University of Saskatchewan receives TransformUS task force recommendations

Saskatoon - University of Saskatchewan President Ilene Busch-Vishniac released two prioritization reports submitted by the TransformUS task forces to the campus community today. These reports, developed by two independent, internal task forces made up of faculty, staff and students, highlight recommendations for investment and disinvestment in University of Saskatchewan academic programs and support services.

"We are looking to find $20-25 million in permanent savings, or approximately five per cent of our total operating budget," said Busch-Vishniac. "As such, the recommendations from the task forces are one important element informing the final decisions we make, although not the only element."

Together the two task forces reviewed and prioritized nearly 900 programs and support services. Each task force completed its report independently of the other over the past several months, placing all academic programs and administrative support services into one of five quintiles, or categories, ranging from programs and services that are candidates for increased resources to categories that they recommend for phase out, pending further review and discussion.

"I appreciate the time, effort and careful consideration the task force members spent in creating these reports and I know this is not an easy process," said Busch-Vishniac.

The release of the reports kicks off an eight week period where the president and senior leaders of the university will be listening to the campus community, looking for feedback to inform the next steps in the process.

"From the beginning we have been open and transparent," Busch-Vishniac said. "We built this process with the input of people who would be affected. We have communicated all the way along and continue to do so. We recognize that such a transformative process in a university context needs to be, by definition, one that involves many people at different levels. This operating principle will be as important as we move into the next phases of consultation and deliberation."

Following the eight week period to provide feedback, the Provost's Committee on Integrated Planning will be tasked with taking the information provided in the task force reports, feedback provided by the campus community and advice from unit leaders, and conducting further analysis required with the intent to develop an implementation plan by the end of April 2014.

Decisions will begin to be implemented no later than May 1, 2014. Some decisions will be implemented immediately, while others, especially academic programs, may take until 2016 and beyond to see full implementation.

"We know these are challenging times for members of our campus community - our faculty, our staff and our students," Busch-Vishniac noted. "This process, understandably, is creating anxiety as we take the time to ensure we are making the best decisions to secure the continued financial sustainability and success of our university."

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For more information, contact:

Jennifer Thoma

Media Relations Coordinator


Note to editors: President Ilene Busch-Vishniac will be available for media interviews on December 9, 2013, from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. To schedule an interview, please contact Jennifer Thoma at 306-966-1851. For more information, updates and to access the TransformUS task force reports, please visit For further information on university finances and other budget adjustment initiatives underway, please visit

About TransformUS

Over the course of 2013 and early 2014, the University of Saskatchewan is undertaking a program prioritization process called, TransformUS. TransformUS is a simultaneous and comprehensive review of all academic programs and academic and administrative support services that use university resources. Based on results, decisions may be made to invest resources in our top priority programs and services, make no changes, or eliminate, reduce or re-structure programs or services which rank as having lower priority for the university.

All colleges, schools and administrative units are participating in TransformUS to ensure all resources are aligned with the university's most important priorities. Our goal is $20-25 million in permanent savings, or approximately five per cent of our total operating budget. Of this, $5 million will be reallocated to our top priority programs and services that would benefit from increased resources.
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