Thursday, April 21, 2011

AIPR Task Force

The Administrative Innovation and Process Review Task Force (AIPR) was created in February by Phyllis Clark, vice-president (finance and administration), in order to find ways to manage the operations of the University of Alberta more efficiently. With a make-up of people from across the University, the Task Force has been asking all members of the campus community for ideas on how to make the administrative operations of the institution more effective and efficient. We’re hoping to reduce the often heavy administrative burden for many in faculties and units, and allow staff more time to focus on primary responsibilities. We’re also attempting to find savings through increased efficiencies, implementing best practices, sharing services, and so on; people might even have ideas for ways to generate some revenue. While it may not be possible in every situation, the first response will be to see savings reinvested into departments or business units. Centrally funded savings will be redeployed as appropriate as determined either by the responsible vice-president or Executive Planning Committee.

We have already received a number of excellent suggestions, and continue to look for more. Many of the ideas for improvement will come from those dealing with the university’s processes every day, but we we encourage anyone who has an idea to contribute to the discussion. We have created a webpage that outlines the goals of the taskforce, provides its Terms of Reference and a membership list, as well as provides contact information for any member of the university community who may wish to make a suggestion. There are also past example of efficiencies that have been implemented by the university. We encourage you to visit the webpage, and to contact us at with any suggestions you may have. Suggestions may also be left as comments in this post; they will be forwarded to us by the moderators of the blog.

Sheree Kwong See
Mary Persson
AIPR task force co-chairs


  1. For each university-wide decision that requires new form-filling or other administrative work by staff, there should be a requirement to provide an plausible estimate of the amount of staff time that will have to be devoted to this activity in aggregate (e.g. x number of faculty times four minutes filling out the yearly conflict of interest form, plus all the work that goes into distributing, collecting, and filing it), and a justification of this time taken away from other tasks.

    I suspect that it's all too easy for well intentioned administrators or committees to create thousands of hours of work for others (often in very small doses) without ever taking seriously the massive aggregate hit to productivity of a given measure. Not to mention the hit to morale of one more pointless activity downloaded.

    And perhaps the hurdle of doing THIS bit of paperwork would dissuade those wanting to push new work onto others from doing so.... :-)

    (I'd offer the three email logins that we now need to do to get into GMail as another example of tiny doses of extra work that add up.)

  2. We’re sorry to hear you’ve been having trouble with multiple signon prompts. This is not typical behaviour and we’re keen to understand your situation in more detail to see if we can get this working properly for you.

    The expected behaviour is that you are prompted to logon when you first open Gmail. You should only be prompted to sign on again if you leave your browser for a long time, if you close your browser or if you restart your computer.

    Would you please send an email to from your uAlberta email account stating the problem? They will have a few technical questions for you to help us understand what the cause of this glitch is.

    Thank you!

  3. "The president, vice-presidents and their designates will post entries as often as possible to address issues, rumours, questions and decisions."

    No new topics to blog since April 21. And a number of past postings have effectively been news releases rather than topics on which readers might engage.

    Could more be made of this blog, please?

  4. It certainly doesn't look very good when its obvious that no one ever comes back to answer the hard questions, or to allow for any meaningful discussion of matter of controversy. Basically this is a FAQ extension of express news and has lived up to the reputation of the Senior Admin refusing to engage in any real debate. For people who want real dialogue about the nature and future of the academy, check out out the blog Whither the U of A.

  5. It certainly doesn't look very good when its obvious that no one ever comes back to answer the hard questions, or to allow for any meaningful discussion of matter of controversy.

    We do our best to answer all the queries in a timely fashion. For clarification's sake, could you please let us know what questions have not been answered?

    As to the question of discussion, the only comments that have not been approved are ones that have violated the Community Guidelines. We are happy to say there have been very few of these. Everything else has been approved and has appeared in the comments. We encourage people to have meaningful conversations on this blog, and if there are topics of discussion or blog posts that people would like to see, we encourage you to email us or leave a comment. This blog is a work-in-progress, but we remain committed to the direction the Provost outlined in his original post.

  6. April 25th I asked this question:
    Thanks for that response. Is there also a committment to providing adequate financial compensation to the hundreds of faculty and sessionals who teach the majority of students and upon whom the success of our undergrad programs depend? Not awards, but salaries? Thanks in advance for your response.

  7. Thank you for pointing out that missed question. The reason it wasn't answered the last time, and I should have pointed it out then, is that the University cannot respond to questions or comments related to such matters while negotiations are ongoing with AASUA. That still stands. Thanks.


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