Moving forward

As some of you have noticed as indicated by comments on the blog and others I have seen on social media, the blog has been quiet for the past two weeks. Despite rumours you may have heard to the contrary, the events of the past two weeks required a significant investment in time that resulted in this gap.

As you will all know, the past few weeks have been an especially challenging time for our university and those who care about it, and we expect this to continue into the near future. I don’t want to gloss over these challenges, but I also feel there has been enough communicated in the past few weeks that I don’t need to reiterate what has already been said, only that I am committed to seeing our university move forward in a positive way.

I want to acknowledge that my friend and colleague, Brett Fairbairn, who up until last week was my co-sponsor in operating budget adjustments, will no longer be involved in TransformUS and other operating budget adjustment initiatives after stepping away from his role as provost and vice-president academic. Continue reading

Projects in the College of Arts and Science

The following is a guest blog post by Peter Stoicheff, dean of the College of Arts and Science.

The TransformUS projects assigned to Arts and Science ask that it focus its attention on some challenging and pertinent issues. Targeted cost savings are currently not attached to the projects but successfully addressing the issues should lead to greater student demand, and to greater sustainability of programs and resources, than currently exist. Discussion among and consultation with faculty and students and staff whose programs and units are involved in the projects are just beginning, and will continue through the project leaders to assist in making any decisions. And students enrolled in programs that might be affected or changed will have the opportunity to finish their programs. Continue reading

Clarifying the library project

In response to recent questions and concerns regarding the TransformUS project associated with reconfiguring university libraries, and specifically with regard to concerns with the Law Library, we wanted to share and give our support to the following joint statement from the Sanjeev Anand, dean of law and Vicki Williamson, dean of the library. Brett and Greg  

What is proposed in the University Library’s consolidation of print collections and services project is the latest stage in a decade-long transformation that has involved a shift from providing space for books to providing space for students.

The reconfiguration of campus libraries will further consolidate print collections and services. In the project the Law Library is not slated as one of the three-full service libraries. This has led some to conclude that the Law Library will be closed, there will be no library services, etc. What is proposed is a reconfiguration within resources available or that is, being fiscally prudent. Continue reading

Transformation of the University Library

The following is a guest blog post by Ken Ladd, acting dean in the University Library.

The changes currently proposed for the U of S library are the latest stage in a decade-long transformation that has involved a shift from providing space for books to providing space for students.

The First Integrated Plan (2003-2007) proposed the “establishment of an Academic Skills Centre which will consolidate, perhaps in the Main Library, units like the Writing Centre, Math Help Centre, IT Ready, and Library Instruction and Information.” Further in the document it has a complete section on ”A New Learning Centre” that would most likely be in the Library. This is, of course, the Learning Commons and the University Learning Centre, both of which have been a huge success. The ground floor of the Murray Library has group study rooms, a variety of seating for groups and individuals, adaptive technology room for students with disabilities, self-check units for signing out materials, some computer stations, and a café. The first floor is a space with the University Learning Centre, library reference assistance, IT help, a wide array of computer stations, a collaborative learning lab, and a very vibrant atmosphere. These changes were the result of the University Library Transformation Project Phases 1 and 2 and occurred over a few years (2006-2009). To accomplish this transformation we placed some materials in storage and made the decision that we would not keep the print versions of the electronic journals held in JSTOR (a digital library). Continue reading

Where are the details?

In the past few days, this is the question we’ve been asked most frequently—where are the details in the action plan?

We believe there are some significant details in the action plan released to the campus community this week. There will be a reduction in our senior administration (23%) and by the end of 2014 two administrative units (Centre for Continuing and Distance Education and eMAP) will be closed. We will be seeking the disestablishment of the College of Graduate Studies and Research and changes so that two other academic units will no longer be standalone entities (School of Public Health and College of Dentistry). In addition, we are looking to merge a number of small departments. We have committed to reorganize services to best support our students and faculty. We have outlined the principles to make reinvestments in specific priority areas beginning in 2015-16.

At 30 pages the plan in fact exceeds the level of detail that PCIP was aiming for and committed to over the past months. In an organization like a university, this is what an action plan looks like. Continue reading