UAlberta Senate – Plenary Session – December 2014

E.A. Corbett Hall

E.A. Corbett Hall

Attended the second plenary session as a Senator at the U of A. It was held at Corbett Hall on North Campus, which is home to the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Corbett Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus and was originally home to the Faculty of Extension. Thought this quote from E.A. Corbett (1884-1964) which is displayed in the building was worth sharing. More about Corbett can be found at the U of A’s Centenary website.

If I have a working philosophy of adult education, it is based on the conviction that the desire for knowledge is a normal human appetite. And that the capacity to acquire knowledge continues throughout life. I also know from long expertce that through study, discussion and planning together people can change their social and economic environment and in so doing change themselves.

E.A. Corbett (1884-1964)
Emeritus Director of Extension
University of Alberta

Couple things were discussed by the Senators that are worth noting here:

  • The U-School program continues to grow with more and more schools bringing students to campus for a unique experience. The Senate is committed to the program and is looking for volunteers to spend time with the kids. You can learn more about the program at the U-School website and sign-up for this important program.
  • With two deaths occurring on campus this semester, there were some questions about the kind of support available to students. University Wellness Services provides support to students and has created many programs that promote healthy living. They’ve done a tremendous job coming up with new and innovative ways to reach out to students and help those in need. Dean of Students Dr. Robin Everall and her team are committed to supporting students and are working hard to ensure the right programs and services are in place.

Below is a recap of the presentations:

  • Rod Loyola, President of the Non-Academic Staff Association, gave a presentation about this group and discussed some of the issues they’re dealing with. N.A.S.A. represents over 6,000 support staff employees on campus, which includes operating, trust, ESL instructors and casual employees.
  • Jennifer Chesney, Associate Vice President, University Digital Strategy, provided a very insightful presentation on MOOC’s and digital learning. The U of A has launched two MOOC’s so far, Dino 101 and Understanding Video Games, which have both been received well. Jennifer and her team have worked hard to ensure that not only  a quality course is developed, but that the right business model is in place to ensure the course’s sustainability. The courses offered by the U of A are unique in that they provide a higher level of engagement than other courses. Jennifer also shared some very insightful stats regarding the course enrollment and completion rate. Worth noting that the U of A has launched Onlea, a non-profit organization focussed on online learning experiences. More about the company can be found over at TEC Edmonton.
  • Dr. Bob Haennel, Dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, gave an overview of the programs available and the various projects the school is involved in. The school uses various communication technology to connect their five locations across Alberta and provide a unique experience for students. Also worth noting that the Glen Sather Clinic on campus will be expanding to better serve students and the general public.
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