Leaving the University of Alberta Alumni Council

Source: UAlberta.ca

Source: UAlberta.ca

It’s been a fantastic experience with the Alumni Council. Got to meet a lot of people and worked on some great projects over the two years.

In my first year, I was the faculty representative for Extension. In my second year, I was part of the executive team and appointed to the Senate. Got to learn about many different facets of the U of A community and the impact this campus has on the community.

If you’ve ever considered re-connecting with the U of A, I highly recommend getting involved with the Alumni Association. It’s a well run group that has many projects and initiatives underway. I can’t say enough about the volunteers and the supporting staff. The Council has grown over the past year, with a lot of new members coming in. Look forward to seeing what they do they can accomplish in the coming year.

There are also many, many ways to volunteer on campus. There’s a lot of programs and services across campus that are worth checking out and connecting with. Two groups that are doing outstanding work are University Wellness Services and the Office of Sustainability. Highly recommend learning more about what they do.

I’ve categorized all my posts pertaining to the Alumni Council here. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about it.

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Green and Glow Winterfest, President’s Circle, Golden Bears Hockey, You Can Play Partnership

In case you missed it, full highlights from the Green and Glow Winterfest are posted online. Video below and a Storify link is up. The weekend had something for everyone. Pretty fantastic turnout for one of the key events to celebrate the Alumni Association’s centenary. Congrats to everyone involved in the planning!

Also part of the 100th anniversary will be the unveiling of the President’s Circle on campus. A sculpture of Alexander Rutherford and Henry Marshall Tory is slated for fall of 2015.

Congrats to the Golden Bears hockey team on winning (another) Canada west title. They’ll be the number one seed for the third year in a row at the University Cup finals.

And finally, the U of A has partnered with the You Can Play initiative. Our campus has always been welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. It’s great to see the U of A take the lead at the CIS level.

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.

David Turpin named University of Alberta’s next president

img003Some big news out of the University of Alberta as David Turpin has been named the next president. David will be replacing Indira Samarasekera, who held the post since 2005.

Links:

Worth noting are some of the remarks Indira made at our Alumni Council meeting back in March in regards to the state of the University and the future president:

  • 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.

All the best to David. Look forward to working with him.

Alumni Council Meeting – New members, Visit from Carl Amrhein and a Recap of Alumni Weekend

High Level Bridge in Edmonton

High Level Bridge in Edmonton

Had our first council meeting for the 2014-2015 school year last week. Lots to look forward to as the Alumni Association has plenty of events coming up, including its centenary.

Dr. Carl G. Amrhein, Provost and VP (Academic) came by and gave his take on the state of the University and the importance of education in Alberta. Karl talked about the growing global presence of the U of A as well as initiatives to reach different parts of the province.

Related: How Our Universities Can Compete in the World: A conversation with the Conference Board’s new executive-in-residence Carl Amrhein – University Affairs (2013, May 8)

We also received a recap of the Alumni Weekend held in September. Just an amazing amount of work by the coordinators and volunteers.

And of course, a big welcome to the newest members of the Council! Look forward to working with you all. Full bios for all members should be updated soon.

UAlberta Senate – Plenary Session – September 2014

ualberta-tumblr

Source: UAlberta Tumblr

Attended my first plenary session as part of the University of Alberta Senate last week. The main objective of these is to review the goals/mandates of the group and the different committees, and to hear presentations on the various programs and projects on campus.

Related: Joining the University of Alberta Senate (2014, July 18)

It was a nice time to be on campus. Lots of events welcoming new and returning students, plus there were several events for alumni. It was great meeting the other Senators and learning about their backgrounds and experiences. Look forward to working with this group.

Here’s a recap of some of the presentations.

  • My colleagues Sean Price and Glenn Stowkowy from the Alumni Association came by to give an overview of the group and share some of the events coming up in the next year. It’ll be the Alumni Association’s centenary in 2015, so there will be many events to look forward to including The Green and Glow Winterfest (January 29-31, 2015) and a Leadership Lecture (May 22, 2015) featuring former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark.
  • Dr. Naomi Krogman and Trina Innes from the UAlberta Campus Sustainability Initiative gave us a primer on what the group does and some of the projects planned and underway. Not only are they ensuring the social environment is taken care of on campus, but they’re also integrating with various degree programs to build awareness of this critical initiative. You can also check out their blog, suh-steyn, for more information. Highly recommend this article on bringing academics and sustainability together.
  • VP of University Relations Debra Pozega Osburn gave us an update on how the campus continues building relationships across Alberta. Debra and her team have travelled to various communities to promote the University and answer questions from the public.
  • VP of Facilities and Operations Don Hickey gave us an update on the Edmonton Galleria Project and the land development going on around campus. The campus is growing pretty quickly, but a lot of attention is being paid to the impact it has on the surrounding community. Details are all still being finalized for these projects, so our group had a chance to ask questions and provide feedback. Mack Male provided some excellent insight into the Universities role in the project on his blog.
  • Dean of the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health Kue Young provided information about his faculty and the various initiatives underway. The department is relatively small but have played a large role in the research happening in Alberta and abroad. More information about the School of Public Health is on their website.

Appreciate all the individuals who came in to present. They gave our group a lot to think about and discuss.