IP initiatives headed for Council vote
– Motions create new centres, disband Extension –
By Colleen MacPherson
University Council has received official notice it will soon be asked to vote on motions that change how the University addresses teaching and learning, and the education needs of the community, and part of that change means dismantling the Extension Division, one of the oldest entities on campus.
The notice of motions presented to its March 16 meeting calls on Council to endorse the New Learning Centre, establish the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education by July, and disestablish Extension by July 1, 2007. In presenting the three motions and a discussion paper, Beth Bilson, law professor and chair of Council’s Planning Committee, reminded members their mandate is clear – to address the academic priorities of the institution.
The motions flow naturally from Council’s approval of both the Integrated Plan and the Foundational Document on Outreach and Engagement, which indicated structural changes would be necessary, she said, “so this really should come as no surprise to you.”
In the discussion paper accompanying the motions, the Planning Committee quoted from the Integrated Plan that states extension “is not just the job of the Division of Extension. It is everyone’s business at this University…”.
There are still administrative questions about the changes to be dealt with “in other forums,” Bilson said, but it “seems appropriate that Council give its seal of approval to the academic aspects” of the changes. “Does this serve the academic purpose identified in previous decisions of Council? That is what you will be asked to consider in April.”
The first motion asks Council to approve the terms of reference and objectives of a new Centre for Continuing and Distance Education (CCDE) to address the education goals of the people of Saskatchewan. As detailed in the discussion paper, the CCDE will support the provision of “innovate, alternative and flexible forms of education” and will reassign Extension responsibilities. Its areas of activity will include continuing education and lifelong learning – non-credit courses, workshops and certificate programs – as well as on and off-campus delivery of credit courses. The CCDE will also be the central point of contact for organizations seeking instructional services from the U of S.
To be located in the Williams Building, the new centre will employ professional continuing education and support personnel under the interim leadership of Bob Cram, who is currently acting director of Extension Credit Studies. No faculty appointments are expected, according to the discussion paper.
At its April meeting, Council will also be asked to endorse the New Learning Centre, designed to support the teaching and learning needs of faculty and students. (Please see separate story Page 9)
The discussion paper goes on to outline the redistribution of Extension activities:
• The functions of the Regional Advisory Councils will be transferred to University Advancement by July.
• In May, the staff and budget of Open Studies will move to the Student and Enrolment Services Division, as will responsibility for spring/summer session.
• A task force is being set up to assess the University of Saskatchewan Extension Press. Its report is expected by September.
• A new business plan is being drawn up for the Kenderdine Campus. Its reporting structure is expected to be in place by July.
• Other Extension activities like Garden Line and the Whelen Lecture will be reviewed.
• The division’s master’s degree in continuing education will become the responsibility of the College of Education.
• The new CCDE will take over Extension’s certificate programs.
• The Outreach and Engagement Foundational Document calls for the creation of two structures to support the University’s goals – an Office of University-Community Relations and a President’s Round Table on Outreach and Engagement.
• It is expected some faculty positions as well as staff in Extension will be transferred to other colleges or units, and the Provost’s Office will oversee educational upgrading wherever possible. There are 13 tenured and tenure-track faculty positions in Extension along with five out-of-scope faculty positions.
Bilson concluded by suggesting the three motions are a “logical conclusion” to decision made earlier by Council and she encouraged members “to spend some time with this material before the April meeting.”
Council meets again April 17.
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