President delivers first report to Council

Ilene Busch-Vishniac received a warm welcome Sept. 20 when she delivered her first report to University Council as president, a report in which she relayed her initial impressions of the U of S but also highlighted two challenges facing the institution.

The president said that since her arrival at the U of S July 1, she has found members of the university community friendly, hardworking and dedicated, the facilities "generally in very good shape, and the campus amazing." Her overall impressions have left her "certain I have not made a mistake" taking on the job of president, she said.

And with the arrival of students on campus in early September, "it feels like the thermostat has been turned up."

Sporting items from her large and growing collection of university and Huskies paraphernalia has made the president clearly visible in the community, and Busch-Vishniac told Council she is often stopped by people wanting to express their admiration for and dedication to the university.

The president went on to talk about the fact the provincial government "has put us on notice" that operating grants in the future would be less generous than in the past. "My job," she said, "is to advocate for strategic investment in this university. I can't promise results (but) I can promise resolve."

Busch-Vishniac then spoke at length about the College of Medicine, which is the focus of efforts to solve problems with accreditation, research performance and delivery of clinical services (see story Page 3). Medical schools matter to universities, said Busch-Vishniac; other academic areas build on medical schools and they are "a key way we serve people." They are also economic engines, both internally and externally.

She said medical teaching, research and clinical service are tightly interwoven, with great clinicians, researchers and teachers benefitting from working closely. "But at the
U of S, we've managed to tease apart" the three main threads. The result, she said, is falling research output and student achievement. "We have a model that is broken … and it's in our best interest to find a way to help.

"The College of Medicine is a key priority for me," she said, adding its success "is critical for this campus improving."

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