Here’s a recap of the our Alumni Council meeting last week.
Congratulations to Professor Robert Burch of the Department of Philosophy for being selected as the Last Lecturer for 2014.
Faculty have always played a significant role in the experience of students, making this series a great link between Alumni and their professors. From the U of A Alumni site:
The Last Lecture Series asks a speaker to answer one question in the form of an engaging public lecture: “If this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?” This is an opportunity for a favourite faculty member to share his or her reflections beyond the bounds of syllabus in a fun, informal setting.
Dr. Burch received the most votes cast by students and will be giving his lecture on April 9th.
We also learned about the Dinners on Us program here at the U of A. Alumni have the opportunity to invite a current students to their home and provide them with a home-cooked meal. It’s a great way for students to connect with the larger community, especially those that have travelled away from home. If you’re at all interested, check out the Dinners on Us website.
Indira Samarasekera also joined us at this meeting to share her insight and experience as the President of the U of A. Indira recently announced that she would not be seeking a third term as President (Edmonton Journal). Couple things stood out:
- Indira stressed that it doesn’t matter how great your natural resources, like oil, are. The most important thing is talent and brainpower.
- She spoke about academic transformation, which included improving the graduate student experience and developing a stronger recruitment strategy.
- Indira suggested that the President should be involved in the tenure and promotion process.
- She also suggested that Faculty Dean’s should have strategic visions aligned with the University to ensure accountability.
- The U of A needs to develop a sustainable funding model and rely less on Government, who rely to heavily on oil) according to Indira.
- Indira continues to stress the importance of aspiring to be a top global university.
- The next President must be a “connoisseur of excellence” and have the ability to select talent, drive change and manage performance.
The Council will have the opportunity to provide input into the selection of the next President.
You can also view a recording of Indira’s recent campus forum on Livestream.