Revision to PCIP recommendation principles

On Thursday morning, PCIP and the president met with several chairs of University Council and part of our discussion focused on the criteria PCIP will use when evaluating projects /initiatives that will be included in the recommendations put forward for decision for our governing bodies. In the course of this discussion, a suggestion was made to have the first criterion, “institutional benefit/transformational,” changed to include messaging consistent with the vision currently being developed by our president. Continue reading

Reflections on the discussion period of the TransformUS task force reports

As the two of us reflect on the last eight weeks of conversation about TransformUS, a couple of points stand out.

The first is the wide interest in our community regarding the TransformUS process. Some 28,000 individuals appear to have viewed the web pages, watched the live streaming of town halls or attended meetings in person. A smaller number, 800, made individual, group or anonymous comments. The comments were diverse, and in many cases quite lengthy. Overall the tone was professional and constructive.

A second salient point is that those who submitted comments generally did so to express various concerns. Some are afraid for the consequences for programs in which they work or study, or from which they have graduated. Some are upset with the possible impacts of an open and public prioritization process on reputation and attitudes. Others worry that an imperfect process or flawed data might determine critical decisions that affect us all. Behind these concerns, we perceive a deep attachment to the University of Saskatchewan – a sense of respect, love and ownership. The same concerns seem to have motivated those who wrote in or spoke to support the process and to support the need to make choices. Continue reading

Principles, criteria and preliminary data analysis

The Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning is at work in the early stages of the analysis portion of the analysis and implementation plan phase of TransformUS and we wanted to provide you all with an update on our early work. PCIP has developed a set of principles for process management and a set of criteria for the future evaluation of projects/initiatives as we begin to identify these in the development of the implementation plan.

Our principles for process management are: 1) transparency and accountability; 2) evidence informed; and 3) collaborative. What this means is that in all we do, we commit to being accountable and communicating about our work; we will ensure all actions we present in our implementation plan are based on evidence; and that we continue to work with leaders and key stakeholders to ensure all actions are decided on and acted on in a collaborative manner.

In terms of the criteria we will use for the evaluation of projects/initiatives to be included in the implementation plan, all will take in to consideration, at a minimum: Continue reading

Why $44.5 million?

Many questions have been asked of us about the projected shortfall in university resources. One of the main questions has been “Why do we continue to speak about the $44.5M projected deficit when we have reduced this gap and the university’s financial situation has changed since 2012?”

This question requires a response in two areas, firstly about us continuing to communicate about a $44.5M gap when we have taken actions to reduce this gap, and secondly that a Multi-Year Budget Forecast (MYBF) developed in 2012 requires periodic updating to reflect the current reality. Continue reading

TransformUS update: Thank you and next steps

Below you will find links to two letters regarding TransformUS. The first is a letter from President Ilene Busch-Vishniac concluding the consultation and feedback phase of TransformUS. The second is an update on next steps from Provost and Vice-President Academic Brett Fairbairn and Vice-President Finance and Resources Greg Fowler.

Misperceptions of Process Are a Distraction from Substance

Towards the end of the period of discussion of the TransformUS task force reports, we noticed a number of statements that were not about the contents of the reports but rather about perceptions and misperceptions of the task force process that produced them. No process is perfect and there can and should be many opinions in a university. With that said, not all opinions are equally defensible or well-grounded in fact. Some of the opinions that concern us include the perception that the academic task force was biased, that the work undertaken by the task forces was impossible, that a peer-review process should have been used instead, that critical elements like service teaching were overlooked, and that budget cuts are unnecessary or impossible to carry out. We would like to address such misconceptions. In so doing, we also want to direct people’s attention to the task force reports themselves, which in our view contain generally important and valid insights that are highly relevant to academic and financial decisions facing our university. Continue reading