Friday, January 31, 2014

President Samarasekera's Weekly Bulletin—Jan. 31, 2014

This week, I have good news to share with you. On Tuesday (Jan 28), NACUBO (National Association of College and University Business Officers) released its annual Endowment Survey for the year ending June 2013. I am pleased to report that the University of Alberta's endowment growth rate has exceeded most of our Canadian peer institutions. Due to this success, the U of A has been able to substantially recover losses suffered during the global financial crisis of 2009, including inflation, which means that we are maintaining the real value of the endowment after program spending. With a current value of $971 million, we are now nearing the $1 billion mark—a milestone we will be able to celebrate with pride.

As many of the people who attended my roundtables last fall noted, it is  critically important that we share widely such evidence of the U of A’s good stewardship of resources and to show the positive impact that having these resources has throughout the province. This week, we launched a website detailing the U of A’s leadership within Campus Alberta. Although far from being inclusive of all that we do, it shows the depth and breadth of our participation. In addition to being part of one of the most flexible and comprehensive transfer programs in North America, the U of A provides leadership in several collaborative research partnerships and has developed systems and processes promoting administrative efficiencies throughout Alberta’s post-secondary sector. We are able to provide this leadership because of the notable efforts of faculty members and administrators across campus and in all disciplines who reach out to colleagues across the province, devise the means and processes of collaboration, and collectively work to advance knowledge—and knowledge transfer—for the benefit of Alberta. The Campus Alberta site can be accessed via the university homepage, under the WhyUAlberta tab.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education David Hancock has invited me to meet with him next week—he has pledged to meet with all 26 presidents throughout Campus Alberta. In addition to learning more about his priorities for us, I will be using this opportunity to highlight the significant and tangible social, cultural, and economic impact the U of A has on the province. I will emphasize how our pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and creative activity matters for our students and for the organizations, corporations, and industries that benefit from discoveries, solutions, and innovations we generate. My preparation for this meeting has been made easier because of the work that all of you do on a daily basis—the evidence of U of A’s value is truly vast and compelling.

Next week will be eventful. Monday morning, Carl Amrhein will be returning to his post as Provost and Vice-President (Academic).  That afternoon, General Faculties Council will go through a full agenda, including a new student groups policy, the conceptual framework for the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, and the SU’s proposal for a fall reading week. At the end of the week, the senior team will present for discussion a draft of the Comprehensive Institutional Plan, which includes the 2014-2015 budget, to a joint meeting of GFC’s Academic Planning Committee and the Board Finance and Property Committee.

Until next Friday,



  1. So where has he been ? ( Amrhein ) and was he being paid during his leave ?

    1. Thanks for the question Anonymous. Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Amrhein was on earned administrative leave with the Conference Board of Canada. Please see President Samarasekera's Nov. 30 update:


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