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.

UAlberta Senate – Plenary Session – September 2014

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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.

U School Program at the University of Alberta

USchool-COLOURHave to say the best part about being a University of Alberta student, or alumni, are the fantastic volunteer opportunities to learn and meet people on campus.

U School is one initiative that I’m really looking forward to getting involved with. Students from schools in Edmonton and the surrounding area get to spend a week a week on campus to learn about a number of topics including engineering, physical ed, drama and history, among others. There’s a lot of great resources on campus for the kids to access, making this a very interactive program.

Description from the U School website:

U School is a program initiated by the University of Alberta Senate that aims to introduce and connect grade 4 through 9 students to the University of Alberta.  Our target students would not necessarily have strong connections to the the U of A as they may come from socially vulnerable metro areas or are given a rural opportunity through the program.

We work with our classroom teachers to develop a week-long experience related to learning objectives and expose students to things unique to UAlberta.

The organizers have done a terrific job developing an amazing program. They’re looking for volunteers (students, staff, alumni) to help out as class mentors, interviewees and presenters. More details about the roles and the sign-up form are here.


Related Links

U School Blog (University of Alberta)

Joining the University of Alberta Senate

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University of Alberta

Happy to announce that I’ve been appointed to the University of Alberta Senate by the Alumni Association. Starting this fall, I’ll be joining a group that represents the community and serves as an advisory board to the University of Alberta.

I’ll remain on the Alumni Council as part of the Executive team, but will have to vacate my position as the Faculty of Extension representative.

What does the Senate do? From the Senate’s website:

The Senate seeks to inquire, promote and connect, building bridges of understanding between the University and the public. The Senate role is based on the belief that an ongoing relationship with the community is fundamental to the effectiveness of the University. Through the Senate, the community can deliver an opinion or a point of view to the University; and through the Senate the University can reach the community.

There are a number of committees and working groups within the Senate, all with different roles and mandates. I’m not sure which groups I’ll be a part of, but I’ll share the details once I find out.

I’ll likely continue using this site to blog about volunteering with the U of A. It’ll all be under the Alumni Council category.