What is the TransformUS action plan?
The TransformUS action plan identifies a set of coordinated actions which, taken together, will represent PCIP’s response to the recommendations contained in the reports of the two task forces. This overarching/high level document outlines the actions to be taken to address the $20-25 million target set by the president and the items which will be brought forward for consideration/approval by the university’s governing bodies and/or referred to unit leaders for action. The plan is supported by a set of project briefs outlining the cross-institutional and large-scale unit-based projects of university-wide interest, including scope, timeframe and critical success factors, and a document outlining how PCIP addressed all of the recommendations of the two task forces.
What did the Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning (PCIP) consider when developing the action plan?
PCIP worked closely with deans and unit leaders to ensure all available resources were used in the development of the action plan, including all submitted feedback, the task force reports and additional data analysis. Focus was placed on possible actions, modeling their consequences, the timeframe for their completion, the level of complexity and interconnection with other programs/services, and the potential savings and improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.
The plan also took in to account the university’s new vision, the outcomes of the incentive plan for retirement program for faculty and the relationship of TransformUS to the overall Operating Budget Adjustments (OBA) project.
When will changes begin to be implemented?
Some actions will begin immediately if they are within the decision-making authority of the unit leader, while others will be phased in over the course of the coming year and beyond to allow time for discussions to take place and to follow the normal governance processes as described in the University of Saskatchewan Act. Timelines, some more specific than others, are outlined in the action plan.
What is the role of our governing bodies?
Decisions will be implemented through the regular governance processes as outlined in The University of Saskatchewan Act (1995). Senate gives graduates, the community and key stakeholders a voice in university affairs; University Council is responsible for academic oversight; and the Board of Governors is responsible for fiscal oversight. University Council is the authoritative governing body on matters related to academic programs and structures, and it considers all relevant details, including financial considerations, in making its decisions. Proposals brought before University Council to create or eliminate a program, must include rationale that considers academic merit, fit with university priorities and funding. All three governing bodies are bound by the Act to make decisions that are in the best interests of the university overall. Students are represented on all governing bodies where they will have an opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
Will students be given the opportunity to complete their programs?
Yes, all students currently enrolled in programs as of the 2014-15 academic year will be given the opportunity to complete their program of study within a reasonable time frame.
Will jobs be lost?
With close to 75 per cent of our operating budget dedicated to salaries and benefits, we know there will be job loss as a result of changes made through TransformUS and other budget adjustment initiatives leading up to 2016 and beyond.
When will I know if my job is affected?
Each project will follow timelines unique to the needs of the specific project and there will not be one single day when we will learn of all position eliminations. The university is committed to keeping the campus community informed throughout this process, to providing support to employees affected by job loss and to operating in compliance with employment legislation and our employment agreements.
Are we going to be expected to do more with less?
No. The accountability for determining priorities and assignment of work and ensuring workload is appropriate and reasonable, lies with the supervisor in consultation leadership and often with input from their employees. As always, employees are encouraged to speak openly with their supervisors regarding workload and priorities. When concerns arise, the employee may contact their union representative or their Human Resources Analyst or Consultant to seek guidance.
What are the project briefs?
TransformUS project briefs will outline the cross-institutional and large-scale unit-based projects of university-wide interest, including scope, timeframe and critical success factors. Project leads and their working groups (where relevant) may develop a more detailed plan within their group to determine how they will meet the expectations set out in the project briefs.
Why are there more project briefs than the number of projects?
Some projects have been broken up in to multiple subprojects. This is the case where there are distinct goals that fall within one general area, but require several distinct projects to reach the overall goal. Most of our larger projects that impact several colleges/schools and units will have subprojects.
Why do the briefs not include more detail?
The project briefs are meant to summarize the expectations of the project that PCIP could provide at the outset of the plan including the name, a description of the project, its scope, its lead and any key performance indicators that PCIP could identify on its own. Project leads will use these as a guide to develop a more detailed project plan.
Several of the executive offices were prioritized in quintile 5, candidate for elimination subject to further review. Why are all executive offices not seeing reductions in the action plan?
There were a number of instances in which leadership offices were placed in quintile 5 while the functions they led were placed in higher quintiles. PCIP took this to mean that the leadership office in question should be carefully scrutinized, and, in particular, whether it could be merged with another leadership role and/or changed to report at a lower level in the organization and/or reconfigured. Changes to executive offices will occur through the project dedicated to reducing and restructuring senior leadership and administrative offices.
Why are some programs and services being recommended for amalgamation?
Some programs and services, although important to the core mission of the university, struggle to flourish on their own due to resource challenges. By amalgamating similar programs, the result will be stronger programs/services for our students and faculty, with greater impact and increased profile.
Why is PCIP recommending the School of Public Health be restructured within the College of Medicine?
PCIP is looking to combine the relevant strengths of the School of Public Health and the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology in the College of Medicine, in order to create a strong nucleus for public-health research and educational programming. Apart from generally increased effectiveness and simplified university structures, a specific goal in this work is to create a larger and more robust unit that can support the original goals outlined when the School of Public Health was created in 2007, namely to augment university-wide research and graduate programming in the interdisciplinary field of public health.
Will adding additional schools and/or programs to the College of Medicine create an additional burden on the college?
No, new units can be accommodated with relatively little difficulty in to the College of Medicine’s structures. Currently physical therapy and community health are parts of the College of Medicine and function with high effectiveness, considerable autonomy and great administrative efficiency. There is every prospect that adding programs such as public health could result in the same without burdening the college. In fact, medicine is interested in the synergies that might be created to strengthen student learning and research in the areas of public health, disease prevention and health promotion. Such synergies would contribute to better health, better care, better teams and better value for the provincial health system.
The College of Medicine is on probation. Will the addition of schools and/or programs impact the accreditation of the College of Medicine and/or the programs/schools that may be amalgamated?
Physical therapy and community health are parts of the College of Medicine today and do not contribute to, and are not affected by, the college’s undergraduate program accreditation challenge. Both units are autonomous and physical therapy is separately accredited.
When will investments be made and what units/programs will be receiving these?
Selective investments are anticipated to begin in 2015/16 fiscal year in programs and/or units where these are seen to align with institutional priorities, support the learning and discovery missions of the university, and advance the university’s overall goals. High priorities for selective investments include: funding for new faculty positions, expanded student support including increased graduate scholarship funding, and upgrades to the graduate information system and classroom technology enhancements that facilitate completion of the actions outlined in the action plan.
What will happen to programs and services identified for reduced resources (quintile 3) or phase out, subject to review (quintile 5) where these have not been otherwise addressed in the action plan?
All colleges, schools and units have been asked to address outcomes for programs and services identified in quintile 3 and 5 within their units. In some units there is an expectation to reorganize services, programs and staff complements for sustainably and to accommodate differentiated levels of budgetary reductions.
How will faculty and students be involved in the projects outlined in the action plan?
Project leads will be responsible for ensuring key stakeholders are engaged in shaping the final actions to be taken as a result of what is outlined in the action plan – this includes faculty and students. This engagement may take different forms based on the specific project.
Can PCIP dictate academic program changes?
No. All academic changes addressed in the plan signal proposals or requests to the relevant governing bodies for decision.
I have a contract with a unit that is subject to dissolution. Will my contract be fulfilled?
We encourage you to contact the unit directly to discuss the situation. The university will honour all contracts, although in some cases this may mean making use of cancellation clauses.
Centre for Continuing and Distance Education CCDE questions
Will all programs within CCDE be eliminated? If not, when will we know what programs will and won’t continue?
No. Non-degree programs, outreach and service will continue to be provided by academic units where they are essential to the unit’s core academic mission. Transfer of functions that directly support for-credit instruction within CCDE, including English programming from the language centre, relationships with the regional colleges and distributed learning, will see new reporting relationships. More information is expected by June 2014.
Will I be able to finish my program?
Yes. Students enrolled in formal certificate or degree programs will all be given a reasonable time period to complete their program, even if a decision is made to cancel a particular program.
Will my class be cancelled?
Summer classes will go ahead as planned. Fall classes will also go ahead as planned if they are part of degree, certificate or ESL programs. We expect to know more about the plan for fall non-credit classes and beyond in mid-June. If a non-credit class is cancelled you will be informed as soon as a decision is made and a full refund will be issued in the case of any cancellations.
Will all services provided by eMAP be eliminated?
Functions within eMAP that directly support for-credit instruction and/or are considered to be essential to the university’s core mission will be transferred to new homes.
College of Graduate Studies and Research questions
With the dissolution of CGSR, how and where will graduate students receive support?
An office of graduate education (administrative unit) is envisioned that will retain oversight of graduate policies, act as the home for graduate program review and provide support for post-doctoral fellows. Some services may also be provided by Student and Enrolment Services Division (SESD). More information will be provided to graduate students in fall 2014.
University Learning Centre questions
With the dissolution of the University Learning Centre, where can students go for assistance?
Student related functions will be transferred to the University Library. More information will be provided as plans are determined.
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