2015-16 Deans' Council Bulletins

Tuesday 28 June 2016

UR Leading: applications sought for next intake

The URLeading program is open to

  • Faculty and staff who are emerging and aspiring leaders with less than 2 years’ experience in a leadership role
  • Faculty and staff who have more than 2 years’ experience in a leadership role

Program content for these leadership development programs is cohort-based and blended in nature. The core and conversation circle content will be supplemented with online resources, and will be facilitated by both external and internal partners.

The recent success of the two pilot programs has established URLeading as the UofR’s premier leadership development programs. These programs are designed to further develop the leadership skills of new and current leaders, and better prepare them for future opportunities.

We are pleased to invite you to participate in and support the next intake for URLeading 1 & 2. The two URLeading programs will begin on 19 September 2016 with an orientation and on-line completion of the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), a 360 Leadership assessment for participants. Core modules and monthly conversation circles will continue over the period October 2016 until May 2017. Based on the evaluations by pilot program participants, we have been able to make some adjustments to both timing and content of the leadership programs. The program schedule will be available online by 4 July 2016.

URLeading program descriptions, FAQs, program application form and a list of past URLeading participants can be found on the Human Resources website here.

Applications for this intake to URLeading must be received by 19 August 2016. Please download the application form here.

You can support URLeading by promoting URLeading with your colleagues and encouraging them to apply to the URLeading programs, applying to the program yourself, or volunteering to be a resource for the program.

If you have further questions regarding URLeading please contact Sue Mitten at Human Resources, 306.337.3263 or sue.mitten@uregina.ca.


Perspectives on enrolment and retention from elsewhere: Algoma University

Like a number of Ontario universities outside the GTA, Algoma University in Sault Ste Marie is confronted by dwindling local enrolments and an increasing dependence on international students, who now make up nearly a third of the University's student body.

Algoma president Craig Chamberlin, formerly Dean of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the U of R, is working with his staff to diversify Algoma's student intake. The university is also considering the introduction of new programming in health, lottery and gaming, engineering, and commercial music in the hope of attracting students from the Toronto region and from international destinations.

A Sault Star report on Algoma's planning is available here.


Appointment of Academic Convenor and Congress Co-ordinator, Congress 2018

It is a pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr André Magnan, associate professor of sociology and social studies, as Academic Convenor for Congress 2018. Dr Magnan will work with the Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences and its numerous constituent scholarly associations in developing the program for Congress 2018, which is expected to attract thousands of faculty members and graduate students from across the country to our campus in May/June 2018. Dr Magnan will act as Congress spokesperson with media, and will work with University committees focused on the planning and logistics of Congress. The Congress webpage, which will be updated in coming months, is available here.

A graduate of the universities of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Toronto, Dr Magnan joined the faculty in 2008. His research focuses on agrifood systems, globalization and development, sociological theory, and the changing patterns of farm structure and ownership in Canada and Australia. He has published in both French and English in a number of prominent journals, and his book When Wheat Was King: The Rise and Faull of the Canada-UK Grain Trade has recently been published by UBC Press

More information about Dr Magnan is available here.

Closely working on Congress 2018 with Dr Magnan is Patty Niebergall, Congress Co-ordinator. Patty joined the University of Regina in 2011, and in 2012 managed the World Congress for the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Together with Dr Magnan, Ms Niebergall will manage logistics, co-ordinate campus resources, liaise with key external partners, and provide oversight of the delivery of Congress 2018.


Tuesday 21 June 2016

Update on enrolments, recruitment, and retention

At the upcoming meetings on 5-6 July, the Board of Governors will be provided with updates on student recruitment and retention initiatives in the framework of peyak aski kikawinaw. Below is information on domestic and international student recruitment, as well as updates from the Faculties on particular initiatives in their respective areas.

For the Fall 2016 term, domestically the University is ahead by 5% compared to 2015. Calling campaigns will continue until the end of August.

For the Spring/Summer 2016 term currently under way, the University saw registrations increase by a remarkable 13% year over year. As has been the case for several years, more students are registering in Spring and Summer courses, as well as in evening and weekend courses.

Academic Recovery Program and Arts Transition Program
Fall 2015 saw the addition of the Arts Transition Program (ATP) under the Academic Recovery Program (ARP) umbrella. While similar in content to ARP, the ATP is intended to help students be successful in the Faculty of Arts specifically. It includes an additional writing component and limits the courses students can take to those being offered through the Faculty of Arts.

Even without the addition of the ATP, numbers in the ARP are growing steadily. For example, in Fall 2013 we had 11 students in ARP, in Fall 2014 we had 39, and in Fall 2015 we had 79 students. In Winter 2016 we had 67 students in ARP, compared to 24 in Winter 2014 and 52 in Winter 2015. This term we have 24 students, compared to 15 in Spring/Summer 2015. The numbers for ATP: 39 students in Fall 2015, 26 in Winter 2016 and 25 in the current Spring/Summer term.

Many students who complete the program are successful. For example, one student who completed ARP was admitted into the BSW program this year, and one former student convocated.

Student Life Opportunities
The SSC continues to increase the number of engagement opportunities available to students, and this year introduced some new events including a Rake-a-Thon that raised more than $3000 for Children’s Wish Foundation, a skating event, a pre-med session, and a Random Acts of Kindness event that involved people from all parts of the campus.

Academic Advising
The Academic Advising Unit has formulated a plan as to how to best work with at-risk and undecided students. We will begin implementation this summer by sending a letter to all students admitted with an average between 65 and 69.99%, inviting them to meet with an advisor. By fall the advisors will be ready to reach out and meet with new students recently placed on probation, and all undecided students. In addition, we are implementing a peer advising program that will allow students to meet with current students for peer support and registration assistance.

The UR Guarantee Program continues to offer support to students at all levels, from transition into the university to transition out to the workforce. We provide holistic support to students, advising on student engagement, career, and service and leadership areas. Currently we have more than 1700 students in the program (985 waiver students). This year we welcomed 408 new students.

Over 70 students have completed the program and graduated, and only two of these students are eligible to receive the free tuition. Our graduating students have been very successful. A sample of their accomplishments:

  • A student is working at MNP Regina
  • A student was accepted to law school at University of Ottawa
  • A student was accepted to the RCMP and is in Depot
  • A student received employment at SaskPower in communications
  • A student is working at her dream job in victim services.

The Ambassador Program helps students develop leadership skills and a sense of community, which contributes to retention. This year we saw the addition of a Presidents’ Team of Ambassadors. We are excited to hire a new Ambassador Program and UR Guarantee Program Advisor, to help bring some new ideas to the program.

In May 2016, UR International collaborated with the Faculty of Business Administration to bring a Business Excellence Award ceremony to over 50 Canadian curriculum high school students in China. URI also provided further training to various educational consultants, met with 500 Chinese high school students, and established a relationship with another Canadian Consulate office in China.

Over the last few months, URI has cultivated and strengthened the University’s relationship with partners in Mexico. Its efforts will result in the arrival of a group of 50 students from 10 different Mexican technological and polytechnic institutions for the Fall 2016 semester. Korea is another country in which we are competing to bring students to the University.

To sustain and increase enrolments for Fall 2016, URI has conducted conversion efforts much earlier in the spring. Calling campaigns have been under way throughout the spring and summer to reach students, parents, and partners, and convert accepted students into registered students.

UR International – Student Services has increased the number of English coaching hours by 50%, in comparison to Spring/Summer 2015, with added availability during evenings and weekends.

UR International has continued to coordinate with the Academic Recovery Program and Arts Transition Program to better serve our academically at-risk students. Currently, there are 16 International students in each of these programs.

Currently, the International Peer Advisor Program consists of 35 hard-working and dedicated University of Regina students. In April 2016, this first group successfully completed the program, with three awards being given to our most outstanding International Peer Advisors. This program has been expanded to include online communication between International Peer Advisors and Student Advisees, so as to assist students who have not yet arrived in Canada, but have been accepted to our institution. Our program has been streamlined to include more availability for applications and to increase the number of accepted applicants. In August, a formal training session will be arranged in preparation for the upcoming Fall 2016 semester.

URI’s Student Services office has arranged and coordinated several large-scale events, in addition to assisting several student associations with their events, showcasing numerous cultures on campus and celebrating the diversity that our students and staff experience on a daily basis.

The Faculty of Arts  reports healthy enrolments in Spring/Summer 2016 courses. Demand was particularly high for courses in sociology and economics. For Fall 2016, to date 773 students have been admitted, of whom 289 are international and 484 domestic. In partnership with Student Services, Arts will be following up by phone with students not yet registered. Further information about the Arts Transition Program, together with the Academic Recovery Program, is available above.

The Faculty of Business Administration has admitted 171 applicants for spring/summer, with 74 registered to date. Last year Business had 159 admitted with 62 registering. Currently, for the Fall term Business has 835 admitted, with 318 registered so far. Last year 712 were admitted and a final total of 428 registered. Business has opened the Excellence Program to students of the Maple Leaf Schools in China. The Associate Dean (Undergraduate) went to China to visit Dalian Maple Leaf School to present the award to applicants.

CCE reports a very wide range of recruitment and retention initiatives. The High School Accelerated program allows Grade 11 and 12 students to take a university course while still in high school. Students are able to try out a university course and obtain credit hours that allow them a lighter load in their first semester of university. The program also builds in transition services such as a comprehensive orientation, opportunity to obtain a U of R student ID card, study groups, and more. It has grown strongly in the last few years, with nearly 200 students registered in 2015-16. The program is run in cooperation with the 3 local school boards and the Faculties of Arts, Education and Science. The University-School Boards Transitions Committee works together on a variety of transitions activities, including sponsoring on-campus events with high school students, and joint PD work with high school teachers and U of R professors in the key areas of math and English.

CCE is the academic home of ACAD 100, an entry-level course that provides students with a foundation in university-level reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Students are introduced to concepts and skills that will support them throughout their university careers. It is a key component of the Academic Recovery Program, and its use is spreading, especially since an online version was developed.

As readers will know, the English as a Second Language program is headquartered in CCE. ESL expanded the Direct Entry opportunities for students to enter the final level of ESL – Advanced English for Academic Purposes (AEAP) -- by publishing IELTS, TOEFL and CANTEST scores that qualify students to begin at the top level. The number of students applying in this way has steadily increased. There are already 12 Direct Entry students registered for Fall 2016. The ESL staff have also worked with Faculty advisors to increase the number of undergraduate courses available for students in ESL +1 so that more ESL students at the Advanced level can begin taking one credit course while completing their ESL programs.

In April 2016, ESL offered an additional Fast Track course at the ESL 020 level so that ESL students at the High Beginner level could accelerate their language studies and move towards undergraduate studies in a shorter period of time. Both 020 and 030 Fast Track courses will be offered again in August 2016. In August this year, ESL will offer four Intensive Fundamentals for Success (F4S) courses: University Success, Writing, Engineering and Science, and Business. Each of these courses focuses on specific uses of English in order to help prepare ESL students for entry into their chosen subject areas, or for current credit students who are struggling. Concentrating on the vocabulary and academic expectations for specific areas, these courses help international students make a successful transition to undergraduate studies.

Finally, CCE's Flexible Learning division has undertaken several key initiatives to improve retention and recruitment in rural Saskatchewan. Flexible learning enrolments have grown 50% in the last five years, and enrolments in online courses even more (25-40% per year for several years running). These offerings allow students to balance their schooling, work and family life while taking the courses needed to graduate. Instructors and instructional designers in the online and blended courses work hard to create successful courses, via activities such as the creation of "learning communities" in blended and online courses; the use of  orientations and templates in online courses to provide students with a degree of stability in the learning environment when going from course to course; the use of a course quality rubric to ensure courses are the best they can be; the tracking of student logins to online courses and reporting to instructors those who are lagging so that they can be contacted; and the sponsoring of faculty development workshops/presentations on pedagogy/teaching/learning strategies to enhance instructional skills.

CCE also works to support off-campus regional college students by building strong partnerships with our College partners, such that it increases the likelihood students will transfer to the U of R to complete programs of study. We also work with our College partners to support students in their home locations through such supports as SOS (Survive Off-campus Studies). CCE has been expanding scholarships for distance students, for example the Dr Brian Campbell Scholarship.

The Faculty of Education is reporting 327 new admissions confirmed in Arts Education / Bac / Elementary / Middle Years / Secondary (these do not include TEPS). Admissions remain open to most programs and overall numbers by the end of August are expected to be stable. Advisors are working through waitlists and extending counteroffers to students (for example, if students applied to an area of study that is full, but there is room in another, they are offered a switch).

Education has also implemented Intrusive Advising throughout the year. Advisors run reports at the end of the semester to identify any students who might be struggling to maintain the necessary averages. They then work with the students to adjust their course selections, while still meeting degree and certification requirements for the following semester to ensure a greater possibility of success.  As a result, this year Education is seeing a much lower attrition rate from year 1 to year 2.

At the graduate level, Education continues to grow as demand continues to increase. 149 applications were received in March, with 104 recommended. Some late applications were accepted to the Maitrise program.

Education has also moved from a five-year to a four-year Arts Education program. BMusEd students now do their first two years in MAP and then complete their Education degree requirements. This addresses the challenges these students were facing in managing the MAP and Education demands simultaneously. We are hoping this change will address attrition challenges that have been persistent over the last ten years.

Education has created a Certificate of Extended Studies, allowing students to continue coursework after completing degree requirements and gain a second teachable area. The Faculty is also working with the Ministry to support internationally educated teachers who are seeking certification in Saskatchewan. Education continues to recruit Indigenous students into its degree programs, in addition to the TEP programs. The ECS 100 partnership with Regina Public Schools is intended to invite a more diverse group of students to consider teaching and education as a career path.

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is planning to sustain enrolment at the same level as the previous year, approximately 375 first-year students. They are making renovations to existing teaching laboratory facilities to address enrolment: ED 119/121 that is shared by Industrial and Environmental will undergo renovations to improve functionality. The second computer lab (ED 489) is undergoing renovations to increase the number of computers from 26 to 42. Engineering has also split large classes into 2 sections, mounted additional Spring/Summer courses to meet student demand, invested a further $40,000 in TA support, and increased efforts to recruit female students into the Faculty.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research reports 4.3% growth in Winter term registrations year over year. FGSR is working to recruit highly qualified PhD students from Vietnam who are fully funded by the Vietnamese government.

As of the 2016 Spring/Summer semester, line Faculties have greater flexibility in allocating GTAs to academic units. This gives Faculties more autonomy and allows them to assign GTAs to those areas where they are needed most, contributing to student success at the undergraduate level.

There is much activity at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. Offers for Fall 2016 admission to their programs are up 10% year over year. International offers are 42% of the total, compared to 32% last May. The School attributes the increase to the hiring of an academic advisor, funded through revenues earned by the Master of Health Administration program, whose sole focus is the recruitment and retention of students.

Retention initiatives beginning this spring/summer for Fall 2016 include a new international student society for JSGS students. The goal is to create a cohort that can support each other and that JSGS staff can provide information to in order to better support these international students. Rather than waiting for them to come to the advisor or student experience officer with questions, staff can now ensure that they are receiving all the information needed in order to succeed.

Indigenizing the case studies used in various JSGS courses has been occurring over the past year. Indigenous students will find themselves able to relate to these case studies better, and indigenization of JSGS courses also serves to better educate non-Indigenous and international students about Indigenous issues.

The Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies is in the process of contacting students who have accepted their offer of admission but have not yet registered. Some of these contacts are part of the calling campaign co-ordinated by Enrolment Services. KHS anticipates exceeding last year’s enrolment totals, continuing a pattern of growth that has seen a 26% increase in credit hours since 2010-11.

To assist students who are experiencing difficulty, KHS is exploring ways of reaching out earlier, and collaborating with the Student Success Centre to identify and help students in need. KHS is also discussing student and alumni profile pages for the Faculty website, showcasing distinguished students and alumni to new and prospective students.

At La Cité universitaire, substantial outreach to potential students is under way. Presentations have been made in over 35 schools (immersion, core, and francophone) to promote La Cité and the University. Further presentations are being made to students currently registered in University French and BAC courses to promote French majors and minors. 15 new graduate students will begin the maîtrise en education française program this Fall. Working with the Faculty of Science, La Cité is promoting courses in biology, math, physics, chemistry, and computer science to be delivered in French. A new $5000 entrance scholarship through ACUFC will be available this fall, as will a new living-learning community, Le Quartier francophone, in La Résidence.

In the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance, the focus is on continuous outreach to not-yet-converted students, including outreach from current students. In partnership with UR International, MAP is enrolling a cohort of Mexican students this Fall. The rebranding and renaming of the Faculty has generated much interest and visibility, especially at the recent Stepping Stones career fair, an event focused on Indigenous students. MAP’s Professional Placement Program is an ongoing recruitment/retention initiative. New partners have come on board this year including CTV, who hired their film placement student immediately after graduation. MAP is also developing unique test course offerings such as Business of Fashion, Post-Punk: Style and Sound, and Pow Wow to Proscenium. These courses attract students from outside MAP and are exciting for new students entering their programs. MAP also continues to extend its online suite of courses. ART 220 Introduction to 2-Dimensional Art is the first studio art course taught online on the prairies. MU 204 Jazz Appreciation garnered favourable media attention this past winter due its general popularity.

MAP has further developed protocols for working with the Student Success Centre to assist and support undeclared and at-risk students in particular. MAP’s Academic Co-ordinator attends and participates in URAAP activities such as Advising Day events at which students could drop by a booth without an appointment for help and advice on their programs. MAP has also introduced MAP 001 – Success Strategies for Students. This is a mandatory seminar for first-year students that introduces them to study skills, how to use the library, as well as introducing them to the Arts in the community (campus and off-campus).

The Faculty of Nursing, which has grown rapidly into one of our largest Faculties, has introduced the LPN to RN program, allowing Nursing to fill SCBScN seats that would otherwise be vacant through attrition. As of mid-June, Nursing has admitted 150 students in Regina, 139 in Saskatoon, and 7 in Swift Current. Nursing is looking for new ways to support students in threshold or gateway courses such as BIOL 110, to recruit tutors for their courses, and to provide additional tutorials in clinical settings. The Nursing Bootcamp and Nursing Research Internship programs are entering their third and second years respectively, and are designed to support student success.

The Faculty of Science reports “typical” registrations and admissions for this point in the year. Science continues to offer Supplementary Instruction to students requiring additional assistance, and is working to streamline course-grading rubrics as well as investigate correlations between class size and student success rates. The Faculty also plans to introduce transition courses, including a new Physics 103 that will be in the collegial approval process this fall.

The Faculty of Social Work is placing more emphasis on student advising for BSW, MSW, and pre-Social Work students in Saskatoon, Regina, and rural/northern communities. It has increased on-site/in-person visits to northern and rural regional colleges (La Ronge, Prince Albert, Swift Current, and Yorkton). Social Work has also met with colleagues from Great Plains Regional College to discuss development of agreement and possible initiatives to increase enrolment at the Swift Current college. The Faculty has increased the number of students admitted into the BSW program by approximately 54 students.

Social Work has developed a new transfer credit agreement with Medicine Hat College, and is now collaborating with our Faculty of Arts to deliver Arts courses at the Saskatoon campus effective Fall 2016, a move that will improve student retention.

The Faculty held a retreat on the theme of Indigenization, and will establish an Indigenous Student Society to provide support and mentorship to Indigenous students. Social Work’s faculty advisor travelled with the Dean to Aurora College in Yellowknife to provide on-site training to staff at the College. Social Work also continues to support the SISW program administered by First Nations University of Canada.


Tuesday 17 May 2016

Two senior leaders' appointments renewed following consultations with campus

Following reviews carried out according to University policy, President Timmons has reappointed two members of Deans' Council.

Dr Andrew Gaudes has been reappointed Dean of Business Administration, and Dr Harvey King has been reappointed as Director of the Centre for Continuing Education. Both reappointments commence 1 July 2017 and conclude on 30 June 2022.

The reappointments were made after consultation with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external stakeholders. Details of the reappointment process can be read here. Composition of the respective Reappointment Committees can be found here and here.

Biographical details about Drs Gaudes and King can be found on the Appointments and Renewals webpage here.

The members of Deans' Council congratulate Andrew and Harvey on their reappointment, and look forward to continuing to work with them in accomplishing the vision and commitments of peyak aski kikawinaw.


2015-16 enrolment report

The June meeting of Senate will receive the annual report on enrolments for 2015-16. This report can be read here.

The University has grown substantially in the last five years. Part of this growth is attributable to the foundation of the Faculty of Nursing, and part to growing enrolments from abroad and from other parts of Canada.

Other significant enrolment growth can be seen in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the Centre for Continuing Education, and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies. In turn, growth in Engineering and Nursing has helped to bring growing enrolments to the Faculty of Science.

For the Fall term, using headcount enrolments, Arts, Graduate Studies, Business, and Engineering are the largest Faculties. For the same term, using undergraduate .5 full-load equivalents, Education and Engineering are the two largest Faculties, followed closely by Arts and Business.

Other notable changes to enrolments and campus demographics:

  • Self-declared Indigenous students have increased in number by 45% since 2011
  • Over the same period, the number of international students has increased by 57%
  • The University's top three "source" countries for international students are China, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia
  • Between Fall 2014 and Fall 2016, the number of students coming to the U of R from the United States doubled
  • Between 2011 and 2015, the number of students taking spring and summer courses increased by more than a third. In Science and Engineering, that figure is 71% and 77% respectively.


U of R Library joins new consortium

The University of Regina Library is part of a new provincial library consortium called CASLS - the Consortium of Academic and Special Libraries of Saskatchewan. Members include the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Library, the Gabriel Dumont Library, the Legislative Library, the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region Library, the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library, and the RCMP Learning Resource Centre.

The consortium's first task is the selection of a next-generation cloud-based library system for managing and searching the collections of the partner institutions. More detail about CASLS and its activities can be found here.


University leadership grows more challenging, especially for women

In a recent article for University World News, Julie Cafley, vice-president of the Public Policy Forum in Ottawa, writes of the challenges facing contemporary university presidents. Universities in Canada and around the world, she argues, face "greater complexity triggered by global competition, the changing needs of students and employers, decreased public sector funding, issues of accountability, and increasing and conflicting expectations from a growing number of stakeholders."

Cafley further points out that, despite student bodies that are now in many cases majority female, only 20% of Canadian university presidents are women, a figure unchanged in two decades. She adds that "the last six out of eight university presidents in Canada to have their mandate cut short have also been women."

Cafley concludes by saying many universities are "plagued by a conservatism in governance structures that impedes change, discourages innovation, and perpetuates the status quo." Her article can be read here.



Tuesday 10 May 2016

Code Adam: ensuring children on campus are safe

With summer approaching, the University of Regina will be opening its doors to several summer camps such as EYES, Sports, Athletic, CAC Music, etc.  The staff of these programs are trained on how to enact the Code Adam protocol if and when a child is determined missing.  The U of R enacted this protocol 3 times last summer. 

A number of academic units also run children's camps in the summer. Individuals leading those units, or involved in the camps, need to be familiar with the Code Adam protocol.

More information on the Code Adam protocol can be found here.


U of R Engineering students win in Indiana

Dean Esam Hussein of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has informed us that U of R Engineering students placed first at the 2016 agBOT challenge, winning a $50,000 US prize and edging out the second place team from Purdue University. The competition was held at Gerrish Farms near Rockville, Indiana.

More information about the agBOT Challenge is available here.

The U of R's winning team included fourth-year Engineering students Sam Dietrich, Caleb Friedrick, Dean Kertai and Joshua Friedrick. Their professor and mentor is Dr Mehran Mehrandezh, associate professor of industrial systems engineering. For the full article please click here.


Science Rendezvous 2016 attracts attention

This year's Science Rendezvous, co-ordinated by the Faculty of Science, attracted hundreds of curious young people to the campus on Saturday. The Leader-Post ran a story by alumna Ashley Martin, in which she speaks of "wide-eyed children, grossed-out moms, [and] eager university students - all converging in the name of knowledge."

A CBC report with a video clip is available here.


More on student retention

Last week's Bulletin updated readers on recent efforts to achieve our institutional goals for student retention. This week, URAAP, the University's academic advisors' group, provides a further update on retention initiatives flowing from some of the plans that were outlined in the 20 October 2015 edition of this Bulletin (see below).

Academic advisors have been working with:

  • the Registrar's Office and the Student Success Centre to ensure consistency on the application of academic performance regulations to students in the Academic Recovery Program and Arts Transition Program;
  • Information Services on the establishment of a "test" account on UR Self-Service, for the purpose of demonstrating URSS to students; and
  • the Registrar's Office, and its chosen degree audit vendor, on the implementation of degree audit software. A few Faculties are at the testing stage, and work is well underway with a few others to get their program data entered prior to testing.

Over the summer months, work on degree audit will continue to be a priority, including how best to 'roll it out' to students. Also, URAAP hopes, with the Student Success Centre, to develop strategies to enhance the retention of "at-risk" students.


Thursday 5 May 2016

Student retention: update

Among the actions for student success set out in peyak aski kikawinaw are an improvement in the supports we offer to new students, and the development of retention strategies that reflect current student needs. Recent statistics suggest that our retention rate is climbing. There are many individual initiatives under way across campus. Here is a small sample of them:

  • Two centralized student advisors are meeting with every Faculty to determine the path to graduate in each degree program, and then enter it into the new degree audit system. This information will be available to every student and every advisor on campus.
  • Arts is responding to concerns from prospective and new students that the diversity of program choices is too great: they don't know where to begin to choose their programs. Arts is putting together sets of "course clusters" - groups of three courses from across Arts disciplines that work well together to ensure a solid start for new Arts students.
  • The Centre for Continuing Education is working with partner Faculties to respond to large shifts in student demand, including a dramatic increase in demand for online courses. In Winter 2015, online enrolments were 1553. In the Winter 2016 term just completed, online enrolments were 2180, up 40%. Similarly, spring/summer enrolments this year show a large increase in demand for both face to face and online offerings.
  • CCE is also reporting that interest in HSXL (High School Accelerated) courses is high. The first run of these courses last year was very successful, with excellent results in academic performance. Next year, HSXL courses will be fully accredited by the Ministry as dual credit (for example, students registered in English 100 will get credit for ENGL 100 and ENGL 30).
  • Education has developed a new ECS 100 partnership with the Regina Public School system that is intended to attract a more diverse pool of applicants. More than 20 of the current participants have indicated their intention to apply to the Faculty of Education.
  • Education also held a Day of Education for Reconciliation in partnership with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. 1500 students and teachers came to the University from all over southern Saskatchewan to participate in learning about history and legacies of residential schools.
  • Engineering is dividing large classes into sections staggered between semesters to give students immediate remedial courses instead of having them wait a full year, while also assuring manageable class sizes.
  • In MAP, the rebranding and renaming of the Faculty is helping to attract and retain students. A recent visit to Mexico by the Dean and the President has resulted in students from that country enrolling in MAP.
  • Nursing is establishing the LPN2RN initiative, which sees vacated seats in the upper years of the SCBScN program filled by Licensed Practical Nurses who wish to become RNs. Nearly 50 LPNs have applied thus far. Nursing has also contacted every self-identified Indigenous applicant to assist them with their applications to the SCBScN program, and has established a "Nursing Boot Camp" that offers all Nursing students additional support with respect to charting and documentation, effective communication, APA formatting, and critical reading and writing. The camp is offered in Regina, Saskatoon, and Swift Current.
  • Social Work has put increased emphasis on student advising at both the Regina and the Saskatoon campus, including a designated advisor for master's-level students. It is also increasing placement opportunities for students in organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Métis Addiction Council of Saskatoon, the Life-by-Life agency in Medellin, Columbia and the University of Technology and Arts in Rwanda.
  • In UR International, English language coaching sessions have been increased to 100 hours per week. The International Peer Advisor program brings current U of R students together with international students in events, workshops, and community activities. Currently, more than 130 students participate. URI is actively recruiting in China, India, Pakistan, Mexico, and Korea. URI is working with the Mexican federal ministry of education, and expects more than 100 Mexican students to arrive on campus in the coming academic year. This will be the first Mexican undergraduate cohort to be hosted by a Canadian university. URI is also hosting the first Canadian Bureau of International Education regional conference on our campus on 23-24 June.

This is but a small sample of the many activities and initiatives under way at the University to increase student retention. A forthcoming edition of this Bulletin will provide an update on the many activities planned by URAAP, the academic advisors' group, that were highlighted in the 20 October edition (see below for that report). We will also update readers on the specific steps being taken in several Faculties to assist students in courses with high failure rates.


Budget preparations: additional data now available on the 2016-17 Budget Update webpage

Preparations on the 2016-17 University budget continue. Consultations with the Council Committee on Budget are scheduled for Friday 6 May and Monday 9 May. At those meetings, budget requests from Faculties and operating units will be reviewed and discussed. CCB's recommendations will be factored into final draft budget preparations by the Executive Team in May and June.

After review at Deans' Council on Wednesday 27 April, data on Faculty tuition revenues and per-student expenditures have been linked to the 2015-16 Budget Update webpage (see the 27 April entry). Tuition revenue data are presented for 2012-13 forward. Readers can compare those figures to the operating budget allocations to Faculties via the Budget Book. In 2015-16, for example, operating expenditures in Arts were $17.4 million, and tuition revenues were $12.8 million (though approximately 20% of that amount went to Campion and Luther as part of the fee-sharing agreement, leaving approximately $10.2 million in net tuition "income" for the Faculty of Arts). In Science, 2015-16 operating expenditures were $15.9 million, and tuition revenue was $9.8 million, again with a portion going to the federated colleges under the fee-sharing agreement. In Education, 2015-16 operating expenditures were $9.3 million, and tuition revenue was $6.5 million. In Engineering, 2015-16 operating expenditures were $8.7M, and tuition revenue was $14.1 million.

A series of graphic representations of the per-student investment in the Faculties is available here. These graphs provide a ten-year history of academic expenditures by Faculty. It is important to note that budgeting reflects the very different configurations and pedagogical needs of the Faculties. It is, for example, inherently more costly to educate students in laboratory disciplines than it is to educate students in some of the social sciences and humanities that do not require labs. It is also important to note that the data available via the links above are but one element in budget formation, and are not in themselves determinative. The Executive Team looks forward to the input from CCB as it prepares a final draft for the President's consideration in June, and Board approval thereafter.

Readers will know that the largest single element of the operating budget is the provincial operating grant. It makes up over half of our operating revenues. We will know the precise number on Budget Day, 1 June. To see what the University has requested of the province, please consult the 2016-17 Operations Forecast, available here. Page 9 of that document outlines a status quo scenario, requesting a 4.4% operating grant increase and proposing an average tuition rate increase of 3.8%. Page 10 presents our estimate of the effects of a 0% increase to the grant.


Tuesday 22 March 2016

Long service recognition reception this afternoon

At 1:30 this afternoon in the RIC Atrium, the University will honour long-serving faculty and staff. A list of those whose service is being recognized is available here.

Please join us to celebrate the many years of service to the University given by these outstanding colleagues.


Academic unit reviews; reappointment reviews

The site visit in the academic unit review of the Department of Physics is now under way. External reviewers are Dr Charles Gale of McGill University and Dr Gerald Gwinner of the University of Manitoba; they are joined by internal reviewer Dr Esam Hussein, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and specialist in nuclear engineering. The unit review webpage is available here.

Planning is well advanced for the academic unit review of the Department of Philosophy and Classics, with the site visit to take place in April. External reviewers are Dr Kathryn Norlock of Trent University and Dr James Young of the University of Victoria, joined by internal reviewer Dr Kathleen McNutt of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The unit review webpage is available here.

Planning is under way for the academic unit review of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. A webpage will be available shortly.

The reappointment review of Dr Andrew Gaudes, Dean of Business Administration, is under way; the review webpage is available here. Dr Harvey King, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education, completes his term in June 2017. He has indicated that he is willing to serve a further term as Director. Details of the commencement of this reappointment process, which is governed by University policy, will be available shortly.


Sinclair and Weingarten talks, President's Town Hall available for viewing

Several weeks ago Justice (now Senator) Murray Sinclair gave the 2016 Woodrow Lloyd Lecture to a packed Education Auditorium. A videorecording of his talk is now available here. Also available is last Thursday evening's campus talk by Harvey Weingarten, "Whither Liberal Arts Education?," which can be viewed here.

President Timmons' town hall address on the University's economic impact, held the same day, is available here.


Caution: break-ins

Recently, there have been a number of thefts from offices on campus. Members of the campus community are urged to take special care in securing their belongings and the property belonging to the University. Among the steps that can be taken:

  • Report any suspicious activity or break-ins immediately to Campus Security at 306.585.4999
  • Lock all doors and windows when not in attendance in offices or residence rooms
  • Lock file cabinets or drawers whenever possible
  • Do not leave valuables in the open. Ensure they are stored in a secure location or left with someone you trust
  • Take extra measures to lock up and secure any equipment

Campus Security continues to liaise with the Regina Police Service in their investigation of recent thefts.


for the Ides of March 2016

The Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance launched; new website

Last Thursday saw the very well-attended launch of the new identity of the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (MAP, formerly Fine Arts). A web story on the launch is available here.

Faculty Administrator Jan Bell asks that members of the University community update their web links to the new MAP main page at http://www.uregina.ca/mediaartperformance/.


Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship

Readers of this Bulletin are asked to make students aware of the daily information sessions on the Queen Elizabeth Scholarships held in URI's office in College West 128.

The information sessions run between 10:00-11:00 am. Additionally, the International Development Project Officer is available to come to Faculty and department meetings to present information about the scholarships. Detailed information about the scholarships is available here.

URI is also currently working on their next open house on Wednesday 6 April from 11 to 2. All those interested in the QEII program are welcome to attend.


Tuesday 8 March 2016

U of R in current issue of University Affairs

The University features in two current articles in University Affairs. Registrar Jim D'Arcy is quoted in an article on gender-neutral language in undergraduate applications. And Bruce Walsh, Director of the University of Regina Press, together with Jim Daschuk, Associate Professor in KHS, are extensively quoted in an article on small university presses.


Faculty of Education strengthens partnership with Yukon College

Readers of the Academica Top Ten this morning will have seen a Yukon College announcement regarding the expansion of the YNTEP program to include an after-degree pathway. Qualified students with a first degree in a wide range of areas may now apply to enter the BEd program in the third year. Details are available from the Yukon College website.

Executive of Council and Senate have also recently approved a proposal from the Faculty of Nursing for an after-degree Nursing program to serve a new group of potential students.


UR Guarantee update

The UR Guarantee program continues to perform strongly, according to Kevin Bolen, Director of Student Success in the Student Affairs division. More than 1700 students, including 985 waiver students, are registered in the program. 408 of these students are new this year. More than 70 students have completed the program and graduated, securing employment with organizations as varied as MNP, the RCMP, and SaskPower


Universities Canada workshop on the future of the liberal arts

Universities Canada is currently hosting a workshop on the future of the liberal arts in Montréal. Dr Dena McMartin, Associate Vice-President (Academic and Research), is representing the University of Regina at the workshop. Among the presentations was one given by Dr Ross Finnie, Director of the Education Research Policy Initiative, using University of Ottawa data tracking cohort-based real (personal tax filing) earnings starting in 1998. These data show that, although starting salaries for those with a BA may be lower than those earned by people in non-arts fields, there is an upward trend in earnings over a decade-long period that show the equalization of salaries over time. Additionally, graduates in social sciences and humanities experience less volatility in their salaries than their counterparts in fields such as computer science and engineering.

Interactive graphs of these data will be available at the EPRI website in coming weeks.


Tuesday 1 March 2016

Launch of the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance

The Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (formerly Fine Arts) will officially launch its new name and unveil its new visual identity at 10 am on Thursday 10 March in the Shu-Box Theatre, Riddell Centre. All members of the campus community are welcome to attend.


Dr Douglas Farenick appointed Acting Dean of Science

One of the University's most distinguished mathematicians has been appointed Acting Dean of Science for a one-year period commencing 1 July 2016. Dr Douglas Farenick, professor of mathematics and current Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, will lead the Faculty of Science as the search for a full-term Dean continues in coming months. Biographical details about Dr Farenick are available here.

Current Dean of Science Dr Daniel Gagnon completes his five-year term this June. He will be on administrative leave during the 2016-17 year prior to returning to full-time professorial duties in the Department of Biology on 1 July 2017.


Acquisitions: a librarian argues that universities need to play "hardball"

Jane Schmidt, a librarian at Ryerson University in Toronto, has published a blog post on the "real reason access is at risk."  She writes that "until the folks who hold the purse strings AND those who do the hiring/promotion recognize that they have a major role to play in progressing toward less reliance on traditional academic publishing and its inherent costs," little will change.

Schmidt further argues that "the academic community has to come together to start playing hardball, and that comes with certain risks, including potential loss or delay in access to some content."

Her post is available here.


University of Regina partners with University of Edinburgh

Last week in Edinburgh, Vice-President (Research) Dave Malloy signed a memo of understanding with the University of Edinburgh to collaborate on research into carbon capture and storage. The MOU establishes up to three $10,000 annual master's-level scholarships funded by SaskPower. Recipients of the scholarships will be accepted as visiting graduate students at the U of R after completing two semesters of study at the University of Edinburgh. More information is available here.


Executive of Council passes internationalization plan

At its 24 February meeting, and following earlier discussions of previous drafts, Executive of Council passed the University's internationalization plan. The product of campus-wide consultation over a period of many months, the internationalization plan was spearheaded by Dr Harvey King, Director of the Centre for Continuing Education, and Livia Castellanos, Executive Director of UR International. The plan, which is available here, flows from peyak aski kikawinaw, and sets out strategies and goals for (1) enrolment, retention, and success of international students and new Canadian students (2) mobilization of domestic students to study opportunities abroad (3) co-ordination of international teaching and research opportunities for faculty and staff, and (4) internationalization of curricula.


Tuesday 9 February 2016

Fedoruk Centre invests in policy research at JSGSPP

Last week's Bulletin contained news about a major investment in policy research at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation will provide $2-million to support JSGSPP research in energy and technology policy, as well as public engagement.

“The Fedoruk Centre is very pleased to be supporting this new capability in Saskatchewan,” said Dr Neil Alexander, Executive Director of the Fedoruk Centre. “Some of the most important questions faced by society today, such as how to address greenhouse gas emissions, have to do with understanding what people want to know about technology so that they can make informed decisions.”

“After the Paris climate talks, questions related to energy, clean technology, sustainability and climate change are in the public mind and are high on government agendas,” said Dr Kathleen McNutt, Executive Director of the JSGSPP. “Choices that will be made in the near future will have a profound impact on our society, economy and the planet. There are many different opinions on what needs to be done. The work that will be supported by the Fedoruk Centre will look at how best to engage with people and how to use their input as energy policy is made.”

The Fedoruk Centre funding will support visiting scholars and graduate students at JSGS, which is co-located at the U of R and U of S. The funding will serve as the foundation for future research at JSGS on science and innovation policy, a signature research area of the school. Led by JSGS faculty, the research will investigate the social and public policy dimensions of various energy-production technologies, including international best practices for public consultation, strategic assessment and decision support. Nuclear energy will be a focus area, both as an example of a controversial technology and because it is a source of low-carbon electricity that many experts and governments are considering in plans to fight climate change.


SCBScN program issues first Aboriginal Nursing Student Achievement Program update

Readers will be aware of the centrality of Indigenization to the University's current Strategic Plan, and indeed to its future. The two partners in the Saskatchewan Collaborative BSc in Nursing program, the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic, are fully committed to the Indigenization of their respective communities, and have therefore created the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ANSAP). Enrolment of self-declared Aboriginal students has increased from 35 in 2011 to 104 in 2014.

The full ANSAP report is available here.


Academic Unit Reviews for Spring 2016

The cycle of Academic Unit Reviews (AURs) has resumed for 2015-16 and beyond. This spring, AURs will focus on the Department of Philosophy and Classics (Faculty of Arts), Department of Physics (Faculty of Science), and the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. Information about AURs is available here, including policy, schedules, and data templates. Specific information about current reviews, including self-study documents and data summaries, will shortly be available from this page.


Budget preparations for 2016-17 and ... yes ... 2017-18

Consultations on the 2016-17 budget continue. All unit budget submissions for 2016-17 have been received. Presentations are scheduled for 22 February and CCB will discuss them on 29 February. Video and slides from the Monday 8 February Budget Town Hall in the Shu-Box will be available shortly on the 2016-17 Budget Update webpage.

While this work for 2016-17 continues, Saskatchewan universities and colleges have received from the Deputy Minister guidelines for preparing the 2017-18 Operations Forecast, which will be due three weeks after the provincial budget is announced later this spring. The Deputy Minister's letter notes: "As Saskatchewan is currently facing a challenging economic environment, I expect difficult budgetary decisions will need to be made in the immediate and near future. I thank each institution that has undertaken cost-saving measures and encourage all of you to continue to search for operational efficiencies."

Like last year's, the 2017-18 guidelines include requests for status quo estimates, and estimates of how a 0% increase in the operating grant will affect staffing, programming, and student services. The Ministry continues to monitor special fund balances, noting that "good financial management requires institutions to retain a level of contingency funds and ... funds [that] may be held in anticipation of major projects or program implementation."


Tuesday 2 February 2016

New partnership between JSGSPP and the Fedoruk Centre announced

Last week the Board of the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation approved a partnership between the Fedoruk Centre and the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. The agreement, worth $2 million over three years, will support an interdisciplinary program of research and engagement to be carried out by the School and its research networks.

The goal is improve the policy frameworks that allow public, private and civil society actors to successfully engage in and benefit from new discoveries and technological applications.  The agreement will create new faculty positions, postdoctoral fellowships and student opportunities at both the Regina and Saskatoon campuses of the School.

Congratulations to JSGSPP Executive Director Dr Kathleen McNutt and her colleagues on this very promising new partnership.


Update on senior searches and reviews

Regular updates on the searches in the Faculty of Science and the University library continue to be posted here.

A review of the Dean of Business Administration, Dr Andrew Gaudes, is now under way. Details including a timeline can be found here, and updates will be posted to that page as the review progresses.


Second open forum on budget scheduled for Monday 8 February

The next Open Forum being held as part of the University's budget development process will take place next Monday, 8 February, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm in the Shumiatcher Open Stage (Shu-Box) Theatre.

A video of the 14 January 2016 Open Forum, as well as the PowerPoint presentation and additional budget information, are available at here.

As well, information on the University's current 2015-2016 Budget is available here.

We encourage you to review this information and provide input at budget@uregina.ca or directly to any member of the leadership team.

Two additional Open Forum meetings planned as part of the budget development process will be held on Wednesday 13 April from 3:00 to 4:00 pm in the Education Auditorium, and on Thursday 19 May from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, also in the Education Auditorium.


Mark your calendars for May 2017: U of R to host Canada-Wide Science Festival

From 14-20 May 2017, the University of Regina will host the Canada-Wide Science Festival on the main campus.

Including presenters, judges, parents, supporters, and assistants, we anticipate a total attendance of up to 800-900 people. A website is now up and running, and will be enhanced with further detail in coming months.

Please note this important event in your calendars.


Tuesday 26 January 2016

The University's economic impact on the city and province

Last week President Timmons addressed the Chamber of Commerce on the subject of the University's economic impact. Her remarks drew on a recent study by Economic Development Regina Inc. Among its findings: that the University's total gross domestic product is estimated at over half a billion dollars in the provincial economy; that the University and its employees directly and indirectly contributed more than $150 million in federal and provincial taxes, considerably more than the University receives in its annual operating grant from the province; and that in 2014-15 University of Regina students, more than two-thirds of whom now come from outside the city of Regina, spent approximately $200 million in the city.

In an article entitled "The University of Regina is like its own little city with big economic impact," Leader-Post reporter Ashley Martin presented a summary of the study's findings. The full study is available here.


Update on senior searches

Last week saw the interviews of candidates for the position of University Librarian, and information regarding the recommended candidate for the position of Dean of Science. Input from faculty, staff, and students on candidates for the University Librarian position is welcome until 4 pm on Thursday 28 January, and can be sent in confidence to provost@uregina.ca.

Regular updates on both searches continue to be available on the Search web page.


More on acquisitions, journal costs, and academic publishing

Recent issues of this Bulletin have contained a number of updates on the major challenges Canadian libraries are facing because of the falling dollar and the pricing/bundling policies of large multinational publishers such as Blackwell, Wiley, Elsevier, and Springer.

A recent blog post by Jason Schmitt ("Can't Disrupt This: Elsevier and the 25.2 Billion Dollar a Year Academic Publishing Business") provides further information and context. Schmitt notes that Elsevier's 2013 profit margins were higher than Apple's, and are part of a system that is "designed to maximize the amount of profit" publishers reap at the expense of universities, funding agencies, and scholars themselves. "Pricing lists for journals do not exist," he says, in part because of what Martin Eve describes as "non-disclosure agreements with ... institutions so they can't bargain with knowing what others paid."

Schmitt further quotes Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, who notes that the Netherlands, "the whole country, has said to Elsevier that we want all of our researchers to be able to publish open access in your journals at the same rates we would pay ... last year and if you can't do that we're going to cancel every one of your journals, for all of our universities nationwide."

Schmitt's blog post is available here.


Eisler on energy literacy

Dale Eisler, senior policy fellow at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School and senior government relations advisor for the University, has published "Energy Literacy in Canada, Part 4," as one of the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy research papers.

Among his recommendations are an "independent online source for the public to access relevant and expert energy information," a "national sustainable energy coalition," a focus by governments on "energy-efficiency measures," an explicit linking of energy policy to "economic self-interest and environmental responsibility," and a framing of energy discourse in "national-intrerest terms."

Eisler's paper is available here.


Sustainability: the future of parking

Writing in the January/February 2016 issue of Mother Jones, Clive Thompson cites some startling facts:

  • the total amount of parking space in the US is equivalent to an area larger than Connecticut
  • the costs of providing parking in apartment and other residential complexes increase tenants' monthly rent by about $225
  • "from about 30 to 60 percent of the cars you see driving around a downtown core are just circling, looking for an open space to claim"

On the positive side, Jeff Kenworthy, professor of sustainability at Curtin University, has "found that the pace at which people increase their use of cars has been slowing .... in some cities car use actually declined .... many cities are reaching 'peak car use,' and it's all downhill from here."

Our new Sustainability Strategic Plan identifies transportation as one of its five areas of focus. It calls for the University community to

  • increase our use of transit
  • increase our use of active transportation, and increase facilities for active transportation on our campuses
  • develop and support carpooling and car share programs at the University

Given our climate and the city-edge location of our main campus, Regina may not quite be at the point of seeing car use begin to declline. But each of the goals set out above will, over time, reduce our collective dependence on cars, and reduce the need to construct new parking facilities on campus.


Upcoming dates

26 January Saskatoon Campus visit
27 January Executive of Council
6 February Senate


Tuesday 19 January 2016

Hill Business students successful at ICBC and JDC West

Congratulations to both the Hill ICBC and Hill JDC West teams. They competed this past weekend in Kingston at Queen's, and in Saskatoon at the Edwards School.

The Hill ICBC Human Resources team of Shandi Van De Sype and Hannah Senicar placed first among all entries. Dr Paul Sinclair was the coach.

The Hill JDC West team was also very successful:

  • 2nd Place School of the Year (1st place went to Sauder/UBC and 3rd to Edwards)
  • 1st Place Academic School of the Year (2nd place went to Sauder and 3rd to Edwards)
  • 1 st Place in Not-for-Profit – Cari-Lynn Schoettler, Conrad Hewitt, Brendan Hill
  • 1st in Taxation – Kashtin Schumacher, Shivaun Eberle
  • 2nd in Human Resources – Rory McCorriston, Nicole Pyne, Cyrena Lockert
  • 2nd in Business Strategy – Brock Forbes, Brooklyn Fiesel, Madeline Bates
  • 2nd in Accounting – Zachary Pengally, Ashley Mohr, Kyle Hanison
  • 3nd in Finance – Tyler Pastuch, Anders Ireland, Robbie Vancise

Randy Linton was lead coach for JDC West.


Formation of the 2016-17 budget

Readers of the Bulletin know that work on the budget goes on year-round. The 2016-17 Budget Update webpage provides an overview of the current process, and links to various materials used in budget preparation and reporting.

Recent events include the first of four Budget Town Halls on 14 January. A video of this presentation is available here and the slide deck for the presentation is available here.

Budget submissions from Faculties and operating units were due on Friday 15 January, and will be discussed at the Council Committee on Budget on 29 February and again in March. A meeting with Faculty Administrators to review budget issues took place this morning, and discussions with Ministry officials continue on aspects of the 2016-17 Operations Forecast as well as other aspects of university funding and budgeting.


Enrolments and tuition

Slide 7 of the 14 January Budget Town Hall slide deck shows our current (2015-16) operating revenue from tuition and fees is $74.5 million, or 36% of our total operating budget revenue. In other words, student tuition and fees now cover more than one-third of the operating costs of the University, including salaries and benefits. The percentage of the budget that comes from tuition and fees continues to increase each year, making enrolments and student retention ever more important to the continued fiscal health of the University.

With this in mind, readers will be interested to see the following statistics, prepared by the Registrar and the office of the AVP Student Affairs for next month's meeting of the University Senate. Preliminary registration counts for the January 2016 term show gains at both undergraduate and graduate levels when compared to the January 2015 term.

Table 1

Registrations (preliminary January counts)




2016 % Increase/


















Undergraduate Credit Hours





Full Load Equivalents (UG only)





Average Credit Load (UG only)





Looking back over the last five years, data show substantial enrolment increases in areas such as Engineering, FGSR, KHS, Science, and of course Nursing, with declines in a number of other areas.

Table 2 - 5 Year Enrolment Snapshot (winter term)







2016 Increase/Decrease

5 Year Increase/Decrease

University of Regina Proper

















Continuing Education
























Kinesiology and Health








La Cité



Media, Art, & Performance
























Social Work








Special and Other








Total Undergraduate








Graduate Studies








Total Constituent











Campion Total













Continuing Education


 La Cité


 Media, Art, & Performance










First Nations Total













Business Administration





Continuing Education















Media, Art, & Performance










Social Work





Special and Other





Luther Total













La Cite



Fine Arts










Grand Total – All Constituents








International student enrolments continue to grow, helping to offset losses caused by the declining local population of high-school graduates.

Table 3 - International Student Enrolments


Winter Terms

University of Regina Proper






% Change

4 yr increase/decrease

















Continuing Education
















Engineering and Applied Science








Fine Arts (now Media, Art & Perf.)








Kinesiology and Health Studies
























Social Work








Special and Other








Total Undergraduate








Graduate Studies








Total Constituent

















First Nations
















Grand Total








In a recent blog post, Alex Usher highlights some of the challenges of international student recruitment, focusing especially on recent developments in Saudi Arabia and Brazil.


Upcoming date

20 January Deans' Council
22 January Chinese New Year's gala
25 January Education Career Expo
25 January Council Committee on Budget
26 January Saskatoon Campus visit
27 January Executive of Council
6 February Senate


Monday 11 January 2016

The New Year

A very happy New Year to all readers of the Bulletin!

A reminder that all previous Bulletin entries remain available below (previous years' entries are available via the links at left and right), and are fully searchable by keyword.


Library journals, acquisitions, and academic publishing elsewhere: January update

Recent updates to this Bulletin (see entries below for 15 December, 8 December, 6 October, and 29 September) have outlined the pressures facing Canadian university libraries from coast to coast as the exchange rate with the US dollar greatly increases library acquisition and licensing costs.

Added to that are substantial annual price increases by the 5 dominant commercial publishers of academic journals, and a general questioning of the entire enterprise of academic publishing: is it sustainable in its current form, or does it need to be reinvented?

Several recent developments in these areas will be of interest to readers. The University of Calgary speaks of "a collections crisis that's rippling across the country."  UBC notes that "[j]ournals produced by commercial publishers are ... about 5 times the price of those published by professional or academic societies."  And the University of Saskatchewan has published a set of principles by which they will be guided in reviewing their acquisitions.

Two American academics, Theodore Bergstrom of UCSB and R Preston McAfee of CalTech, have published an open letter. In it, they write that "[i]t is time to recognize a simple fact and react to it. The symbiotic relationship between academics and for-profit publishers has broken down. The large for-profit publishers are gouging the academic community for as much as the market will bear." Bergstrom and McAfee recommend that libraries cease "buying bundled packages [of journals] from large commercial publishers." They have set up a website that permits them (and others) to "construct lists of journals that we believe represent poor value to university library subscriptions."

Elsewhere the US, the Oberlin group of liberal arts colleges have "unveiled a new scholarly open-access monograph publisher that aims to promote digital scholarship and lower the barriers to publication for researchers at smaller institutions." The new press "aims to acquire, develop, produce, and disseminate a total of 60 new open-access titles" in the next 5 years.

Details are available here via Inside Higher Ed. The website of the new press, called Lever Press, is available here.

All of this, together with the information provided in previous editions of this Bulletin, suggests that the next few years will see a re-evaluation of many aspects of the world of scholarly publishing -- pricing, bundling, editorial models and costs, open-access journals and monographs, and more. Stay tuned.


Welcome to Kristina Untereiner

Kristina Untereiner has joined our office effective 11 January as Executive Assistant to Dr Dena McMartin, Associate Vice-President (Academic and Research). Ms Untereiner comes to the University from the Ministry of Justice, Government of Saskatchewan, where she held the position of Executive Co-ordinator.


Senior searches: update

Regular information updates about senior searches currently under way are available here. The Search Advisory Committee for the Dean of Science meets Wednesday to review input from faculty, staff, and students. Shortlisted candidates for the post of University Librarian will be on campus later this month for public presentations and interviews.


The power of education

Western Sydney University has released a remarkable ad on the ways in which postsecondary education can transform a person's life. It is available here.


Upcoming events

13 January University Leadership Team meeting
14 January Budget Town Hall at 3 pm
19 January Breakfast meeting with Faculty Administrators
20 January Deans' Council
22 January Chinese New Year's gala
25 January Education Career Expo
25 January Council Committee on Budget
26 January Saskatoon Campus visit
27 January Executive of Council
6 February Senate meeting


Tuesday 15 December 2015

Clinical psychology program reaccredited by CPA

On 30 November, the Accreditation Panel of the Canadian Psychological Association informed the University that our clinical psychology program has been reaccredited for the maximum period of seven years. The panel commended the program for its "innovative approach to program evaluation training," its efforts "to create stable practicum training opportunities," and the University's "continued financial and administrative support for the program."

Congratulations to Dr Lynn Loutzenhiser and her colleagues in the clinical psychology program on this national recognition of their efforts to provide a first-class program to their students.


U of R Business students place 3rd of 1909 in Montreal Exchange Options Trading Simulation

Dean Andrew Gaudes of the Faculty of Business Administration notes that "a required component of Dr Saqib Khan's BUS 494 Derivatives and Risk Management class is participation in the Montreal Exchange Options Trading Simulation contest. Each team is given a virtual cash account of $100,000 to build its options portfolio. The eight-week Options Trading Simulation is held during the 2015 fall term, from September 28 to November 20.

"To appreciate the complexity of the challenge, here are some of the requirements:

  • Teams must choose at least five Canadian option classes from the 50 most active securities in constructing their options portfolio.
  • Each mandatory strategy must have a minimum notional value of $5,000 or 10 option contracts. There is no minimum holding period required.
  • Each initiating stock and option transaction is limited to a maximum of 5,000 shares and 50 contracts on the same option series.
  • Mandatory strategies must be traded in a single transaction by selecting the "Transaction Type" field of the Trading Simulator, and not by legs.
  • Each team can receive a maximum of five "Margin Calls" during the simulation.
  • Each team must execute three predefined options trading strategies:
  • Covered call
  • Bear put spread
  • Strangle
  • Each team must also execute two surprise strategies that are unveiled by email on the 2nd and 6th trading weeks respectively
  • All positions must be liquidated before market close on November 20, 2015

"A total of 1909 teams from 42 universities participated in the contest this fall. I’m pleased to announce that the team of students Drew Broadfoot, Brock Forbes, April Pyne and Drayton Leflar placed third overall.

"This is a significant achievement by our students who have once again shown that they are of the highest calibre," concludes Dean Gaudes.


Library acquisitions and journal pricing: Regina

Following last week's notice to campus, yesterday University Librarian Colleen Murphy sent out an update:

I apologize if the Library's communication regarding cancellations caught many of you off guard and I thank you for weighing in on this whole issue. The situation is a grave one and it is necessary that we all have the debate and discussion regarding something that is not unique to the U of R but is in fact hitting institutions across North America. I will attempt to clarify a few things in this email, but I would also encourage you to contact me, Barbara Nelke, or your liaison librarian with any additional questions and/or comments.

1.  How did we get to this state?

Two main factors - high inflation costs charged by publishers (6-8% per year) and the fluctuating US exchange rate. Over 80% of our acquisitions are billed in US dollars. Over the past year, we have lost more than 20% of our purchasing power simply due to the fall in the Canadian dollar. We had a taste of this last year, which we were able to cover through fall-in. However, this is not sustainable.

2.  Why were faculty not consulted regarding the cancellations? 

Many of our journal subscriptions are currently part of large packages similar to cable tv packages. In order to address the shortfall in the budget ($500,000), our only real option was to target a couple of these large, expensive packages.  The decision was further constrained by subscription renewal deadlines and the multi-year nature of many subscriptions.   Together, the two multidisciplinary packages identified represent approximately $140,000.  We have usage statistics on the individual titles contained in the packages and we are in the process of taking out subscriptions to the most heavily used titles.  Our plan, was, and will remain, to consult with and listen to faculty regarding which other titles should be reinstated.  Of course, we may not be able to meet all requests.

For those titles we are unable to pick up, we will be providing alternate access through our Interlibrary Loan service, which has an average turnaround time of 48 hours.  We are also investigating other means of procurement such as pay per view. The Library will be covering the cost of these alternate means of access.  We will also continue to have access to the backfiles of many of the journal titles affected.

3.  How are book and other one-time purchases (versus journals) being impacted?

In anticipation of the shortfall this year, the Library limited the purchase of monographs and other one-time purchases in the early fall.  This was the first place we could control our purchasing.  Now that we have identified other areas to cover the shortfall, we have reopened this area of purchasing (on a still limited basis).  If you haven't already begun to do so, please forward your title suggestions to your liaison librarian.

We did identify one large collection of ebooks - Books 24x7 for cancellation. This was based on the very low usage of what was contained in the package. Fewer than 30 books out of some 10,000 titles were actually used. We are in the process of ordering the most heavily used titles and some are already in place.

Books in Print is a bibliographic database used mainly by the Library to find information regarding in print status.  This information can be sourced elsewhere.

4.  What other measures have been taken to address the situation?

In August 2015, legal counsel advised us to renew our license with Access Copyright for one year in order to allow us the time to have everything in place that would permit us to end the Access Copyright agreement without risk to the institution. We are confident that this will be the case by August 2016. The cost of the renewed license was $172,000, which was $96,000 less than our previous license. The University immediately redirected this savings of $96,000 to the Acquisitions budget (approximately 1/5 of our anticipated shortfall). There is further commitment to redirect the remaining $172,000 which will be freed up in August 2016 when the Access License is not renewed.

5.  Will there be consultation in the future?

The short answer to this is "Yes." I invite you once again to contact me, or Barbara or your liaison librarian.  I would be happy to come out to one of your meetings to listen to your concerns and to determine together how we might best meet the teaching, research and learning needs of this campus.  


Library acquisitions and journal pricing: Memorial, Ryerson, and ... Harvard

In her communication to campus, Colleen notes that we are facing exactly the same problem as libraries across Canada and abroad.

Last week's Bulletin (see below) contained a link to a media report on journal subscription cancellations at Memorial University. Similarly, on 11 December Ryerson University Library in Toronto posted information to the Ryerson campus saying that "we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation, and must make difficult decisions." The Ryerson Library goes on to argue that, as journal publishers "reap profit margins of upwards of 40%, academic libraries simply cannot keep pace with the cost of subscriptions -- and nor should we."

Lest some think that this situation has arisen without warning, more than three years ago Harvard University Library wrote to Harvard faculty to warn that "major periodical subscriptions cannot be sustained," and pointed to the "efforts of certain publishers ... to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals." The Harvard librarians said bluntly that "large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive."

The Harvard Library notice to Harvard faculty can be consulted here.


UK universities lose internet connections because of cyberattack

An 8 December report in The Telegraph notes that a number of British universities lost their internet connections on the 8th because of a cyberattack on the network that links them.

Earlier editions of this Bulletin, including 27 October and 17 November (both available below), carried information about the rising number of attacks on university computing systems, and the need to respond effectively to those attacks.


Next DC Bulletin in January

The Deans' Council Bulletin will resume publication in January. Best wishes to all our readers for a happy and healthy holiday season.

Upcoming dates to remember

16 December Deans' Council
22 December Last day of term
6 January First day of classes for W2016 term

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Bryanna Butz

It is a pleasure to announce that, effective Monday 7 December, Bryanna Butz is the new executive assistant to the Provost. Bryanna came to the University some months ago from government to assume the role of executive assistant to the Associate Vice-President (Academic and Research). Since then, her work has been marked by her strong ability to strategize, priorize, manage, and execute, as well as an extraordinary work ethic.

Please join us in congratulating Bryanna on this appointment. A search to fill her former position is now under way, and should be concluded within the next few weeks. 


Students in distress: a shared responsibility

Yeaterday Director of Counselling Services Dr Kent Klippenstine made a presentation to the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Board of Governors focused on the increasing needs of students for mental health counselling and support. Universities across the country are grappling with student mental health issues at a time when additional financial resources are not available. Klippenstine's presentation notes the gaps in service that increase risk to students, and presents several solutions to the problem.

Our strategic plan, peyak aski kikawinaw,  explicitly identifies improved mental he

alth support services for students, faculty, and staff, and calls for the development of "a comprehensive program of mental health awareness and support" for these groups.


Memorial plans to cancel thousands of journal subscriptions

A recent media story indicates that finacial pressures at Memorial University in Newfoundland have led to the cancellation of thousands of journal subscriptions. The story is available here.


Dale Eisler weighs in on carbon

Senior Government Relations Advisor Dale Eisler, who also serves as a senior public policy fellow at JSGS, has published an article in C2C Journal on what recent events in Alberta, together with current oil prices, mean for the oil and gas sector, which he characterizes as "traumatized and in a state of profound shock."

Eisler's article reminds us of his days as the Leader-Post's political columist delighting in metaphors we rarely see in today's 150-word newspaper pieces:

"Then, after that staggering left-hook on the chin, the oil patch took another punch to the solar plexus in October that left it doubled-over, gasping for air and totally disoriented. Suddenly it was 1981, the National Energy Program, and Prime Minister Trudeau all over again. Gone were the federal Conservatives, a prime minister and senior cabinet ministers from Calgary and Edmonton, replaced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from Montreal, the son of you know who."


U of R film instructor's new comedy now a "top pick"

Critic Jason White of eFilmCritic has termed The Sabbatical, a new film by the U of R's Brian Stockton, "the funniest comedy you will see at Whistler Film Fest this year." The Sabbatical premieres tonight in Regina at the Kramer IMAX.  


Upcoming dates to remember

11 December Holiday open house for staff at President's Residence
16 December Deans' Council
22 December Last day of term
6 January First day of classes for W2016 term

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Today: Campus forum on master plan

Today from 2:30 to 4:30 pm in the Riddell Centre Multipurpose Room, the third and final public forum on the Campus Master Plan will be held. For details including a link to the Master Plan webpage, click here.


Toll-free IT support line now available

Given the substantial recent growth in the numbers of University of Regina students living and studying in communities across the province and indeed across the country, Information Services has established a toll-free helpline number accessible from anywhere in Canada. The number is 1.844.585.4685. For more information on IT Support Centre services, please visit http://www.uregina.ca/is/itsc.html.


Livia Castellanos elected to board of CBIE

UR International Director Livia Castellanos has been elected to the Board of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE). The election marks Livia's growing national reputation as an expert and leader in the field of international education. Under her guidance, UR International has developed into one of the most strategic and student-focused international education units in the country. Congratulations on this professional honour, Livia!


Part-time students: are we meeting their needs?

"The traditional semester system and full-time classroom schedule," according to higher education observer Ken Steele, "wasn't developed for the convenience of part-time students," many of whom are juggling their classes with 20 hours or more of employment each week.

To meet the needs of this growing population, some universities, like the U of R and its UR Early program, have begun extending their timetables into the early morning or, like Algonquin in Ottawa, into the evening. Steele also notes the widespread move toward various forms of blended learning, with intense on-campus residencies and asynchronous online learning supplementing more traditional classroom approaches in universities such as Royal Roads.

Brock University has developed "SuperCourses," in which students "spend an intense two weeks on campus and complete the entire course" by working Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm on the one course. Our Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School is doing something similar. At Stanford in Palo Alto, the "Open Loop University" offers six years of "non-linear" education rather than the traditional four-year degree. And at MIT in Boston, a faculty task force concluded that "the very notion of a course may be outdated."

Steele's nine-minute video report can be found here.


Update to senior searches

Campus visits and interviews for the four candidates shortlisted for the position of Dean of Science have been scheduled. Details are available on the Search Update page here.

The Search Advisory Committee for the University Librarian met yesterday, and will be announcing a shortlist later this week. Campus visits and interviews will take place in January.


President approves Sustainability Strategic Plan in principle; U of R now included in STARS reporting

The President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability (PACS) has prepared a sustainability strategic plan and have recommended it to President Timmons. She has approved it in principle. A launch of the sustainability strategic plan is anticipated in January. Please watch for details.

Thanks to the work of Sustainability Co-ordinator Carol Reyda, the University of Regina is now reporting to STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System administered by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The University's STARS report can be found here. This is an initial report. It will be regularly updated as the University implements various sustainability initiatives over the life of the strategic plan.


Carillon story on senior hirings

As noted in last week's Bulletin (see below), the Carillon printed a highly inaccurate story on senior hirings, including those of deans. The most recent issue of the newspaper carries a response to that story. It is reprinted here.

16 November 2015

Mr Matt Wincherauk, Editor
The Carillon
Via email to editor@carillonregina.ca

Dear Mr Wincherauk,

As the person responsible for decanal recruitments and reviews at the University of Regina, I write in response to the November 12 Carillon article titled "Hiring process lacking transparency."

In that article, Faculty Association chair Dennis Fitzpatrick characterizes senior hirings, including those of deans, as "very arbitrary and very secret."  The article also states that "Fitzpatrick went on to claim that several ... were illegitimate."

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In recruiting and reviewing deans and other senior academic leaders, the University strikes committees with broad representation from faculty, staff, students and, when appropriate, the external community. Members of these committees devote many hours to the work of recruiting, interviewing, and recommending the best candidates, whether internal or external.

Indeed, two of these processes are currently under way – for a new Dean of Science and a new University Librarian. Together, the two searches involve 14 elected or appointed faculty members, staff, and students. http://www.uregina.ca/president/searches-reviews/searches provides regular updates.

In the case of the individuals whose appointments Fitzpatrick deems “illegitimate,” committees made up of more than two dozen elected or appointed faculty members, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and community representatives undertook search and review work on behalf of their peers. Faculty, staff, and student input was sought at several stages, including the decision to proceed with a review of a person already occupying a leadership role. As noted above, regular updates on the progress of the searches and reviews were provided to the campus community. 

To characterize this collegial work as "arbitrary," "secret," and "illegitimate" is not only wrong, but a slur against many members of the campus community who undertook it. The Carillon and Fitzpatrick owe an apology both to the very fine deans these committees recommended, and to the many faculty, staff, and student representatives who have given of their time and diligence to find the best candidates, whether external or internal, for senior positions at the University of Regina.


Thomas Chase


Upcoming dates to remember

2 December Deans' Council
7 December Last day of classes
7-8 December Board of Governors' meeting
11 December Holiday open house for staff at President's Residence
16 December Deans' Council
22 December Last day of term
6 January First day of classes for W2016 term

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Searches for a new Dean of Science and a new University Librarian

The shortlist of candidates to be interviewed for the position of Dean of Science was announced last week, and is available on the Dean of Science Search update page.

The Search Advisory Committee for the University Librarian will meet later this week for preliminary conversations with several candidates. From these conversations the Committee will determine next steps in that search process.


New collaboration between Fine Arts and the Aboriginal Student Centre

The Faculty of Fine Arts is pleased to announce that it is supporting the development of a new theatre course for Winter 2017 that rests on a collaboration between the Aboriginal Student Centre and the Theatre Department. This course is an initiative created through Misty Longman, Manager of the Aboriginal Student Centre, and Kathryn Bracht, Department Head of Theatre. The Theatre Department will support and develop the creative and artistic exploration of cohorts in the ASC’s nitoˆncipaˆmin omaˆ Student Success Program (OMA Program). The course is an introduction to improvisation for the theatre, and marks the first of what we hope will be many such collaborations between these two units.


Engineering students to be allowed Arts electives

Thanks to the work of colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, especially Associate Dean David deMontigny, the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board has given permission to widen the scope of non-technical elective courses Engineering students at the University of Regina can take to include all courses in the Faculty of Arts. Program approvals to confirm this change will be making their way through the appropriate committees shortly.


Media attention to Nigerian students

Yesterday the CBC ran a story about Nigerian students studying at the University of Regina and at other Canadian institutions. It focuses on the River State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), an agency of the Nigerian government that provides funding for Nigerian students studying internationally. More specifically, CBC has been raising concern about the fact that RSSDA currently has approximately $1 million balance owing to the University.

This figure needs some context.

The RSSDA has invested over $15 million in tuition and fees since 2009 to help nearly 180 Nigerian students attend our University. In addition to this, many more millions were sent directly to the students for book and living allowances. Over the past six years, the University has had a positive relationship with the RSSDA and with the Nigerian students it has sponsored.  The University believes this program is a win–win: Nigerian students receive a high quality international educational experience, and the U of R strengthens diversity on campus.

The current balance owing is a fraction -- approximately $1 million of more than $15 million -- of what RSSDA has already invested in the University.We have every reason to believe they will continue to meet their financial obligations, despite the challenges they face with the fall in the price of oil.

Through this relationship, the University of Regina has become a university of choice for many Nigerian students who are not sponsored by the agency. Over the current and previous two semesters, 370 Nigerian students have registered in classes. Currently, only about 40 are being sponsored by the RSSDA.

Readers of the Bulletin will be not be surprised to know that, in responding to numerous requests for information from CBC, staff in Financial Services set aside pressing tasks and worked hours to ensure CBC's questions were addressed in a timely and accurate manner. Compiling and reconciling student records and invoice payments for the nearly 180 students RSSDA has sponsored at the U of R since the program began six years ago took two staff members nearly 45 hours of work. This does not include the time of the two staff in External Relations who assisted in this process.


The Carillon -- last February's Universidad Panamericana course and article on hirings

The Carillon
conducted an interview last week with Livia Castellanos on the University's participation last February in the Professional Global Leadership Program, a one-week intensive course at Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City.  The course provided leadership training to a wide range of University staff, and an exchange of ideas on supporting diversity and accommodating students of different needs.  This is critical training if we are to continue to be a destination of choice for international students from around the globe.

In the wake of recent inaccurate reporting in the Carillon, it is unfortunately possible that this story will not be reported in a balanced way. All the details of this program, including costs, were posted to the UR International website last February.  You can find these details here, with the costs clearly outlined in the Q&As at the bottom of that webpage.

Regarding the highly inaccurate story on senior hirings that recently appeared in the Carillon, a letter to the editor has been submitted and, we understand, will be published. It will be included as well in next week's edition of this Bulletin.


Initial NCLEX pass rates

The Dean of Nursing, david Gregory, notes that initial NCLEX-RN pass rates were disappointing for the majority of nursing programs in Canada, including the SCBScN program offered in partnership with Saskatchewan Polytechnic. To address concerns raised by those rates, several strategies are now in place, and pass rates are increasing. Students are now being provided with instruction and practice on writing NCLEX-style questions throughout their academic program, as well as with access to online NCLEX resources. For those graduates who were unsuccessful with the NCLEX, workshops and remediation sessions are available. "Our students and our graduates," writes Dean Gregory, "have the knowledge, skills, and clinical competence not only to practise as generalists across health care settings, but to provide safe, ethical patient care."


Desk phones and voicemail -- a few thoughts

Vice-President (Administration) Dave Button notes that Information Services has prepared data on the cost of desk phones and voicemail service across the University. These devices and systems aren't terribly expensive; thus making substantial changes to them would generate relatively little in savings to the University.

The University has 3750 telephone locals costing approximately $140,000 annually. Long distance charges are additional. There are 2100 voicemail boxes on campus. The annual cost of these is approximately $25,000.

Many locals are used in central services such as the Registrar's Office, Financial Services, advising offices, and Deans' offices, and cannot be replaced by a cell phone or other device. Even in the best of scenarios, if we reduced the number of campus phones and voice mail boxes by 30% (1200 phones and 700 voice mails) the net annual saving would be no more than $40,000. We would lose some economies of scale, and on top, we would incur additional large one time charges to convert.

This is not to say that there should not be gradual reduction in phones and judicious review by managers who approve new phones and manage current systems.


Reminder: pre-holiday reimbursement deadlines

In past years, Financial Services has been overwhelmed in December with claims for expense reimbursement. Faculty and staff tend to be very busy at this time of year and then realize at the last moment that they want reimbursement for their University expenses before the Christmas break. The result has been a flood of last minute claims in excess of what can be processed with existing staff levels in Financial Services.

If you have a claim for reimbursement that you wish to have paid prior to the Christmas break, please forward the claim as soon as possible to Financial Services to be processed and paid. Financial Services would like to receive as many claims as possible by Friday 4 December. The final deadline is Wednesday 9 December. Any claim received by 4:30 p.m. that day will be processed and cheques will be received in departments' inter-office mail on 24 December. People who have signed up for direct deposit for claims will have their reimbursement deposited to their bank account that day. Claims received after 9 December will be processed for payment in the new year.


Upcoming dates to remember

23-27 November International Education Week 
25 November Executive of Council
1 December Campus Master Plan public forum
2 December Deans' Council
7 December Last day of classes
7-8 December Board of Governors' meeting
11 Decmber Holiday open house for staff at President's Residence
16 December Deans' Council
22 December Last day of term
6 January First day of classes for W2016 term

Tuesday 17 November 2015

U of R students in Paris

The recent attacks in Paris have appalled people across the world. Local media have asked the University whether we have any students currently in Paris. We know of two, both of whom are safe and in contact with their families. U of R International Director Livia Castellanos spoke to media on the weekend, noting that the University will continue to support our partnerships and students in France. She can be seen at 1'57" in this clip from CTV.

Amir Aboguddah, president of the U of R Muslim Students' Association, writes:

"We have all heard of the tragic events that have took place in Paris, France. There is no doubt that these events came as a shock to everyone everywhere. I, as a Muslim and as the President of UR MSA, make clear our condemnation of any attack on civilian life. As Muslims, we believe there is nothing more important than preserving the sanctity of human life. Over the past years, we have watched as atrocities have been committed around the world: In Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, and now France. We renew our call for peace around the world and for the preservation of human life everywhere. We pray for the victims and their families that have suffered from the recent Paris attack and for those subjected to all sorts of violence around the world. Peace be upon you."


International Education Week

UR International is busy preparing to lead celebrations of the 2015 International Education Week from 23 to 27 November. The focus this year will be the 18-year-long partnership between the University and Mexican universities. The week will include a "Day of the Dead" celebration on the evening of Thursday 26 November. For more details, click here.


Advising update 

University Registrar James D'Arcy provides the following update: "The shortlisted vendor conducted a demo of their product on 13 November to a large representation of academic advisors, faculty, and Student Service staff in attendance. Feedback from the group was positive. The anticipated project start date is the first week of January.  The project team will be announced at a later date.  The system should go live before the start of the Fall 2016 term and will be rolled out to first and second year students with a gradual transition of 3rd and 4th year students by Fall 2017."


Cyberattacks on universities

Writing in the Educause Review, David Shipley of the University of New Brunswick outlines the challenges posed to universities and colleges by hackers and cybercriminals. He notes that universities are often "easier to attack and exploit than other entities," and that UNB itself "experiences millions of attempts to breach [its] network" every day. His article is available here.


Upcoming dates to remember

18 November Celebrate Event
20 November National Children's Day
23-27 November International Education Week
25 November Executive of Council
1 December Campus Master Plan public forum
2 December Deans' Council
7 December Last day of classes
7-8 December Board of Governors' meeting
11 December Holiday open house for staff at President's Residence
16 December Deans' Council
22 December Last day of term
6 January First day of classes for W2016 term

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Humanities in the news -- monsters, demons, and their genesis

Global Regina recently carried a feature on a course currently being co-taught by Religious Studies professors Kevin Bond and Bill Arnal. The class, according to Arnal, "is really about supernatural creatures that get left out of consideration in normal treatments of world religions." Their course has piqued the interest not only of students, but of the media, and is a good example of the value of humanistic enquiry into cultural phenomena such as monsters, demons, and ghosts.

The four and a half minute video report is available here.


Senior searches -- update

The searches for the Dean of Science and the University Librarian are progressing on schedule. Regular updates on both are posted on the Searches web page.


University Library honours University authors

Last week the University Library held an event to honour members of the University community who have published works of scholarship and artistic creation over the past year. Scholars' and creators' work ranged from traditional academic monographs in areas such as history and literary criticism to music and even comics (Librarian Donna Bowman, with several colleagues, maintains a site called Blue Brolly Comics, with several comics available on it for which she does "pretty much all the art"). The event, organized by Librarians Robert Thomas, Michael Shires, and Christina Winter, with key assistance from Gina Swan and Shannon Kuntz, looks set to become an annual event.


Upcoming dates to remember

10 November National Philanthropy Day
18 November Celebrate Event
20 November National Children's Day
25 November Executive of Council
1 December Campus Master Plan public forum

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Advising update

Last week's Bulletin (see below) contained an update on recent initiatives undertaken by the University's academic advisors, among them an advising fair taking place today in the RIC Atrium. 

Another improvement to the advising we provide to undergraduate students, especially those in transition between Faculties or unsure in which Faculty they wish to pursue their programs, is the implementation of degree audit software. The 22 September issue of the Bulletin provides a brief description of this initiative. Vendor selection is now under way. 


Academic unit reviews update

The cycle of academic unit reviews has resumed, with three reviews scheduled for the 2015-16 year. They are the Department of Philosophy and Classics, the Department of Physics, and the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

Per University policy on unit reviews, units are presently assembling a list of names of potential reviewers, and preparing their self-study. Site visits take place in the spring.


Preferred gender identity -- students can now indicate

A recent feature on the University homepage notes that undergraduate students can now indicate their preferred gender identity, and have their preferred name used in all University processes. Registrar James D'Arcy provides answers to questions about this change, which responds to requests from students. 


Next generation Library system

The University is in the final stages of a Request for Proposals focusing on a next generation library system to replace the current one shared by the University, the Legislative Library, the RHQR Library, the RCMP Library, and the Gabriel Dumont Library. These libraries have now been joined by two potential new partners, the libraries of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and SaskPolytechnic. 

The next generation system should allow partner libraries to produce a unified library services platform, combining access to the collections of member libraries for the benefit of all users.

Much work remains to be done on this initiative, reports Acting University Librarian Colleen Murphy, but progress is being made. 


Carillon interview with President Timmons

The University's student newspaper, The Carillon, ran an interview with President Timmons in its issue last week. The interview, complete with a video transcript, is available online here. It touches on enrolments and recruitment, student life, the U-Pass, budget challenges, leaky roofs and deferred maintenance, Kisik Towers, and the difficulty of pleasing everyone. 


Computing networks, security, and the openness on which universities thrive 

In the 11 October edition of The Atlantic, Josephine Wolff discusses how universities -- where the Internet originated -- are trying to balance openness with the need for data security. Wolff writes: "[o]n those same campuses where the Internet was born, administrators, academics, information-technology staff, and students are struggling to figure out the right way to balance their academic research and educational missions with the need for computer security."

In the past year, both Harvard and Berkeley, together with other campuses, have had their networks breached by hackers. These breaches have touched on both student and employee data.

According to Jim Waldo, a Harvard computer science professor who is also Harvard's Chief Technology Officer, “[t]he whole notion of a university is that it thrives on collaboration and exchange of scholarship and ideas, both with people inside the university and outside the university. Building an infrastructure for IT that is based around those assumptions is pretty different from the kind of things that can be done in a corporation where you can dictate to your customer base what they can and can’t do, and where you really want to keep the outside out and the inside under control—we can’t do either of those things.”

Wolff's article is available here.


Maclean's university rankings to be published this week 

The annual issue of Maclean's containing its university rankings will be published on Thursday 29 October. Digital subscribers may have access to their edition the previous evening. 

This year Maclean's will include a bibliometric measure showing publications and citations, and a reputational survey based on a larger respondent group than has been used in the past.

Last year, the University of Regina was ranked 10th out of 15 Canadian comprehensives in the Maclean's rankings, behind an 8th place tie between York and Ryerson. In 2014, the University of Regina was 8th. 

In the various indices used by Maclean's, the University of Regina came 2nd out of 15 in operating budget per student (a ranking the University argues is inaccurate -- see page 4 of the 2016-17 Operations Forecast for a different calculation of this key index of university income), 3rd in student/faculty ratio, and 4th in scholarships and bursaries offered to students.


Next edition of the DC Bulletin

The next edition will appear during the week of 9 November. 


Upcoming dates to remember

27 October Hill Business Dinner
28 October Executive of Council
28 October Campus visit of Senator Lillian Dyck
29 October Motion2 Concert
4 November Deans' Council
6 November Community-Based Research Showcase
6 November University Library author event
10 November National Philanthropy Day
18 November Celebrate Event
25 November Executive of Council
1 December Campus Master Plan public forum

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Treasury Board presentation: 2016-17 Operations Forecast

The University made its presentation on the 2016-17 Operations Forecast to Treasury Board last week. The slide deck for that presentation is now available from the 2016-17 Budget update webpage, as is the 2016-17 Operations Forecast document.


MIT considers use of MOOCs in evaluating potential graduate students for admission

The Chronicle of Higher Education carries an article on an experiment at MIT whereby potential graduate students will be evaluated for admission, in part, on their performance in a series of free online courses and an online exam. "Students who come to the program after first taking the [online courses] will then essentially place out of the first half of the coursework, so they can finish the degree in a semester rather than an academic year. That effectively makes the master's program half the usual price." George Siemens, a distinguished academic at the University of Texas, argues that "we're just starting to see the impact in education of the Internet .... This reflects an accessibility mind shift."

The article, by Jeffrey Young, is available here.


Advising -- recent URAAP initiatives

Student success, including improved student retention and improved student supports, is at the heart of peyak aski kikawinaw. Courtesy of Jennifer Love Green in KHS, URAAP (University of Regina Academic Advising Professionals) has provided an update on recent activities and initiatives in support of this strategic goal and commitment. Below are several of the activities and initiatives.

  • An Event Subcommittee -- Libby Jeffrey (La Cité), Heather Antonini (Campion), Janelle Bennett (Fine Arts), Thy-Thy Quach (Arts) -- is co-ordinating a 27 October advising fair in the RIC Atrium. It is primarily for undeclared and exploring students who may have not otherwise seen an academic advisor. Faculty advisors will be available in one place to answer questions, provide students with program information, and help point them in the right direction.  Student Success and the Career Centre will also be there to tell students about their support programs. There will be workshops throughout the day, and the ability to book follow-up meetings with students who have more technical questions.
  • A Communications Subcommittee --  Nicole Glas (Education), Amanda Noubarian (Social Work), Heather Antonini (Campion) -- is developing branding and a visual identity for Academic Advisors that rests on the metaphor of advising as navigation, with Advisors showing the way through sometimes-daunting program requirements and configurations. In addition, this subcommittee is looking into developing a webpage on the University of Regina website that will help make academic advisors more visible and accessible to students.  URAAP are also hoping to make use of the TV screens on campus as a way of raising awareness on campus of academic advising.
  • An Advisor Training / Professional Development Subcommittee -- Sarah Maunder (Nursing-Saskatoon), Teresa Doucette (Nursing), Annette Marche (CCE), Brandi Srochenski (Arts), Karen Nye (Luther), Ashley Yeaman (Science) -- is setting up a skill development series for Advisors in order to establish a common set of best practices across our campuses. Planned topics include motivational interviewing; best practices with at-risk students, students on probation, and students in transition; supporting student diversity; and navigating difficult conversations with students.
  • An At-Risk Definition Subcommittee -- Jennifer Love Green (KHS), Kevin O’Brien (Arts), Janice Savoie (Engineering), Tatum Cruise (Luther) -- is focusing on students at risk of falling below minimum standards before they begin classes. It will then be possible to develop targeted strategies for increasing their success in the first semester. Working with the Student Success Centre (Krisanne Gossard), and in anticipation of a small advising support centre for at risk and exploratory students, the goal of the subcommittee is to define at-risk students (e.g., entering GPA vs. end of term 1 GPA and identifying a common threshold, entering student vs. continuing student definitions), policy suggestions (e.g., use of attribute codes, advising requirements), and process suggestions (e.g., common advising approach across Faculties and the advising centre, formal advising syllabus, early-alert program development targeting threshold courses).
  • Finally, a Needs and Satisfaction Survey Subcommittee -- Jane Desplenter Rose (Science), Melissa Berwald (Engineering), Jennifer Wilson (Arts), Tatum Cruise (Luther) -- is developing a survey to elicit feedback from our students on needs and values in terms of advising services on campus.

It is exciting to see these URAAP initiatives as we seek to fulfil our strategic commitments, among them (page references are to peyak aski kikawinaw):

  • "We recognize and support the diversity of our students' needs .... We aim to be accessible to all who wish to learn with us. We welcome the world to our campus" (7).
  • "The University ... exists to provide quality postsecondary education to our students ... [and] will strive to provide the necessary supports required to meet diverse student needs." Among our indicators of success are "increased retention and success rates of first-year students, increased completion rates of Aboriginal students ... [and] international students ... [and] increased retention rate of all students." Among our supporting actions are improving the "supports offered to new students transitioning into university, [development and implementation of] retention strategies that reflect current student needs, [and development and implementation of] a strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of student support services" (10).


Craig Chamberlin inaugurated as Algoma president

Former University of Regina professor and Dean Craig Chamberlin was inaugurated on the weekend as President of Algoma University in Sault Ste Marie. He has established twenty-one President's Scholarships to be awarded to local, First Nations, and international students, and has identified "indigenization, internationalization, inquiry and experiential learning" as key to the future of Algoma curricula.


A defence of notetaking and the traditional lecture; space shortage at NYU leads to use of hotel rooms to house students

The New York Times carries a fascinating article by Molly Worthen of UNC Chapel Hill that defends the traditional lecture course and lauds the notetaking skills that can be developed in it. She argues that faculty should "embrace -- and even advertise -- lecture courses as an exercise in mindfulness and attention building, a mental workout that counteracts the junk food of nonstop social media."

The Times also carries an article on the current housing shortage at New York University in Greenwich Village. At NYU, where students living in residence pay nearly USD $8000 per semester for residence space, an increase in demand has led to a number of students being housed, at least temporarily, in hotel accommodations.


Upcoming dates to remember

21 October Deans' Council
26 October Academic Leadership Group meeting
27 October Hill Business Dinner
28 October Executive of Council
28 October Campus visit of Senator Lillian Dyck
29 October Motion2 Concert
4 November Deans' Council
6 November University Library author event
6 November Community-Based Research Showcase
10 November National Philanthropy Day
18 November Celebrate Event
25 November Executive of Council
1 December Campus Master Plan public forum

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Library acquisitions, part 2, and the future of university libraries

The 29 September edition of the Bulletin (see below) carries a note on how the current exchange rate has affected our Library's purchasing power -- whether for monographs or digital licenses.

Acting University Librarian Colleen Murphy points us to a blog posting that provides information about the effects of the exchange rate on other Canadian university libraries. As the blog's author notes, "a mere one-cent drop in the dollar can result in [a] $100,000 or more drop in what libraries can buy with their budget." The blog posting contains information about effects at Brock (1,363 journals cut), Ryerson, Simon Fraser, Queen's ($2m reduction in acquisitions), Memorial, Ottawa, and Western.

These pressures prompt a broader observation: there can be few spots on Canadian campuses where the digital revolution has wrought more changes than in our libraries.

We still need physical space for students to work, study, and get help from experts to find information and evaluate its worth. But the notion of a library as a physical repository of books and other printed material is changing very quickly. At least in theory, once something is in digital format, it is available anyplace, anytime. Putting up huge buildings to act as physical storehouses is a thing of the past. Some of the major world and university libraries (including the British Library, Yale, Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and the University of Chicago Library -- click here to see a 3 minute video on the latter) have moved to underground storage of hardcopy materials, reserving the "library" proper for people rather than paper.

Our librarians, via bodies like RegLIN (Regina Library Information Network, which includes us, the Legislative Library, Regina Public Library, the RCMP library, Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region library, etc.), the Multitype Library Board, and wider bodies such as COPPUL (the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries) and CARL (Canadian Association of Research Libraries) have been working on solutions for shared off-site storage, and have constructed platforms that allow the sharing of each other's resources. Together they co-ordinate the retention and preservation of hard copy material; they negotiate better prices on digital licenses, and share those licenses. (Some of the recent concern about loss of access to digital materials in the Faculty of Business Administration stems from the Saskatchewan Health Information Resources Program's decision not to renew one of its digital licenses onto which we piggyback.)

Indeed, for the past few years the Library has been setting aside funds for the purchase of a shared provincial academic and special libraries' NextGen library system, which will facilitate our users' access to the holdings of participating libraries throughout Saskatchewan.


Course releases for Indigenization -- deadline extended to Friday 16 October

For the purpose of advancing the Indigenization of our campus in the framework set out in our Strategic Plan, peyak aski kikawinaw, President Timmons will make a teaching release available to each Faculty. The first call went out in September, and we are extending the deadline for applications to Friday 16 October.

Under the need to "embed Indigenous practices, ideas and principles in our academic pursuits," the Plan (page 11) sets out the following:

Indicators of Success:

  • Increased Indigenization in each Faculty and academic unit.
  • Increased resources focused on Indigenization efforts.
  • Increased academic programming partnerships and collaborations with First Nations University of Canada.
  • Increased number of Indigenous learning spaces.

Supporting Actions:

  • Provide workshops and resources for all faculty to build understanding about Indigenizing our teaching.
  • Offer course(s) in each academic program that address Indigenous concepts.
  • Engage with First Nations University of Canada to develop partnerships that clearly articulate ways to take advantage of each other’s academic programming without duplication.
  • Respect and practice traditional ways of knowing in our curricula and pedagogical practice by learning from Elders and local traditional knowledge keepers.
  • Develop Indigenizing teaching spaces where ceremony is both integral and expected.
  • Facilitate Indigenous knowledge and action in support of sustainability across our university.

We now invite applications from each of the Faculties for funding for one course release, preferably to be used in the January 2016 term. Applications should refer specifically to the supporting actions listed above, and address the question of how the course release funding will assist the Faculties in doing these things and advancing the Indigenization goals.

Those faculty members released will participate in a program on advancing academic Indigenization. The program design is based on Indigenous Voices, the program developed at the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness at U of S. The U of R has an agreement with the Gwenna Moss Centre to use this framework in our own faculty development.

This program will be led by the Executive Lead - Indigenization, Dr Shauneen Pete, with support from traditional knowledge keepers and Indigenous scholars.  It is designed to examine personal and professional identities; address colonization and decolonization of higher education; and individual and systemic change. The 20-hour program of study will engage participants in guided discussion about readings and experiences.  They will begin to work with Elders/Traditional Knowledge Keepers. Participants will critically examine a course that they teach; they will explore Indigenous pedagogies and worldviews and consider the role that these will play in course reform.  Participants will be actively involved in questioning, critiquing and discussing proposed course design changes.

Applications from each Faculty will be reviewed by Dr Pete prior to a recommendation to the President for funding.

Applications should be sent to her at shauneen.pete@uregina.ca no later than Friday 16 October.


Academic advising for students at risk: breakfast meeting with academic advisors, URSU executive

On Wednesday 7 October, the Provost's Office is hosting a breakfast meeting with academic advisors and the executive of URSU to gather current thoughts on the best way to assist students who may be struggling in the University environment.

This meeting is the most recent in a series of discussions with academic advisors and others as we move toward fulfilling the commitment made in our current strategic plan, peyak aski kikawinaw,  to increase retention, success, and completion rates of first-year, Aboriginal, and international students. The University will improve supports to students in their first year, and enhance services and academic supports for students in need.

One part of this effort is the advising software noted in the 22 September Deans' Council Bulletin (see below). Another part is provision of more effective supports for the students noted above. The input of the Student Union executive, the academic advisors, and others will permit us to assist students in new ways, and to fulfill the commitments we have made.


Current campus myths -- "union busting"?

CUPE 5791 recently issued a call to members of the campus community not to use Chartwells' Bento Sushi services as part of their "Take union busting off the menu at University of Regina" campaign.

The campaign is based on erroneous premises. There is no intent by Chartwells to "union bust."

For a number of years Chartwells has had a vendor supply relationship with Bento Sushi, and its products have been sold as part of its offerings at the University. The difference is that, to meet customer requests for fresher products, a sushi chef on-site program has recently been added that offers sushi made on-site daily.

No Chartwells employees have been displaced from their employment, nor experienced any loss of work as a result of this innovation. Our catering services continue to be staffed by unionized employees. There is no union "busting," just sushi made fresh at a different location and available for purchase by faculty, staff, and students.


Update: asset management and the appointment of asset managers

At its July meetings the Board approved an updated policy (OPS-010-45) on management of assets.

Revisions to the policy were based on recommendations made by the Provincial Auditor during the Procurement and Disposal Audit that the University requested the Provincial Auditor to undertake.

Deans and Directors are now asked to appoint an asset administrator to manage assets in their respective Faculties and units. This is already being done informally, and therefore simply needs to be formalized.  Financial Services will shortly provide each Dean and Director, together with their Faculty Administrators, with the asset contact person they currently have listed, and will ask for their formal appointment of that person or an alternate.

Asset administrators are involved in the day-to-day management of assets in each Faculty or unit. Among other things, they inform Financial Services of new assets purchased, including their location and barcode. They are often the person who puts items on the SMS salvage list. They also aid Financial Services in the annual asset inventory and in locating missing assets.

Any person in a Faculty or unit may request that Supply Management Services dispose of an asset. When such a request is made, the asset administrator will now need to give Supply Management Services authorization, along with an assurance that the detailed description of the asset is correct. Supply Management Services will then place assets on the monthly salvage posting.

Lastly, in late March or early April, if your area was subject to the annual asset inventory count (only one third of the University is inventoried in a given year), you or your designate will be asked to review and authorize a list of missing assets that will be sent to you by Financial Services.  These are assets that could not be found during the asset count, and could not be found by your asset administrators in the period just after the count.  These missing assets represent assets that did not follow the University’s disposal procedures as set out in the Management of Assets Policy and on the Supply Management Services website, and therefore are breaches of policy.  It is important that you ensure everyone in your faculty understands the Management of Assets Policy and that internal controls over asset disposals are maintained to minimize the number of missing assets.


Where are the jobs? -- eye-opening interactive HEQCO graphic

Across the continent, the decline in humanities and social sciences enrolments continues to cause concern. At the University of Regina, last winter's in-progress report on enrolments showed a 10.87% per cent decline in Arts enrolments from 2011 to the present. That decline mirrors those in universities across Canada and the United States. It stems, in part, from students' and parents' concerns that majors in the humanities and social sciences do not lead to employment after graduation.

A new interactive graphic from HEQCO (the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario) provides data that, to many, are startling, and that confound conventional wisdom.

If we hover over the field of study called "humanities," we learn that nearly 60% of graduates from the humanities find employment in business, finance, administration, management, sales, and service. 10% are employed as teachers and professors.

Similarly, if we hover over the "business" field of study, we find that 63% of graduates are employed in business, finance, administration, and management, with an additional 14%  employed in sales and service.

The story these Ontario data tell us (and we doubt that Saskatchewan data will differ substantially) is that the field of study for a first degree is not determinative, and that humanities students find employment in areas not at all dissimilar to those in which business students do. Employers want employees who are bright, creative, discerning, hardworking, and ethical. Both Arts and Business, we are proud to note, graduate such students.


Open textbooks -- good news on the horizon

Previous editions of this Bulletin (23 June, 24 March, 10 March, 3 February,  25 November 2014) have provided updates on the Open Textbook initiative in the western provinces.

Students face ever-rising costs with textbooks. A $200 textbook (or set of textbooks) increases the cost of a first-year course by nearly 30%. A recent CBC report quotes CFS chair Bilan Arte noting that "[i]t becomes a very grim reality for a lot of young people ... when they find that their textbooks for an entire year can cost about the same as a few classes."

The goal of the Open Textbook initiative is simple: to reduce the cost of postsecondary education by making high-quality free textbooks available, especially for high-enrolment first- and second-year courses. The University of Regina's lead on Open Textbooks is Bruce Walsh, Director and Publisher of the University of Regina Press.

We are happy to invite Bulletin readers to stay tuned for a major announcement showcasing the expertise of U of R faculty and benefiting future U of R students -- as well as students throughout the west. It will be released later this month, and will detail new resources to develop Open Textbooks here. 


Dr Sean Lessard wins national award

Dr Sean Lessard, Assistant Professor in Indigenous Education and Core Studies in the Faculty of Education, has been named the recipient of the Canadian Education Association Pat Clifford Award for Early Career Research.

The University congratulates Dr Lessard on this prestigious national peer recognition. Dr Lessard was nominated for the award by Dean Jennifer Tupper of the Faculty of Education.


Upcoming dates to remember

16 October Senate and Fall Convocation
16 October MacKenzie Art Gallery Gala
21 October Deans' Council
26 October Academic Leadership Group meeting
27 October Hill Business Dinner
28 October Executive of Council
28 October Campus visit of Senator Lillian Dyck
29 October Motion2 Concert
6 November University Library author event
18 November Celebrate Event

Tuesday 29 September 2015

DOME, a new web mark system, to launch 1 November

Registrar James D'Arcy writes: "I am pleased to announce that DOME, a new web mark entry system, will launch on November 1st.  This new system maintains the same functionality as Web Mark Entry but updates the underlying 15-year-old architecture and adds some new features such as the ability to view both the approval routing and current approval stage for each course, download and upload class roster functionality, screen view customization, and new report functionality.

"An all day feedback session for any interested faculty was held in mid June, numerous suggestions were incorporated and then a pilot involving volunteer Instructors, Department Heads and Deans was successfully conducted during the Summer term.  Additional suggestions made during this pilot have also now been implemented.

"Effective November 1st, the current link to Web Mark Entry will re-direct users to the new DOME product.  Any historical grading information currently housed in Web Mark Entry will be viewable from within DOME.

"To assist with the transition, a wide variety of assistance will be provided.  Manuals have been written for Instructors, Department Heads and Deans, training sessions in the TLC will be provided for the weeks leading up to the end of term, numerous TLC drop-in times will be available during the grading period and Denise Seidler, the Registrar's Office web mark entry specialist, who has been involved in the development of this product will be available to provide assistance as needed.

"Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns and I will gladly address them for you.  We look forward to working with your faculty as they transition to this new product."


Funding announcements in Business, Engineering, and Science

Last week saw three major announcements of external funding for University initiatives. In the Faculty of Business Administration, a $375,000 donation from the RBC Foundation will allow the establishment of a Woman Executive in Residence program (details here), while in the Faculty of Science funding in the amount of $1.475 million from the Fedoruk Centre has made possible the appointment of Dr Aram Teymurazyan as the Fedoruk Chair in Nuclear Imaging Technologies (details here). Crescent Point Energy has also donated $100,000 to equip an undergraduate petroleum engineering laboratory (details here).

Thanks go to Crescent Point Energy, the Fedoruk Centre, and the RBC Foundation for their support of teaching, research, and mentorship at the University. Thanks are also due to the many colleagues in Business, Engineering, Science, External Relations, Financial Services, and other units who worked on these projects and helped bring them to fruition.


Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice

The 35th biennial Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice is being held in the city from 30 September to 2 October. It is being presented by the Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA) and the University's Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety (CCJS). Hirsch Greenberg of our Department of Justice Studies serves as President-Elect of the CCJA.

The conference program is available here.


The low Canadian dollar and library acquisitions

Though the University Library's acquisitions budget for 2015-16 is $2.9 million, the current weakness of the Canadian dollar is having a major impact on purchasing. In particular, Library acquisitions, the majority of which are priced in US dollars, are being affected, as are costs for many databases, e-journals, and e-resources that are priced in US dollars.

One academic area that has seen pressure is Business. Sharply rising costs for publications such as the Harvard Business Review and databases such as TSX, ABI/Inform, Compustat, CRSP, and others have strained the acquisitions budget. Kate Cushon, Liaison Librarian, has prepared a presentation for colleagues in Business that will be of interest to others as we develop responses to the exchange rate challenge.


Wireless connectivity on campus

The number of wireless devices being used on campus continues to increase, with some individuals using two or even three devices (smartphone, iPad, laptop) simultaneously. This is affecting access to the network for some individuals. Information Services staff are working on the situation.


Regina City Council votes in favour of U-Pass

Last night City Council voted in favour of the U-Pass. A report on the meeting can be found here.


Upcoming dates to remember

30 September Deans' Council
30 September Opening of Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice
30 September United Way reception
30 September Law Foundation of Saskatchewan Lecture (Scott Decker)
1 October Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards
6 October Minifie Lecture
16 October Senate and Fall Convocation
16 October MacKenzie Art Gallery Gala
28 October Executive of Council
29 October Motion2 concert

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Advising software -- update

Registrar Jim D'Arcy reports that a Request for Proposals for academic advising software has been issued, with selection scheduled for mid-to-late October. The software will greatly increase the University's ability to assist students with academic advising, especially those in transition from Faculty to Faculty and those who require special support. Implementation of the new advising software is planned for a six-month period starting January 2016. Four of the University's academic advisors who were involved in the gathering of proposed requirements, as well as representatives from the federated colleges and Information Services, have been invited to participate in vendor selection.


Indigenization in the context of peyak aski kikawinaw

The President will make a teaching release available to each Faculty for the purpose of advancing the Indigenization of our campus in the framework set out in our Strategic Plan, peyak aski kikawinaw.

On page 11 under the need to "embed Indigenous practices, ideas and principles in our academic pursuits," the plan provides indicators of success and supporting actions:

Indicators of Success:
Increased Indigenization in each Faculty and academic unit.
Increased resources focused on Indigenization efforts.
Increased academic programming partnerships and collaborations with First Nations University of Canada.
Increased number of Indigenous learning spaces.

Supporting Actions:
Provide workshops and resources for all faculty to build understanding about Indigenizing our teaching.
Offer course(s) in each academic program that address Indigenous concepts.
Engage with First Nations University of Canada to develop partnerships that clearly articulate ways to take advantage of each other’s academic programming without duplication.
Respect and practice traditional ways of knowing in our curricula and pedagogical practice by learning from Elders and local traditional knowledge keepers.
Develop Indigenizing teaching spaces where ceremony is both integral and expected.
Facilitate Indigenous knowledge and action in support of sustainability across our university.

Applications have been invited from each of the Faculties for funding for one course release, preferably to be used in the January 2016 term. Those individuals receiving the release will participate in a program on advancing academic Indigenization. The program design is based on the U of S Gwenna Moss program, Indigenous Voices.  The U of R signed an agreement with the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness in 2015 to utilize this framework in our own faculty development. This program will be led by our Executive Lead - Indigenization, Dr Shauneen Pete, with support from traditional knowledge keepers and Indigenous scholars. It is designed to examine personal and professional identities; address colonization and decolonization of higher education; and individual and systemic change. The 20-hour program of study will engage participants in guided discussion about readings and experiences. They will begin to work with Elders/Traditional Knowledge Keepers. Participants will critically examine a course that they teach; they will explore Indigenous pedagogies and worldviews and consider the role that these will play in course reform.  Participants will be actively involved in questioning, critiquing and discussing proposed course design changes.


Fire drills

Readers will have noted recent fire drills in various buildings as our Health, Safety, and Environment unit (HSE) ensures that the campus community is aware of protocols and responsibilities for responding to fire alarms. HSE Director Darren Cherwaty notes that an evening fire drill conducted in the Education Building last week went exceptionally well due to the outstanding efforts of faculty who were teaching in the building that evening. He writes that they "were most helpful in making sure students exited the building and that each floor was clear."

Thanks go out to faculty and staff for ensuring that, in event of a fire alarm, buildings are evacuated as quickly as possible.


University leadership in tough times

The 10 September issue of The New Yorker contains a fascinating piece by Vauhini Vara on university leadership in times of fiscal constraint, campus unrest, and shifting demographics. Referring to the recent controversial selection of a president at the University of Iowa, Vara's article discusses declining public funding (at Iowa since 1989, down 24% as a proportion of the operating budget, while healthcare spending and public-sector pension costs go up inexorably), pressure to constrain tuition increases, dealing with the complications inherent in large shifts in student demographics, and more.

Vara writes that administrators "are faced with a difficult problem: how to keep their budgets balanced as their two main sources of revenue stagnate or shrink." His article is available here.


Upcoming dates to remember

22 September Campus Master Plan Forum
23 September Executive of Council
23 September Chief Perry Bellegarde Lecture
25 September Tipi Raising Competition
25 September Fedoruk Centre announcement
28 September Luther Lecture (Pamela Dickey)
30 September Deans' Council
30 September United Way reception
30 September Law Foundation of Saskatchewan Lecture (Scott Decker)
1 October Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards
6 October Minifie Lecture
16 October Senate and Fall Convocation
16 October MacKenzie Art Gallery Gala

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Residence move-in days

A tremendous amount of hard work on the part of staff in Residence Services (Bettina Welsh, Director of Student Affairs Operations; Donna Braun, Manager of Residence and Conference Services; Laura Sperlie, Assistant Manager; Scot Templeton, Technology Administrator; Residence Life Team members Lindsay Robertson, Ben Gamble, and Residence Assistants and Live-in Co-ordinators; Residence Facilities Team members Bev Dzikowski and Krasimira Zhekova), and Facilities Management (James Westerman, Project Manager), meant that hundreds of residents were able to move into the new Kisik Towers over the weekend. Our thanks go to them, to staff from URSU, the federated colleges, the Bookstore, Food Services, Parking Services, Campus Security, Information Services, External Relations, and Financial Services, and to the members of the University Leadership Team, including Associate Vice-President (Student Affairs) John Smith, who welcomed students and their parents to campus this weekend.


Dean of Fine Arts notes reasons for rising enrolments and credit hours

The Dean of Fine Arts, Professor Rae Staseson, has noted several changes in her Faculty that have helped to reverse several years of declining enrolments and credit hours. Among these changes are:

  • more service courses and online courses in partnership with CCE, including Spring/Summer offerings that meet the needs of artists and professionals
  • Spring/Summer 2015 offerings included Art 100, Music 100, Film 100, offered in part to meet the needs of international students interested in Fine Arts; additional Spring/Summer offerings included second- and third-year face-to-face courses for students wishing to complete a further 3 credit hours before entering the Fall semester
  • more multi-section foundation courses, including several online courses
  • moving to offer (for the first time) studio/practice courses, including Art 220, online

Faculty of Fine Arts enrolments and credit hours have risen substantially this year, as have Fine Arts credit hours at the three federated colleges.


Another challenge facing today's universities -- "mind-coddling"

In the September issue of The Atlantic Monthly, lawyer Greg Lukianoff and psychologist Jonathan Haidt provide a fascinating overview of what they call "vindictive protectiveness," a relatively recent phenomenon on North American campuses. They ask: "What are the effects of this new protectiveness on the students themselves? Does it benefit the people it is supposed to help? What exactly are students learning when they spend four years or more in a community that polices unintentional slights, places warning labels on works of classic literature, and in many other ways conveys the sense that words can be forms of violence that require strict control by campus authories [acting] as both protectors and prosecutors?"

Their article is available here.


Improvements in the University Bookstore

The 24 February 2015 edition of this Bulletin noted improvements underway in the University Bookstore. The following information updates readers on those improvements:

In-store Pickup

The Bookstore is pleased to announce the addition of an In-store Pickup option for students who shop online. They can order textbooks, supplies, clothing, etc. through our expanded E-commerce site. They can place an order online and we will select all the items, bag them and have them waiting for pickup.  For more information: http://www.uregina.ca/student/bookstore/in-store-pickup.html

Price Comparison

The Bookstore offers price comparison between our textbooks and those sold by other major online retailers such as Amazon. Our system compiles prices from other sites and then compares them against the student’s personal book list, taking the work out of the process for students.  This means students get the benefits of making sure they purchase the correct textbook for their classes while getting them at the best rate. 

Textbooks Listed Alphabetically by Author

Textbooks are now organized by author instead of department as this is quickly becoming a best practice within the industry. How will this make purchasing course materials better for students? Improved student experience: Students can go online and view their personalized book list sorted by author that makes finding their books in-store easy and efficient.  Textbooks offered by multiple disciplines or sections will be placed in one location reducing the time needed to hunt for books in other sections if they find their course shelf empty. For example, a textbook used in English may also be used in Theatre and placed in two locations. If the space in English was empty the student would have to check Theatre to find a copy.

These changes will reduce set-up time and the time needed to assist students and their parents with textbook searches. The process of preparing the text area for each term will be much easier and faster. Once the books are shelved they will stay in place; as books are received they can be put into place immediately. Semester preparation will be cut from 5 weeks to 1 week.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

New faculty orientation today

The annual New Faculty Orientation takes place in AH 527 today. Associate Vice-President Dena McMartin has a full agenda planned. We anticipate the participation of more than 30 individuals including colleagues from the federated colleges and faculty who joined us last year but were unable to attend last year's sessions. From 1 July to 1 September this year, the University has made 27 tenure/tenure-track appointments in Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Education, Engineering, English, Geology, History, Justice Studies, Nursing, Physics, Politics and International Studies, Psychology, Math, and Public Policy.


Update on enrolments and credit hours: Fall and Spring/Summer terms

The 19 August registration report shows that teaching activity in the Spring/Summer 2015 term was up over previous years' levels. 6.3% more students enrolled in Spring/Summer courses this year, and took 7.3% more credit hours. These increases follow a multi-year pattern of increasing demand from students for courses in spring and summer (as well as in the evenings, on weekends, and online).

For the Fall 2015 term, as of 27 August Kathleen Sabo, manager of international recruitment and admissions, reports that the University is ahead of last year in the number of new and returning international students. UR International staff have been working hard to ensure that international students are registered in a timely way, and provided with necessary assistance with visas, etc.

Overall, despite declines in the number of local students graduating from high school, registrations and credit hours are both at higher levels than they were at the same time last year. Credit hour increases are particularly notable in Engineering, Fine Arts, Graduate Studies/JSGS, Kinesiology and Health Studies, and Science. At the federated colleges, there are increases in credit hours in Campion Fine Arts, Luther Fine Arts, and in a number of areas at First Nations University.  

These numbers won't "settle" until late September, but at present it is looking as if the University as a whole will meet or exceed its enrolment and teaching credit targets for the Fall 2015 term. Thanks go to all -- Enrolment Services, UR International, Faculty offices, academic advisors, and individual faculty members who called prospective students to encourage them to consider the University of Regina -- who have worked together to achieve these levels.


Master's of Health Administration (MHA) degree program goes from success to success

The MHA program, which launched in September 2013, is targeted at early to mid-career professionals working in the healthcare sector. The program has exceeded its high-end student enrolment projection of 33 students per year for years 1-3. As of 1 September 2015, there are 101 students enrolled in the program, with a number of remaining offers outstanding. It is attracting students far beyond the University’s traditional catchment base. It has had a student from every province and territory in Canada.  An approximate breakdown of the student body by province/territory is as follows: Ontario (35%); Saskatchewan (19%); British Columbia (17%); Alberta (15%); Manitoba (10%), with the remaining students coming from the territories, maritime provinces and Quebec.

The student body includes professionals working in diverse areas of heath care including clinical practice (physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mental health professionals, addictions specialists, social workers and chiropractors, among others), administrative roles (e.g., CEO, Director, Manager) in provincial ministries of health, regional health authorities and private health care organizations, and with research experience. Online courses provide the flexibility these professional students need in order to successfully complete graduate work, while the in-person Residencies provide for important networking, relationship building and experiential learning activities. The participation of current health sector leaders (e.g., from the Ministry of Health, the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and the Saskatoon Health Region) as guest speakers and facilitators at the Residencies gives students the valuable opportunity to learn from their expertise and experience.


Residence Services -- thank you to staff

Over the weekend, Residence Services Staff were in their offices in Kisik Towers, working to ensure that facilities will be ready for residents as they begin to arrive on campus over the next few days. Final numbers of residents are not yet known, but staff are confident that those numbers will exceed business plan projections for the opening year of operation. Thanks to administrators Bettina Welsh, Donna Braun, Laura Sperlie, and all the residence staff, for their hard work and extra hours.


100 ways to Indigenize and decolonize your programs and courses

At last week's ULT Retreat, Executive Lead - Indigenization Shauneen Pete circulated a draft document outlining ways to Indigenize academic programs and courses. These range from the high-level (reviewing the implications of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, for example, and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission) to the specific (participate in Fall CTL workshops on Indigenizing teaching practices). That document is available for consultation here.  


Potential impacts of Chinese economic situation on Western universities

The Times Higher Education Supplement recently carried an article by David Matthews on potential impacts on British universities of the Chinese economic slowdown and currency devaluation. The article points out that, "[i]n addition to currency dangers, a weakening economy, fewer youngsters, and better [Chinese] universities imperil this key source of students."


Update on smart classroom conversions

The 4 November 2014 edition of the Bulletin contained a list of classrooms planned for conversion to “smart classroom” status. The list was developed in consultation with the Registrar’s Office and IS, and includes rooms in high demand or for which frequent smart-cart requests are made by instructors. Working together, Information Services and Facilities Management have completed this work at a total cost of $200,000 for renovations and equipment. This brings us to a total of 50 smart classrooms managed by IS, with schedules managed by the Registrars Office; and 18 smart carts scheduled by AV Services. A complementary project to convert all existing smart classrooms to accommodate newer digital signaling standards (e.g., HDMI video) was recently completed at a budgeted cost of approximately $450,000. The list of recently completed smart classrooms follows:

AH           348                ED           311
CL    431 ED    209
ED    230 ED    612
ED    310 LB    235
ED    312 RC    286

A complete list of smart classrooms can be found here.


Upcoming dates to remember

1 September New Faculty Orientation
2 September Deans' Council
2 September  Council Committee on Academic Mission
4 / 5 September Residence Move-in Days
9 September First Day of Classes in Fall 2015 term
10 / 11 September Board committee meetings
14 / 15 September Board of Governors meetings
16 September ULT meeting at College Avenue
16 September CAC renewal project announcement
16 September Visit of Hunan University president
18 September  Opening celebration for the Shumiatcher Art Collection
23 September  Executive of Council
28 September Luther Lecture (Pamela Dickey)
30 September Deans' Council
1 October  Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Fall registrations

Registrations for Fall 2015 are looking strong at this point. Director of Enrolment Services John Kincaid and his staff note increases from Alberta and British Columbia, with numbers from Ontario and Manitoba holding steady. Overall domestic registrations are currently up approximately 3% over the same point last year, and international registrations remain strong.

As of 4 August, total undergraduate teaching credits were up over the same point a year ago in Education (2.2%), Engineering (8%), Fine Arts (11%), KHS (9.4%), Science (11.6%), and Social Work (0.5%). Luther credit hours were up 9.7%, and FNUniv credit hours up 13.8%. Graduate credit hours were up year over year by 22.7%.

We are still a month away from "settled" registration and credit hour counts for the Fall 2015 semester. Nonethless, registrations are encouraging at this point, especially in the context of changing provincial demographics (see the 2015-16 Budget update page for Saskatchewan high-school leaving population estimates for 2013-2038). Thanks to all who are working to ensure our success -- staff in Enrolment Services, Student Affairs, Faculty offices, the federated colleges, and individual faculty members who are making calls to prospective students and telling them about programs at the University of Regina. Together we are indeed stronger!


New future students website to launch today

Please watch for the announcement today of a new Future Students website and portal. It is the work of a team including Michael Paul (Co-ordinator, Student Marketing and Communications) and Shayla Dietrich (Manager, Student Recruitment and Marketing), with support from Enrolment Services staff and Kim McKechney, Hyder Kazmi, and Therese Stecyk in the University Communications and Marketing office, as well as staff in Information Services.

The site will help students considering the University of Regina get the information they need about our programs more quickly. It also makes it easier and quicker for prospective students to book a tour of campus, see admission requirements, and book an appointment with an enrolment counsellor.

Congratulations to all involved in this effort, which directly supports the University's emphasis on student success.


Dates to remember in August and September

27 and 28 August  University Leadership Team Retreat
1 September  New Faculty Orientation
2 September   Deans' Council
4 and 5 September   Residence Move-in Days
9 September   First Day of Classes in Fall 2015 term
14 and 15 September   Board of Governors meetings


Tuesday 11 August 2015

The changing face of universities -- another snapshot

The Atlantic recently ran a lengthy cover article called "The Upwardly Mobile Barista" that focused on a partnership between Arizona State University and Starbucks. The goal of the partnership: helping those who otherwise would not complete university to do so. Among the means of achieving that goal: a new approach to advising and student support, recognition of prior learning, and financial aid.

Two brief excerpts: "After the financial-aid application, the next odyssey for returning students is the transcript hunt. Many American adults now have transcripts scattered near and far, at the various colleges they have attended over the years. To get credit for their previous courses, students must get their transcripts sent to the new college. But getting those transcripts to a new college’s admissions office can be an epic process—akin to getting doctors’ offices to send medical records."

"[I]t’s getting harder for colleges to neglect their students’ needs. That’s partly because fewer students are enrolling: the economy is improving, and Americans have other options. The dip in demand means recruiting new students can be more expensive for colleges than keeping the ones they already have. Meanwhile, more colleges are facing embarrassing government and media scrutiny over their students’ low graduation rates and high debt loads. For some schools, ensuring that more students stick around is becoming a matter of survival."

The article is available here. Our thanks to Keith Fortowsky for pointing to it.


Academic unit reviews 2015-16

The regular cycle of Academic Unit Reviews (AURs) is being resumed in 2015-16. The following documents are germane:

The timeframe for AURs calls for an initial meeting between administrators of the units concerned in October, and the commencement of work on the self-study the same month. For 2015-16, scheduled units include the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, the Department of Philosophy and Classics, the Department of Physics, the Department of Politics and International Studies, and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Deferrals have been requested for the last two; the schedule will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the Council Committee on Academic Mission.

For 2016-17, the schedule includes the Faculty of Education, the Department of Biology, the Department of Geography, and the Department of Psychology.


Syllabus information on mental health and student safety/emergency preparedness

Material has been circulated to Deans and Directors' offices regarding student mental health assistance, and safety/emergency preparedness. The two handouts are also available here and here. Deans and Directors are asked to ensure that students have this information available to them as part of course syllabus packages.


Session for faculty administrators on 2015-16 budget and 2016-17 Operations Forecast

The fall breakfast meeting of the Faculty and unit Administrators has been scheduled for Tuesday 22 September. On the agenda are (1) 2015-16 budget (2) 2016-17 Operations Forecast (3) print optimization and other sustainability initiatives.


Budget Update page for 2016-17

The Budget Update 2016-17 page has been posted, and is available here. It will be updated regularly with information and documents as they become available, and currently contains links to the 2016-17 Operations Forecast as well as Saskatchewan population projections that show the 20-24 age group declining for approximately the next eight years before beginning to rise again. This projected drop has implications for our enrolment and program planning, as well as for our out-of-province recruitment efforts.


Evacuees in residence: letter of thanks from Minister Moe

President Timmons has received a letter of thanks from Minister Moe regarding the University's work in housing and caring for people displaced from their homes by Northern fires earlier this summer. The Minister said that the University's "generous assistance helped make people as comfortable as possible during a difficult time."

In turn, the University's thanks go out to the many staff in Residence Services, Food Services, Security Services, Kinesiology and Health Studies, First Nations University of Canada, and other parts of campus whose hard work and generous gift of time made evacuees' lives easier at a time of great stress and uncertainty.  

Wednesday 8 July 2015

"A legacy of failure with blame all around" -- Dale Eisler critiques the relationship between government and Aboriginal peoples

In the most recent issue of Policy Magazine, Dale Eisler, Senior Advisor on Government Relations, writes that "public policy has failed not only First Nations and Aboriginal people, but by extension Canadian society at large." He points to a number of indicators -- unemployment and educational outcomes among them -- to argue for immediate attention to recognition of treaty rights, addressing the funding gap, and sustainable economic development for First Nations communities. The first step, he claims, "begins with the admission of past failures."

Eisler's article is available here.


Update on evacuees

Over 140 people evacuated from their homes in the north remain in residence on our campus. As AVP John Smith noted yesterday, Bettina Welsh and her team in Residence Services, together with Kirk Harrison and his staff in Food Services, have arranged for evacuees to be able to stay at least to the end of July, should this be needed.

Renewed thanks to all who are making this possible.


Senior search updates

The Search Advisory Committee for the University Librarian has been formed and will meet later today to begin its work.

The position description for the Dean of Science recruitment has been finalized and is now being advertised widely.

Regular updates on both searches will be posted here.


What does a healthy university community mean? What can it contribute to society?

Spending on health care in Saskatchewan for 2015-16 is budgeted at $5.12 billion. Health care now consumes more than 40% of all provincial government spending. The increase in Saskatchewan's health care spending year over year is $135 million -- substantially more than the entire annual operating grant of the University of Regina.

This raises a number of questions, among them this one: what can universities do to reduce the demand on publicly funded health care?

There are many answers. University-based scientific and medical research holds enormous potential for reducing health care costs and improving health outcomes. University-based social sciences, public policy, and humanities research holds similar potential to address issues such as the social determinants of health, and how best to respond to the needs of a rapidly changing population.

Others are taking it even farther. A recent announcement from UBC Okanagan focuses on a new international charter that, among other things, calls on universities and colleges to "embed health into campus operations, business, academics, and campus culture," and to "lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally."

What might this look like at the University of Regina?


2016-17 Operations Forecast and Budget Updates

Yesterday the Board of Governors reviewed the draft 2016-17 Operations Forecast. Revisions have been made; the final version will be submitted to the Ministry later this week, and then posted to the new 2016-17 Budget Update page. On the Budget Update page readers will note a link to Saskatchewan population projections done by Statistics Canada. Those projections show a drop in the 20-24 year old cohort lasting until 2023 or later. These projections have implications for our enrolment planning, including strategies to increase participation rates and to improve student retention.


How things have changed!

University of Regina 1965
University of Regina 2014
New Residence building April 2015

A story from Communications noted that 5 July marked the 50th anniversary of the first classes taught on the main campus. "400 science and history students," according to the Leader-Post, "picked their way over muddy, still-unfinished roads to become the first to take lectures at the new campus."

Fifty years later, and a greatly expanded campus provides teaching, research, student support, recreation, and living facilities for more than 30 times the original number of students, together with more than 2000 faculty and staff. The photographs here are testimony to the physical changes over that half-century, and a symbol of even greater changes in the composition of the student body, and the nature of the work done on campus.

The latest addition to campus, a residence and daycare facility, is on schedule to open this Fall.

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Colleen Murphy appointed Acting University Librarian

Effective 1 July 2015, Colleen Murphy, currently Associate University Librarian (Academic Liaison and User Services), has been appointed Acting University Librarian. She will hold the position until the appointment of a new University Librarian following a national search.

Murphy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with great distinction from the University of Regina (1980) and a Master of Library Science degree from McGill University (1984). She began her career at the University of Regina Library in 1985 as Fine Arts and Humanities Librarian. She has since held various roles including Head of Collections, Head of Access Services and most recently Associate University Librarian. 

Throughout her career, Colleen has been actively involved in provincial and national professional associations, and is currently on the Executive Council for the Canadian Library Association as well as a member of the Saskatchewan Multitype Library Board. 

 Her interests include the library as place, makerspaces in academic libraries, and investigating opportunities for partnerships and collaborative initiatives across library sectors.

We thank Peter Resch, who has occupied the role of Acting University Librarian for the past few months, for his service in this role. We would also like to welcome back to the University Library Bill Sgrazzutti, who has returned to in-scope duties.

The Search Advisory Committee for a new University Librarian will meet shortly to discuss the position description and next steps in the search process. Target date for appointment is July 2016.


Dr Thomas Bredohl assumes Acting Dean role in Faculty of Arts

Effective 1 July, Dr Thomas Bredohl, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate) of the Faculty of Arts, will assume the role of Acting Dean of Arts during the administrative and research leave of Dean Richard Kleer.

Dr Bredohl joined the University of Regina in 1999 as an assistant professor in the Department of History, where he teaches modern European history. His research is in the area of German political and social history. Among his publications are a book on the Rhenish Centre Party in Wilhelmine Germany, and several articles and two co-edited volumes on the German writer Hans Fallada. Recently his research has focused on the history of Berlin. Dr Bredohl served as Head of the Department of History from 2007 to 2009.  Since 2009 he has been Associate Dean (Research and Graduate) in the Faculty of Arts.

Dr Kleer will resume his role as Dean of Arts on 1 July 2016.


Spending on education in the context of rising costs of health care: a public policy specialist's view

The Globe and Mail recently carried an article entitled "Can Rachel Notley Tame Alberta's Health-care Spending" by Herb Emery, professor of public policy at the University of Calgary.

Emery notes that since 1980 in Alberta, "the amount spent on health has increased from 18% of all provincial revenue to more than 40% .... As a result, we face the prospect of steadily declining investments in education, social services and other spending. Less than 20 years from now, health spending will absorb more than 65% of all government revenue."

Emery argues for "a re-orientation of scarce dollars away from acute care and toward an investment in preventive health care ... [and] health promotion."


Fulbright Canada programs announced

Michèle Phillips, Program Officer for Fulbright Canada, has sent information regarding awards for Canadian academics and students.

Awards for Canadian Scholars

Applicants can apply to the:

Visiting Research Chairs in:

Announcing New Visiting Research Chair in Social Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa :  Apply Today | Read Press Release

Arctic Studies at the University of Washington

Canadian Studies at Kennesaw State University

Canadian Studies at Michigan State University

Canadian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley

Canada-U.S. Relations at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars

Environmental Humanities at the University of California, Irvine

Military Social Work at the University of Southern California

Nanosystems Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles

North American Studies at American University

Policy Studies at the University of Texas at Austin

Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California

Québec Studies at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh

Science at Illinois Institute of Technology

Peace and War Studies at Norwich University

Open Field at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Open Field at Vanderbilt University 

Inquiries: Brad Hector, Program Officer (Scholars), bhector@fulbright.ca 

Core Facts about the awards

  • The Fulbright Canada competition for Canadian scholars is now open, and closes November 15, 2015
  • The competition is for awards taken up September 2016 and/or January 2017


  • Candidates must be Canadian citizens,
  • Hold a Ph.D. or equivalent professional/terminal degree as appropriate. Candidates outside academia (e.g., professionals, artists) with recognized professional standing and substantial professional accomplishments are also eligible
  • Be proficient in English

Awards for Canadian Students

Graduate Students can apply to the:

  •  Traditional Fulbright student awards: US$15,000 for one nine-month academic year. These all-discipline awards can be taken up at any college, university, think tank, or government agency in the United States
  • Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program: Grants allow students to live in the United States for a period of 10 months. The award includes a $400-$600 stipend per month (commensurate with average cost of living in host city, room and board, visa services, health insurance, and a bursary to complete two courses per semester that are most beneficial to the student’s teaching career.

Core Facts about the awards

  • Fulbright Canada competition for Canadian graduate students is now open, and closes on November 15, 2015
  • The competition is for awards taken up for one 9-month academic year starting September 2016


  • Candidates must be Canadian citizens,
  • Be in receipt of a bachelor's degree prior to the proposed start date of the grant

Inquiries: Michelle Emond, Program Officer (Students), memond@fulbright.ca 

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Renewed partnership between Brazilian and Canadian universities

Higher education and research collaboration is a critical part of the Canada-Brazil bilateral relationship, and one that has enjoyed increasing success over the last several years. Here at the University of Regina, we have hosted several dozen Brazilian students under the Science Without Borders program created by the government of Brazil.

A new agreement between Universities Canada and the Association of Brazilian Rectors of State and Municipal Universities (ABRUEM) will enable both associations to promote further student mobility, research collaboration, academic partnerships and internationalization.  ABRUEM is currently leading a delegation of 19 Brazilian university rectors on a cross-country tour of Canadian universities. They will meet with 45 Canadian university leaders in four provinces and 10 cities; the University of Regina will participate in meetings in Calgary later this week.


New research webpage launched

The office of the Vice-President (Research) has launched a new Research homepage. The page features quick access to the Strategic Research Plan, the Research Office, the Council Committee on Research, the quarterly research newsletter, and recent feature stories on research being done at the University of Regina.


Update on decanal searches

The Search Advisory Committee for the Dean of Science has had its initial meeting and is completing work on the position profile, which will be released shortly.

The composition of the Search Advisory Committee for the University Librarian has been determined in consultation with the Library Leadership Team, the Librarians' and Archivists' Council, and Library staff. The SAC will compromise three elected members of the Librarians' and Archivists' Council, an elected or appointed CUPE member from the Library, an elected or appointed APT member from the Library, a member of Deans' Council (Dr Jennifer Tupper, Dean of Education), and an external member (Melissa Bennett, Librarian, Legislature of Saskatchewan). When the membership is fully in place, the SAC will meet to discuss the search and its timelines, and to prepare the position description.

Regular updates on both searches will be available here.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Tomorrow morning: special guest at Deans' Council meeting

Tomorrow morning, the final meeting of Deans' Council for the 2014-15 academic year begins at 8:30 and concludes at 10:00 am. The agenda and supporting materials have been distributed to members.

Special guest at the DC meeting is Anthony Kiendl, recently appointed Executive Director of the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Formerly Director of Visual Arts, Walter Phillips Gallery and the Banff International Curatorial Institute at the Banff Centre, as well as Executive Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Anthony joined the MacKenzie as Executive Director in spring 2014. Dean Rae Staseson will introduce Anthony, who will speak about the longstanding relationship between the University and MacKenzie, and his vision for its future. Further information about Anthony Kiendl is available here.


Tomorrow afternoon at 1:30: special guest Harvey Weingarten of HEQCO addresses Deans' Council and ULT

At 1:30 tomorrow afternoon in AH 527, the president of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, Harvey Weingarten, will address University of Regina administrators.

A psychologist by profession, Dr Weingarten holds a BSc from McGill, and an MS, an MPhil, and a PhD from Yale. He was Professor and Chair of psychology at McMaster before becoming Dean of Science there (1995-96) and then Provost (1996-2001). From 2001 to 2009 he was president of the University of Calgary. He has been president and CEO of HEQCO since July 2010.

Dr Weingarten will be addressing several topics including HEQCO's 2015 study of postsecondary institutions' performance. This study characterizes Saskatchewan's universities' performance as "relatively low and ... delivered at a high cost per student." The data used in the HEQCO study conflates operating dollars per student at the U of R with the U of S. The study also characterizes Saskatchewan universities, despite having a "low" student-to-faculty ratio, as being "below average on access and on value to students" (27).

The session will wrap up at approximately 3 pm.


U of S interim president and board chair speak to the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Gordon Barnhart and Blaine Favel published a 12 June op-ed in the StarPhoenix responding to the recent report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. They "undertake to educate all students about the history and legacy of residential schools ... [and] commit to enhancing, preserving and promoting Indigenous languages." They note that "there is a great deal more we can do to make the U of S a welcoming place" for Aboriginal students, and commit to increasing the "visibility of Aboriginal culture and symbols on campus."


BC Open Textbook summit draws record numbers

The movement toward open education resources is gaining momentum on a number of fronts, including open textbooks. Via BCcampus, more than 90 open textbooks -- free, peer-reviewed, and in many cases written or adapted by Canadian faculty members for a Canadian audience -- are available to faculty and students.

175 people participated in the May Open Textbook Summit in Vancouver. Video and slides from the presentations are available online.


Preparation of 2016-17 Operations Forecast

Work is well advanced on the 2016-17 Operations Forecast, which will be reviewed and approved by the Board of Governors at its 6-7 July meeting. Deans have been asked for their input on a draft, as has the Council Committee on Budget. Ministry guidelines for the Operations Forecast dated 21 April require "budget planning information for the next three fiscal years" including the increase in the grant that would be required to maintain current operations, as well as the implications of a 0% grant increase for the next three years, assuming annual tuition increases similar to that applied in 2015-16.

Completion of the 2016-17 Operations Forecast is scheduled for 22 June.


Attracting older students to return to university -- can a 9 to 5 institution meet the needs of a 24/7 world?

Dr Harvey King, Director of CCE, recently attended a meeting of the Canadian Association of University Continuing Education, where a presentation was made on the SFU NOW program. The program is aimed at older students working 30 or more hours a week, including those doing shift work and multiple part-time jobs. Their academic backgrounds include partial credentials, international degrees, non-transferable college credentials, or no previous college or university study.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Convocation and Senate

Thanks to Deans, Directors, and their staff for your roles in a very successful Spring 2015 Convocation, the largest in the history of the University. Particular congratulations to Dean Gregory and his colleagues on the graduation of their first full class in Nursing.

For a snapshot of how our provincial "reach" is growing, see "Class of 2015 at U of R Includes 27 NW Residents" in The Battlefords News-Optimist, available here .

The Spring meeting of Senate was also notable for several motions, including those recommending to the Board the formation of la Cité francophone universitaire, and the renaming of the Faculty of Fine Arts as the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance.

The agenda for this meeting, which includes the Annual Enrolment Report, is available here.   Senate also had a presentation on the operating grant, patterns of enrolment in recent years, and their implications for academic planning. That presentation is available here.


Academic advising

The Provost met yesterday with academic advisors from various parts of campus to continue the discussion on academic advising and its relation to the Strategic Plan pillar of student success. The discussion was productive, and focused on elements in the advisors' 8 May paper available here and the 24 April proposal from the AVP Student Affairs available here.

Dr Darlene Juschka, a faculty member in Arts, has also kindly supplied a link to a 2010 study done by the University of Saskatchewan.

Further discussions on academic advising will take place in June, including another session with the advisors and at Deans' Council.


2016-17 Operations Forecast

Drafting of the 2016-17 Operations Forecast is well under way. Deans and Directors have been asked for their input, as has the Council Committee on Budget. The final version of the document will go to the Board of Governors for approval on 6-7 July, and will be sent to the Ministry on 10 July.


Wednesday 17 June: Deans' Council and Harvey Weingarten presentation

Next Wednesday, 17 June, will see the final 2014-15 meeting of Deans' Council. The meeting begins at 8:30 and ends at 10:00 am.

At 1:30 that afternoon, Harvey Weingarten of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario will present to the Deans and Directors on HEQCO's recent research, including interprovincial comparators of university funding. The session will conclude at 3 pm.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Consultations continue on student advising

At this afternoon's meeting of Executive of Council, consultations will continue on the best way forward for undergraduate student advising, especially that directed at supporting students who are undecided or struggling. Materials for that meeting may be found here on pages 22-28. Input from the University's Academic Advisors' group (URAAP) may be found here. Input from the University of Regina Students' Union suggests that a blended model similar to that currently under discussion is, in their view, worth careful consideration. Correspondence has also been received from individual students who make clear their wish not to lose valued contact with individual advisors in their Faculties, and urging caution and consultation before changes are made.

A third meeting with URAAP members is scheduled for early June.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Spring/summer enrolments up; early Fall 2015 numbers encouraging

Enrolments in the 2015 spring and summer sessions are, as of the first day of classes, up approximately 5.7%. Thanks to all people working in various offices -- Enrolment Services, Registrar, Student Affairs, CCE and Faculty offices, department offices, and elsewhere -- who have helped to counsel and register these students. The continuing rise in spring/summer enrolments mirrors that in evening, weekend, and online courses, and is further evidence of shifting patterns of student demand.

Though it remains early in the registration period for Fall 2015 classes, registration numbers to date are encouraging. As of yesterday, Monday 11 May, new student registrations for Fall 2015 courses are up 33% from the comparable date last year and registration for the overall university system is up 3%.  Again, thanks to all those working hard across the institution to ensure that prospective students' needs are met during the registration process.


Budget letter, video, and slide presentation available; preparations for 2016-17 operations forecast now under way

The 2015-16 Budget Letter has been posted here. The slides and video from last Wednesday's open house and forum are now available from the Budget Update page.

Government has requested the 2016-17 Operations Forecast earlier this year than usual, and has directed that several financial scenarios (status quo; 0% on grant) be developed for 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19, all as part of the 2016-17 document. Work has begun so that the final version is ready for Board approval in early July.


Print optimization -- corrected figures

Ray Konecsni has provided updated figures for our Print Optimization initiative.

  • Total savings from from Phase 1 (2010 -  2015) - $1.4 million
  • Continued savings from first 5-year reduction (applied to the next 5 years) - $1.4 million
  • Additional potential savings if we achieve our target device count in Phase 2 - $1.3 million

Total potential savings from Print Optimization Phases 1 and 2, if fully implemented, will be $4.1 million.


Reaching out to prospective students

Dr Mark Brigham in Biology has for years gone to great lengths to reach out to the community, and particularly to youngsters fascinated by bats. A report on his latest effort can be found here. There's a very good chance that, because of Mark's efforts, some of the youngsters in the photo that illustrates that posting (look at the fascination on their faces) will be studying at the University of Regina ten years from now.


What are today's students like, and what are they thinking?

The Huffington Post carries a fascinating article on the current generation of students. Though American in focus, it paints a picture not entirely unfamiliar to us in Canada. According to UCLA studies, students are less religious; more stressed; more diverse; paying far, far more for textbooks; not interested any longer in debating gay marriage or global warming; and still convinced that, despite everything, university is worth it.


Employee relations -- updated contact list

is an updated list of HR Faculty and unit contacts for readers' reference.