Volume 12, Number 11 February 4, 2005

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Provost and Council Chair promote involvement in IP

By Colleen MacPherson

IP logo

As progress continues on implementing the initiatives detailed in the University’s Integrated Plan, the Provost and the Chair of University Council have jointly restated a commitment to extensive consultation and “an open, collegial decision-making process”.

A joint message widely distributed Jan. 25 by Michael Atkinson and Joseph Angel said there will be ample opportunity in 2005 for faculty take part in implementing the initiatives but cautioned that “inclusion in the plan does not mean pre-approval”. Faculty will also have a chance to participate, through meetings and events, in developing three new foundational documents dealing with teaching and learning, outreach and engagement and faculty complement.

Michael Atkinson

Michael Atkinson

In addition to strongly encouraging campus community members to participate in council and department discussions, the joint message pointed out that many faculty members are involved in the process at the committee level. These individuals, said the statement, “can both respond to and take your comments forward”.

A key step in implementing the strategic initiatives was assigning responsibility “to persons and offices for ensuring that the initiatives and priorities ... move forward”. At the request of the Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning (PCIP), each responsible person or office was asked to submit a progress report and these were collectively presented to the Jan. 27 meeting of Council by Atkinson.

Referring to his printed report, the Provost admitted there are “funding issues attached to these projects, and I’m aware of them”. Space to accommodate the new initiatives is also of concern: “I can see programs arriving before the space arrives.” Still, Atkinson was encouraged by the progress made so far in several areas:

  • A proposal was made Dec. 21 to the College of Graduate Studies and Research for a graduate program in public health. Also, a letter of intent to establish a School of Public Health was circulated in October.

  • The New Media Centre is under development

  • A campus-wide workshop will be held this spring to discuss an undergraduate program in the proposed new School of Environmental Studies.

  • A new engineering entrepreneurship option for students interested in business management was approved Dec. 13 by Council's Academic Programs Committee.

  • Office space has been allocated in the Education Building and staff hired for the new Aboriginal Education Research Centre. There has also been a mural painting commissioned for an Aboriginal "showcase" organized by the Education Library.

  • A working group of nine faculty members from various departments is to begin discussing a graduate program that could be offered by a new School of Public Policy. The school and program are expected to be approved this fall with the first students expected to be admitted in the fall of 2006.

  • Work continues on restructuring the Extension Division, including creation of a cost-recovery continuing education unit. A draft of the outreach and engagement foundational document that will detail the new Extension mandate is expected to go to Council some time this year with a plan for the restructuring anticipated this spring.

Atkinson said he anticipates presenting another update, this time on Integrated Plan initiatives for supporting students, at the Feb. 24 Council meeting. A report on changing practices will follow in March or April. He added that both he and Angel are considering marking the first anniversary of Council's April 2004 approval of the Integrated Plan by organizing a review of "what worked well and what didn't".

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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