Model Project Campus Forum (Feb. 10)

Earlier this month we wrote about the launch of the Resource Management Model Project, which is an exploratory initiative that will examine and evaluate the potential of introducing responsibility centred management (RCM) to the University of Alberta. For a quick overview of the project, please see our blog post from Jan. 21, 2015 or visit Change@UAlbertra for a detailed description.

As we mentioned, we will hold a campus forum on this topic. During the forum we will discuss why the university is evaluating this alternative to our current model and we will explain how the project has been structured. We hope to use this forum as a chance to answer questions the community might have about the project.

Campus Forum
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Noon – 1 p.m.
L-1 Humanities Centre
Note: The event will also be live streamed.

We invite all faculty and staff to attend. To register for the event, please click here.

Phyllis Clark
Vice-President (Finance and Administration)

Kerry Mummery
Dean, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation