College of Medicine restructuring update delivered to Council

The first progress report on the implementation plan toward A New Vision for the College of Medicine was presented to University Council on April 18 by Lou Qualtiere, acting dean of medicine, and Martin Phillipson, vice-provost, College of Medicine restructuring.

The vision document, which was approved by Council in December, is meant to address long-standing challenges in the college, specifically surrounding accreditation of the undergraduate medical education program, poor research performance and the provision of clinical service by university faculty.

"What was agreed upon on in December is a significant re-conceptualization of the college," said Phillipson. "There will be changes that represent a radical departure from the status quo and the college will look very different in five years, because it must."

Qualtiere reported on the continuing work of the Dean's Advisory Committee (DAC), which is guiding and overseeing the restructuring and renewal process. Multiple working groups have already tabled written reports and the remaining documents will come together in the next month or so.

Qualtiere explained that the DAC will then be tasked with considering the recommendations put forward by each of the working groups and formulating a comprehensive implementation plan. College of Medicine Faculty Council will consider key elements of the proposed plan at a special meeting on June 25.

"Lessons learned – there should be no surprises when this document hits Council in August," said Phillipson. "My vision is that the implementation plan put forward by the DAC will be made up of chapters of smaller plans, and those will be shared widely within the college."

One of those chapters will detail a faculty complement plan, Phillipson continued. "What does our faculty need to look like to deliver the results expected of the college?"

Research will be another significant area addressed through restructuring.  Colum Smith, who was appointed interim vice-dean, research for the college, will put forward a detailed research plan to faculty. Following internal consultation, discussion and fine-tuning, the plan will be finalized and shared with University Council.

President Ilene Busch-Vishniac put the discussion in context by reiterating her comments from the April 10 General Academic Assembly. In that address, she pointed out that among U15 universities, research funding obtained by colleges of medicine generally hovers between 40 and 50 per cent of the institution's total whereas at the U of S, it is about eight per cent.

"I want to remind everybody that the College of Medicine affects each and every person on this campus," she said. "As goes the College of Medicine, so goes University of Saskatchewan."

University Council will receive the next update on various chapters at its June meeting.

Laura Herman is a communications officer in the College of Medicine. 

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