U of S announces external review of interdisciplinary graduate schools

As part of its commitment to excellence in teaching and research, the University of Saskatchewan will undertake an external academic review of its three interdisciplinary graduate schools over the next two years—beginning Nov. 1st with the School of Public Health.

The reviews are being done in accordance with normal university policies that require periodic reviews of academic entities. Each review will examine the school's mission and vision, organizational structure and governance, academic and educational activities, research activities, and partnerships.

"We are starting with the School of Public Health because it makes a lot of sense to take stock of where the school is at, both in relation to its original goals and in comparison to the performance of other similar schools in Canada and abroad, before we embark on the search for the right person to lead the school as permanent Executive-Director," said U of S Provost and Vice-President Academic Ernie Barber.

Barber acknowledged that the school, which has grown very quickly, has struggled with some complex and difficult issues and that the university has been working hard to resolve them.

"This external review will help us move forward, taking a high-level look at look at where the school needs to go in future to strengthen its position as a public health research and training centre at one of Canada's top research universities," he said.

"Our goal is to build a stronger school that fulfils the great potential envisioned back in 2007 and that has real impact on issues important to communities in Saskatchewan and around the globe."

A team of external reviewers will work with an internal reviewer to conduct the review with the aim of completing the on-site work by December 20, 2014. If this timeline is achieved, a final written report and recommendations would then be received by the provost by the end of January, 2015. A summary of the review will be made public.

The review team will spend time at the U of S and will hold individual and group meetings with university and school officials including administrators, faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders.

Barber noted the review will also advance one of the university's top priorities for the year—to deliver on the promise of strengthened inter-professional and interdisciplinary health education and scholarship.

In July, professor Nazeem Muhajarine, a highly regarded social epidemiologist and leader in public health regionally and internationally, was appointed Interim Executive-Director of the U of S School of Public Health for one year. A national search will be launched early next year to recruit a public health leader to the permanent role.

The reviews of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS) and the School of Environment and Sustainability will begin in 2015 with the aim of completing them in 2016. The JSGS review will be done in collaboration with the University of Regina since the JSGS is a joint initiative of the two universities.

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