Dare to Discover the
The Contribution of the Faculty of Arts
University of Alberta’s Academic Plan
2007 - 2011
May 16, 2006
To: Dr. Carl G. Amrhein
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
Dr. R. Gary Kachanoski
From: Daniel Woolf
Dean of Arts
Re: Faculty of Arts Academic Plan Submission
I am very pleased to present to you the Faculty of Arts’ statement of our
anticipated contributions to the Academic Plan.
The Faculty welcomes the Academic Plan process because it resonates so
sympathetically with our own Faculty Mission Statement. Pursuing our vision in the
context of Dare to Discover, the Faculty of Arts will contribute to the implementation of
the Academic Plan by
• enhancing the intellectual and personal experiences of our undergraduate students
through priorities that serve all students, such as discovery learning and smaller
class sizes, and by providing particular opportunities that address the needs and
learning styles of smaller groups of undergraduate students, such as Community
Service-Learning, first-year cohorts and cooperative learning programs;
• expanding graduate recruitment and enriching the graduate education we provide;
• supporting our students and colleagues in their efforts to make original
contributions to knowledge in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts;
• attracting and retaining the very best academic colleagues and support staff. To
implement our plans we must expand our staff complement by 85 faculty
members and 44 administrative and support staff;
• engaging even more actively than at present in the scholarship and service that
connect us with our local, regional, national and global communities;
• placing the fine arts, social sciences and humanities at the centre of the
University’s mission of scholarship and service to society.
Our submission speaks directly to the holistic character of our activities and of our
planning for them. Each element supports others, and does so in ways that Dare to
Discover identifies. For example, attracting the strongest students enriches the
experiences of everyone in the Faculty by enhancing the level of the dialogue in the
classroom and studio, by facilitating discovery-based learning, by bringing
undergraduates into contact with excellent teaching assistants and by providing
researchers with the support of bright and vigorously engaged research assistants.
Similarly, recruiting and retaining outstanding academic staff will produce diverse,
innovative and active forms of learning for undergraduates, and exemplary role models
for and increased capacity to teach graduate students. High-quality faculty recruitment
will increase research funding. This funding will both produce new discoveries and
support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as they experience research at the
highest levels. It will also strengthen the Faculty’s and the University’s international
connections. This statement will elaborate on this theme of interconnectedness as it sets
out our planning for the two scenarios that you asked us to describe.
It will also share with you a sample of the exciting diversity of activities under way
and anticipated in our Faculty. These of course include an enormous ongoing program of
teaching, discovery and citizenship. These activities pursue the goals of Dare to
Discover, but we cannot exhaustively catalogue them without transforming this statement
into an annual report. Instead, acknowledging the extraordinary investment of themselves
that our colleagues make in performing the core functions of the Faculty, we will focus
on the breadth, energy and imagination of our units’ plans for improving their current
activities and for innovations in the near future.
Scenario One: Current or Realigned Resources
We believe that our Faculty’s and our colleagues’ plans assuming existing
resources, described in Scenario One, are particularly impressive in view of the sparse
resources that will support them. We must emphasize that implementing these plans will
tax our financial and human resources to the limit. To be clear, our current resource
levels seriously constrain the ability of our support staff and academic colleagues to
pursue their, our and the University’s aspirations. Within these constraints, we will do our
• enhance the experience of our undergraduate students, assisting them to achieve
intellectual and personal growth,
• strengthen our graduate programs,
• attract and retain world-class colleagues, and
• place the fine arts, social sciences and humanities at the centre of the University’s
mission of scholarship and service to society.
Particularly in selected departments, we are enthusiastic about changing the mix of
graduate and undergraduate students. However, under this scenario, two fundamental
constraints limit our ability to significantly increase graduate student numbers while also
maintaining the quality of our graduate student intake and our graduate programs. The
most serious limiting factor is the insufficiency of assistantships and, in particular, entry
scholarships available to recruit the best graduate students. Many come, attracted by the
quality of our programs. However, many others accept offers from other universities that
are several thousands of dollars higher than what we are able to offer. The second factor,
in some of our programs, is the lack of faculty members to supervise additional graduate
Arts will continue to do its utmost
to attract the most able academic staff,
both tenure-track colleagues and
sessional instructors. Regarding the
latter, the Faculty will implement its
program for hiring Faculty Lecturers,
which will increase the security of
employment and offer more room for
salary augmentation than is available at
present on a sessional basis.
Arts will continue to invest heavily
in operating an FEC process that both
rewards equitably and responds to
changes in the University’s and
Faculty’s goals, in particular regarding
the undergraduate experience and
citizenship and service. We believe that
the fairness, collegiality and
transparency of our FEC process
contribute very significantly to the goal
of retaining quality academic staff.
We have recently created the position of international student advisor who will
increase the number of international students in Arts, and lead the process by which the
Faculty improves the services it provides to meet their particular needs and makes them
feel welcome and supported in the Faculty.
We will implement the recommendations of a review of our Undergraduate Student
Services unit currently under way. This review is part of our ongoing efforts to achieve
the mission of USS to provide accurate, timely and personal assistance to students so that
they feel that they have received fair and helpful evaluation and service from well-
informed staff who value them as individuals, indeed, as talented people.
Arts will invest in additional support staff to improve the level and timeliness of
support to our teaching and research functions and to reduce the level of stress on our
support staff in order to pursue the aspiration under “Talented People” of “retaining the
best staff…within a healthy…workplace.”
Learning, Discovery and Citizenship
• Discovery learning
• Community service-learning
• Additional course-based community engagement
• First-year cohorts
• Cooperative learning
• Curriculum review and innovation
• Integrating teaching and research
• Implementing the recommendations of the Writing Task Force
• Fostering citizenship
• Professional development for graduate students
• Organizing for research success and impact
• Application of information technology to learning and discovery
• International experiences for students
• International research connections
Within current or realigned resources, the Faculty will:
Vigorously pursue the professional development among our instructors and the
curricular change that will enable our students to benefit from courses organized on the
basis of “discovery learning.” We believe firmly in the benefits to be gained from such
“problem-based learning” courses—the development of critical reasoning skills; exposure
to and active experience in the research process; the cultivation of teamwork skills;
affording scope for diverse patterns of student learning and the provision of opportunities
for active learning.
Increase the scale of its Community Service-Learning Program and the breadth of the
program’s connections with the volunteer and not for profit sector in the Edmonton
region, and offer its experience as a resource for other faculties wishing to develop or
expand their own community service-learning activities.
Continue to offer courses outside the CSL program that involve a community
engagement component or provide important learning opportunities that relate to the
development of citizenship. These courses both prepare students for leadership roles and
improve their critical readings skills and civic and public policy awareness thus helping
build the informed electorate and engaged citizenry upon which the success of our
Launch a program of first-year cohorts, or “learning communities”, designed to
reduce feelings of isolation among students in their first year, to enable them to engage
meaningfully with instructors, and to expose them to the world of interdisciplinary
scholarship. We hope that our cohorts will, at minimum, improve student retention rates,
and ideally will launch our students on the exceptional university experience that Dare to
Discover aspires that we will provide.
Continue to expand the program of cooperative learning opportunities available to our
students. Departments such as Psychology and, through its Criminology program,
Sociology, have for many years provided job placements that afford active learning
opportunities for many students. In 2006/07, Arts will take new initiatives in the area of
cooperative learning. Under Scenario One during the Academic Plan, we will take these
initiatives as far as we can with existing resources. However, we are aware of the
substantial investment that must be made in this type of programming if it is really to
accomplish the goals of Dare to Discover. It will only be in Scenario Two that we will be
able to gain the full benefit of this pedagogy.
Maintain our ongoing process of curricular review and innovation at both the
undergraduate and the graduate levels. New learning opportunities that we have already
identified include an interdisciplinary BA (Environmental Studies) in collaboration with
the Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics, undergraduate certificates in
Peace and Post-Conflict Studies and Community Service-Learning, and an
interdisciplinary PhD in Religious Studies. Work proceeds on a number of other low-cost
initiatives such as a certificate in Public Policy and Ethics, led by the Department of
Economics, and a certificate in archeology involving an interdisciplinary collaboration
between History and Classics, and Anthropology.
Integrate teaching and research through such initiatives as the Roger S. Smith
Undergraduate Student Researcher Award program, field schools, playwright in
residence and writer in residence programs, the cooperative programs described above,
and linking courses in Music to the resources available through the FolkwaysAlive!
Begin to implement, within our available resources, the recommendations of the
Writing Task Force.
Prepare students for leadership roles in the community through a CSL-initiated and
delivered Non-Profit Board Internship Program involving a series of workshops and a
year’s service on the board of a non-profit organization, developed in cooperation with
Career and Placement Services and the Alumni Association.
Support the Arts Students Association and, through it, encourage the development
and continuity of departmental undergraduate student associations, in order to promote
student engagement and foster active citizenship.
Increase the participation of graduate students in the University Teaching Program, in
the numerous student journals currently operating in the Faculty, in graduate student and
other research conferences, and in other activities, such as professional development
programs and GTA mentoring within departments, that prepare them for the professional
careers to which their studies are intended to lead.
Assist our researchers to organize themselves in informal networks, research interest
groups and, where justified by the scale and character of their anticipated activities, GFC-
approved research centres and institutes. Recent proposals for interdisciplinary topics of
research have included energy and resources, material culture, colonization and
transnational histories, cultural studies, musicology and Women’s Studies, and the
integration of science, technology and personal agency. Supporting structures to facilitate
research into such topics, when these structures rest on proven and substantial bases of
faculty expertise and interest, contributes to world-class interdisciplinary scholarship;
provides opportunities for students to experience directly and to share in the research
enterprise; breaks down the barriers to Faculty unity and cross-fertilization that the
departmental organization of the Faculty inevitably poses; and contributes to the retention
of our valued faculty members.
Continue to pursue scholarship at the working face of technological innovation
throughout the faculty and most particularly through our Humanities Computing program
and through the contributions of the Arts Resource Centre to technologically enhanced
learning and discovery.
Engage members of the Faculty in discussing ways to support and recognize research
on the basis of its impact and quality more than its quantity. This focus will increasingly
inform the assessment of performance that underpins FEC’s decisions involving annual
evaluation, tenure and promotion to the rank of full professor, and also decisions
concerning the allocation of research funds that are distributed by the Faculty.
Maintain active programs within the Faculty for recognizing excellence in research
and teaching and support the preparation of nominations for awards outside the Faculty.
This year, for the first time, the Faculty has begun supporting such nominations
Promote a global perspective among our students by maintaining our school at
Cortona, Italy; developing similar programming in China; welcoming students from the
China Foreign Affairs University whom we will be teaching as a result of our recent
MOU with that university; and of course offering literally hundreds of courses involving
almost all of our units that expose our students to the cultures and circumstances of
countries and peoples beyond the borders of Canada. A sense of the richness of this
teaching, and of the global connectedness of our units can be appreciated by the
following examples of current and planned activities:
- developing existing relationships with foreign universities such as Art and
Design’s linkages with Germany, the U.S. , Britain, Japan and Thailand;
Drama’s exchange program with Ludwig Maximilians University; Women’s
Studies’ connection with the University of the West Indies and the many
connections of Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies and Modern
Languages and Cultural Studies, by virtue of the international character of their
learning and discovery.
- Political Science anticipates expanding its area studies by expanding its capacity
to study and teach about the Indian sub-continent and the European Union.
- Religious Studies will broaden the span of its study of world religions.
- Scholars, particularly those associated with our Middle Eastern and African
Studies program, will continue to work with Alberta International and
colleagues in other faculties to develop programs of learning, discovery and
service involving Africa.
Most of our departments vigorously engage with the community, serve a wide
array of its needs, and build support for the University through these activities. They will
continue to be so with the existing levels of funding anticipated in Scenario One.
The value of
their contributions to
our society is
such as philosophers’
cafes and the publishing
activities of the
Parkland Institute, the
Institute for Public
Economics and soon the
Institute for United
States Policy Studies
encourage our fellow
Albertans to live more
reflective lives, hence
to be better citizens and
to more closely approach the ideal of the good life. The Faculty of Arts is a source of
policy-related expertise that contributes significantly to society by providing advice to
decision makers and informed comment to the reading, listening and viewing public.
Offerings by our Fine Arts, English and Film Studies, Music and other departments and
community-based projects, such as Drama’s GeriActors, create valuable aesthetic
opportunities in the Edmonton area, promote wellness in the community, and prepare
graduates who make careers of enriching our civic cultural life. Indeed much the artistic
vitality of Edmonton and Alberta is a direct result of the training and encouragement that
our Fine Arts departments have given to their students over the decades.
Our engagement reaches out to the diversity of our external communities. For
example, research projects in Linguistics work with Aboriginal communities to develop
materials to foster the revitalization of First Nations languages, and its annual offering of
the Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute furthers that
objective. The Population Research Laboratory in the Department of Sociology has, over
the years, conducted a number of studies with northern Aboriginal groups as well as with
other rural groups from central and southern Alberta, and the Faculty’s current
Community-University Research Alliance is developing, adapting and evaluating
sexuality education programs for and with rural and Aboriginal communities. Our
Department of East Asian Studies provides workshops for Japanese and for Mandarin
language high school teachers. Our language and culture specialists serve the different
ethnic communities found in Edmonton and northern Alberta through a rich network of
relationships involving such programs as the Faculty of Arts Certificate in Translation
Studies, housed in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies.
We hope to strengthen our linkages with the health care sector as we work to
implement our commitment to bring the insights of our disciplines to bear on questions of
health and wellness, and to build our interdisciplinary connections with the Health
Our CSL program serves our community, not only by providing our community
partners with intellectually and practically engaged volunteer students, but also by
developing the ability of our partners, and the communities with which they work, to
benefit from relationships with the University. We will maintain and, within our
resources, strengthen CSL, but note that it will need to find core funding once its external
funding expires in 2010.
Organization and Support
Continue our vigorous pursuit of external funding from both donors and research
In addition to investing in additional support staff in Scenario One, Arts will redefine
administrative positions within it as responsibilities change or as they become vacant in
order to increase the level of professional skills and service associated with them.
Arts will strengthen our new Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, which has proven
highly effective and efficient in supporting our interdisciplinary teaching programs, as
these programs grow and as new interdisciplinary programs are launched.
2) Balance of students by learner type
In 2004/05, 5956 undergraduate students, and 837 graduate students registered in
the Faculty of Arts. In addition, we taught 30,500 course registrations to students from
other faculties. In the first scenario, we anticipate that our undergraduate student numbers
will remain relatively unchanged. Particularly as our numbers of graduate students have
risen significantly in recent years without our teaching resources having increased
commensurately, we anticipate that our graduate student numbers will rise only modestly
under Scenario One. We also anticipate that much of this increase will result from
specific developments in particular units, such as the anticipated PhD in Religious
In 2005/06, the Faculty hosts 21 postdoctoral fellows; we hope over the next five
years to increase this number to around 30.
3) Changes to staffing complement
In 2004/05, the Faculty possessed 332 academic staff positions, including
vacancies, as well as three FSOs, 22 APO positions and 125 support staff positions.
Arts invests a great deal of effort and care in order to assure the best possible
alignment of its academic staff to evolving patterns of student interest in particular topics
and of growth and change in scholarship in the many disciplines within the Faculty. In
2004, the Faculty conducted its first position allocation exercise. The Faculty invited
departments and interdisciplinary programs to submit position dossiers demonstrating
their priority needs for hirings in particular areas of scholarship. The Faculty evaluated
these dossiers against a variety of unit-focused and Faculty-wide criteria and allocated
existing and anticipated vacancies to the areas where they would best advance the
mission of the unit and Faculty. As this approach provides for a systematic assessment of
priorities and comparison among a considerable number of cases, the allocation that
results fits our needs far better than would a practice of responding to the departure of
individual faculty members in the absence of any larger context. The Faculty will repeat
this process in the Spring of 2006, again assuring that, within our existing resources, we
realign our academic staffing so that it best meets our teaching and research needs.
Support staffing levels have remained static in recent years during which the
number of students, the scale of funded research, and the number and complexity of
administrative tasks have all increased significantly in the Faculty. As noted above, the
Faculty will, within existing resources, respond to the demands created by these changed
circumstances by increasing the number of its support staff. Under Scenario One, we
anticipate hiring 12 additional support staff during the period of the Academic Plan.
Scenario Number Two: New Resources
Scenario Two identifies opportunities for substantially expanding the innovations
identified in Scenario One, improving our ongoing activities and pursuing additional
programming that will only be possible with the provision of new resources. Our key
initiatives focus on:
• improving undergraduate education in ways that serve all students, such as
discovery learning and smaller class sizes,
• providing particular opportunities that address the needs and learning styles
of smaller groups of undergraduate students, such as Community Service-
Learning, cohorts and cooperative learning programs.
• expanding and improving graduate education
• engage even more actively in our scholarship and service with our local,
regional, national and global communities
• expanding our staff complement by 85 faculty members and 44
administrative and support staff (the 12 committed in Scenario One plus 32
In planning for an environment of increase funding, the first question we sought to
answer was the scale of the new resources for which we ought to plan. Our answer was to
limit our spending to what appeared to us to be practical within the 2007-2011 time
frame, given the lead times necessary to actually plan for and implement spending in a
university setting. Thus the plans that follow are intended to respect the time frame of the
Academic Plan and the limits of the feasible. Having noted this, we must emphasize that
the contribution of our Faculty will be essential to the achievement of the goals of our
next Academic Plan. The success of our contribution will depend on a very major
investment of university resources, particularly to graduate students and to increase the
staff complement to the level needed to achieve the potential of our plans.
Our colleagues in Arts are vigorously
engaged in redesigning curricula, and
implementing new approaches to teaching and
learning. They look forward with enthusiasm
to advancing most of their current research
programs, and to pursuing the new research
directions that will enable the Faculty to
address the most salient emerging issues and
trends in the humanities, social sciences, and
The single most important initiative that we can undertake to enable them to realize
these ambitions and, with them, the ambition of the University of Alberta to be among
the top 20 universities in the world by 2020 is to build on the excellence of our current
academic-staff complement through a process of hiring that will transform the Faculty.
To determine our needs for additional tenure track positions, we asked our academic
units to identify the positions that they believe they need to fill in order to make their
contributions to the attainment of the aspirations set out in Dare to Discover. We have
reviewed their submissions and concluded that the filling of 85 new faculty positions
between 2007 and 2011 will enable the Faculty to play the leadership role within the
University, nationally and internationally of which it is capable and to which it aspires.
For clarity, we anticipate that the departures from the Faculty for various reasons of a
number of academic colleagues will create additional vacancies to be filled; these hirings
are not included in the number identified above. We appreciate that 85 new positions is a
considerably larger number than the approximately 60 that our General Space Program
anticipates. We are comfortable with this difference for two reasons. The first is that the
GSP reflected a more conservative set of financial assumptions than does Scenario Two.
Second, the Academic Plan period extends an additional year beyond the time frame of
the GSP, accommodating more new positions than the GSP contemplates.
The increased number of graduate students anticipated under Scenario Two will
require our graduate supervision capacity to rise more quickly than will be possible if the
vast majority of our hiring is done at the assistant professor rank. This consideration and
the need for more mid-career colleagues to take on significant administrative roles argue
in favour of the Faculty receiving the resources needed to fill more vacancies at the
associate professor rank than we are currently able to.
Arts stands ready to help the University pursue its aspiration to achieve the “mix of
graduate and undergraduate students typical of leading public research universities.”
Many of our units anticipate attracting increased numbers of graduate students through
expanding their existing programs and as they implement new graduate degree programs.
Examples include our Economics and Philosophy departments, which have expressed
their wish to expand their graduate student numbers by 25% each. We anticipate that
these larger graduate programs will enrich our undergraduate programs by enabling them
to expand the aspects of their course delivery that require the services of trained graduate
Expanding our graduate program will be costly. It intensifies our need, identified
above, to hire more tenure-track professors. In addition, expanded graduate programs will
require substantial investment in fellowships and assistantships, both per capita and
overall, at least to maintain and ideally to improve the quality of incoming students we
recruit. We have found in recent years that, while excellent students join us for the
learning opportunities we offer, others are bid away by universities that offer higher
scholarship levels than we can afford. We must increase our graduate student funding in
the following ways to make it likelier that our expanded graduate student numbers will
include these excellent students who are currently opting for other universities:
• The value of individual fellowships and assistantships must increase.
• The number of graduate awards must also increase.
• Ideally all PhD students should be offered fellowships, rather than
assistantships, for at least the first year of their program.
• Funding should be extended beyond the current practise of providing support
for the first four years of PhD programs to encompass a fifth year of support,
given current completion times. Fifth year funding will reduce completion
times by permitting students to work full time on their studies, in contrast to
the current situation in which they must seek paid employment, which
reduces the time available for them to complete their programs.
• In order to achieve our international aspirations we must in particular increase
our funding of scholarships for which foreign graduate students are eligible.
The fact that these students are not eligible for many major external
scholarships means that we must make up the shortfall so that these students
can share their diverse insights with both their fellow graduate students and
the undergraduates with whom they will interact as teaching assistants.
In order to extend opportunities to a broader set of prospective graduate students, and
in particular international students, than at present, we require funding to redress the
current lack of financial support for students who wish to undertake an M A based on a
major paper rather than a thesis. These M A programs are rigorous, research-based
programs that provide an excellent educational experience and lead to rewarding
employment; we should promote them at least to the extent of attaching equal scholarship
and assistantship opportunities to them as are enjoyed by students in thesis programs.
We intend to recruit more postdoctoral fellows, a goal that will require funding to
recruit and support them. In particular we need resources to cover the costs of their
benefits, which our colleagues cannot fund from their grants because PDFs in our
disciplines only very rarely work in support of their mentors’ research programs, hence
cannot be funded from the grants that they receive. To require our colleagues to pay
benefits for PDFs who do not contribute to our colleagues’ projects is to powerfully
discourage them from attracting and hosting PDFs. We need funds to end this systemic
Our plans under Scenario Two will increase the scale of our graduate programs, our
use of information technologies in our teaching and research, and the burden of the
financial and administrative management of our expanded research activities. To support
properly these and other administrative needs, Arts requires an additional 32
administrative and support staff positions in addition to the 12 which we will create under
Scenario One. We will also encourage our departments to increase and to publicize the
development and training opportunities available to our administrative and support staff.
This will contribute to the personal development of our staff and the advancement of their
We will work toward delivery of University of Alberta B.A. programming at several
post-secondary institutions in the province. These extensions of access in Alberta to the
University of Alberta experience can only be accomplished if we receive funding from
the provincial ACCESS program or another source.
Learning, Discovery and Citizenship
• Extending the benefits of curriculum innovation to more students
• Reducing class sizes and reconfiguring some larger classes
• New degree programs
• Strengthening graduate course offerings
• Promoting interdisciplinary teaching and research
We anticipate that additional funding will enable us to refine and to expand the
curricular innovations that we intend to implement in pursuit of an enriched
undergraduate experience for our students. In the current or realigned resources scenario,
the numbers of students to whom we can make available cohort, community service-
learning, cooperative study and discovery learning opportunities will be significantly
limited. Additional resources will enable us to approach our goal of providing these
experiences to all of our undergraduates who seek them. More funding will also permit us
to offer additional innovative experiences, such as the Human Capital Development
Project through which the Department of Arts and Design hopes to provide citizenship
and service opportunities to students.
The above opportunities will serve particular groups of students. Additional resources
will also enable us to improve the undergraduate learning experience for all students in
Arts. For example, additional funding will enable us to increase the diversity of courses
available to our undergraduates, and the number of sections that we offer of courses that
are at present so heavily subscribed that some students cannot register for them.
Improving access to courses will assist students from our Faculty and many others to
pursue the learning that best addresses their personal interests and career goals.
One change in the Faculty’s teaching program that will improve the learning
experiences of all of our undergraduates will be to reduce class sizes. The Academic Plan
must enable us to do so. More intimate classes, whether taught by our exemplary limited-
term instructors or by tenured and tenure-track faculty members, foster the more active
learning that Dare to Discover identifies as the model for the future, and that Arts has
been working to bring into the classroom. Smaller classes enable instructors to provide
more guidance to students, more substantial feedback to students on the work that they
submit and more meaningful engagement in the classroom. We believe that these benefits
will help us as we pursue our goal of better rates of retention for our junior undergraduate
students. Smaller classes will also be essential for the implementation of what we
anticipate will be the extremely important recommendations of the Writing Task Force.
These are not yet available, but will certainly involve more intensive writing instruction
than students currently receive. Such instruction (and for that matter, an enhanced focus
on critical reading) can only be carried out with classes of smaller size than are currently
offered, particularly in the first two years of students’ programs.
When these courses are taught by permanent faculty members the students benefit
from the wealth of their instructors’ years of experience in the University setting, their
instructors’ particular ability to integrate their research programs into their teaching; the
special authority that letters of reference based on student performance in courses carry
when these letters are written by senior scholars, and the sense that the University values
them by assigning its most senior staff to teach them. Increased numbers of tenure-track
and tenured faculty will enable us to bring these benefits to the very large numbers of
students whom we teach, students in Arts and service students from across campus.
Our implementation of the Learning Enhancement Initiative has shown us that some
courses can be taught effectively to large numbers of students. An advantage of this
format is that it can enable a great many of our students to encounter our most
distinguished colleagues early in their undergraduate programs. However, large classes
limit student opportunities for active learning. To overcome this problem, the structure of
these large classes must include break-out groups led by well-trained graduate teaching
assistants. Our plans to expand our graduate programs and to increase the number and
value of the graduate assistantships we will offer mesh perfectly with this teaching
format, by providing the capable teaching assistants needed to make the break-out groups
Our departments and programs anticipate developing a range of new degree
programs that will respond to changes in student interests and in the various disciplines,
and to emergent opportunities for important interdisciplinary collaborations. These new
• Interdisciplinary (with Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics) programming
in the area of the economics and economic policy aspects of energy and natural
• PhD programs in Art and Design that pursue an emerging model of integrating the
study of theory in Art History with studio practice;
• Restoration of the MFA in playwriting and the development of an MFA in
Theatre Arts and a PhD in Performance Studies in Drama;
• Interdisciplinary Creative Writing MFAs in English and Film Studies linked with
Drama and/or with Art and Design;
• M As in History and Classics focused on Public History and on Digital
• M As in Clinical Linguistics and in interdisciplinary topics such as Indigenous
• Expansion to the graduate level of some of our existing programs that are at
present restricted to the undergraduate level—Women’s Studies, Middle Eastern
and African Studies, and Science, Technology and Society.
Additional resources will enable us to address a current problem that many of our
units urged us to bring forcefully to your attention. This is the inadequate number of
courses that we can afford to offer at the graduate level. This paucity of courses
significantly diminishes the experience of our graduate students. Their programs do not
offer them the range of course choice that is consistent with a superior graduate education
and with having access to the diversity of their disciplines. Often, they pursue these
topics by taking courses that mix graduate and undergraduate students in a manner that
frustrates both, not to mention their instructors. Alternatively, they may seek individual
courses from instructors. This provides them with a rich experience, but is a very cost-
ineffective way of delivering instruction, with the cost often taking the form of added
stress on already heavily burdened instructors. We must offer more graduate courses. Our
increased numbers of graduate students will make this a cost-effective option. What we
need are the resources to make it happen.
Additional funding will increase our ability to support our colleagues’ research,
for example by providing research and other forms of assistance to the important
scholarly journals that the Faculty hosts.
Finally, further funding will enable us to foster more interdisciplinary
collaborations in teaching, and to support our faculty members who wish to develop the
kinds of interdisciplinary research working groups, centres and institutes discussed under
Under Scenario Two, Arts’ diverse, multiple and innovative community
engagements, described under Scenario One, will increase in volume as our capacity to
pursue them increases. Many of these activities require remarkably few dollars, because
they are sustained by the commitment of our colleagues. However, other activities, such
as Community Service-Learning and co-operative programmes, require, in addition to the
evident commitment that supports them, major infusions of resources if their benefits are
to reach large numbers of our undergraduates.
In particular, we are pursuing rural and northern engagement and working to make
our contribution to Campus Alberta by developing programs of B.A. delivery at several
colleges across the province. This new programming will require special funding.
Also, new academic programming will help us to reach out to Aboriginal
communities and to attract students from them. Such new programs could include
professional training and academic research in Aboriginal Theatre and the Linguistics’
department’s proposed M A in Indigenous Language Documentation.
Additional resources will enable us to increase the outreach activities of our research
institutes and to direct more funding to community-based or oriented research activities,
such as the “Are We There Yet?” Community-University Research Alliance located in
our Department of Drama.
Organization and Support
Additional resources will enable us to gain the benefits of specialization and
division of labour as we will increasingly be able to offer Faculty-wide services in
support of a number of the activities of our departments, including such possibilities as
assisting in the development of intensive writing-based courses, the management of field
schools, and cooperative learning programs.
The growth in both the sophistication of technologically enhanced learning and
discovery and the proportion of our colleagues who are exploiting these new technologies
will require substantial growth in the capabilities and sheer capacity of the Arts Resource
Centre. ARC will increase its services in the areas of instructional design, assistance to
researchers and technical support. It will also lead the Faculty in the process of designing,
installing and maintaining the very substantial infrastructure investment, including smart
classrooms and e-learning facilities, that increasingly we must have if we are to take our
place at centre stage in the global enterprise of taking advantage of and contributing to
contemporary developments in discovery and learning.
Increasingly, the Faculty’s work beyond the realm of information technology,
particularly in the Fine Arts, is becoming more capital-intensive; the resources to meet
these needs must increase.
We look forward to being able to expand the staff complement of our Office of
Interdisciplinary Studies as it serves additional programs, such as the B.A.
(Environmental Studies) and the certificate in Peace and Post-Conflict Studies, and larger
numbers of students in the programs for which it is currently responsible.
2) Complement plan
Arts’ complement plan anticipates the filling of 85 new tenure-track vacancies.
In addition to the 12 support staff vacancies that it will fill using its own resources
under Scenario One, Arts requires a further 32 non-academic staff to implement the plans
that it has set out for Scenario Two.
3) Anticipated Budget Increase
In order to implement our plans under Scenario Two, the Faculty of Arts will
require new operating budget resources equivalent to 25.7% of our 2005-06 Operating
Faculty of Arts Campaign Priorities
The Faculty of Arts campaign goal is $25 million. This amount involves two broad
1. Academic naming such as chairs, professorships, programs, institutes and
centres - goal $22.5 million
• Endowed chairs and professorships
• endowment funds to name various academic units and physical locations
• Institute for United States Policy Studies (IUSPS), regarding which Arts has
partnered with Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics, Business and Law
• Community Service Learning
• Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology/FolkwaysAlive project
• Centre for Canadian Literature
2. Scholarships with a strong focus on graduate student support - goal of $2.5
Faculty of Arts Space and Facility Needs
In March of 2006, the Facilities Development Committee approved the Faculty of
Arts General Space Programme 2005-2010. The Executive Summary of this document
identifies our space needs, in effect for Scenario Two, as follows:
The Faculty of Arts’ tremendous success in achieving the teaching and
research ambitions established in our Strategic Plan of 2001-05 and
Academic Plan of 2003-07 has driven the need to develop a General Space
Programme. At the heart of both plans is the Faculty’s commitment to
“provide and support, as resources allow, an environment that facilitates
research and creative activity.”
The General Space Programme was developed through extensive
consultation across the Faculty of Arts. We discussed and examined space
throughout the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts to understand
the diverse ways in which space is used, to identify where, how, and why
space is deficient, to achieve consensus on how space might be deployed
more efficiently, and to agree on the types and quantities of space that will
be needed to meet future growth projections and changing teaching and
research practices. Good quality and sufficient instructional and research
space is an increasingly crucial resource for retention and recruitment of
outstanding scholars (including not only professors but graduate and
undergraduate students) and superb support staff to top-tier faculties and
Universities such as the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. A
sufficient quantity of space that is appropriately configured, supported by
adequate infrastructure, safe, and suitably located is essential to facilitate
the Faculty of Arts’ on-going dynamic growth.
Research and creative work in the Faculty of Arts is both robust and
diverse. Dissemination of new research and creative knowledge takes
place first and foremost in the classroom among our graduate and
undergraduate students. Although the number of full-time academic
faculty remained relatively constant over the past five years, from 2001-
2005 the number of researchers holding external grants as Principal
Investigators more than doubled from 97 to 205. Furthermore, during the
same period, the amount of external funding increased by 50% from $4.3
million to $6.4 million. Moreover, the Faculty has identified building its
research capacity as a key strategic initiative over the next four years.
The Faculty of Arts currently occupies 35,656 sq. m. in 13 locations.
Significantly, all of the Faculty’s existing space is fully occupied.
Academic offices are fully occupied despite the fact that the Faculty has a
number of vacancies and members on leave, and sessional instructors are
sharing office space to the maximum degree possible. The Faculty is
utilizing all of its available teaching space but is still confronted by over-
crowded and inadequate classrooms, seminar rooms, studio, performance
and practice space. Research space is shared as extensively as possible
among compatible projects. Future planning for greatest efficiency of use
is now based on a hotelling model in which space is allocated sequentially
and temporarily to research projects for the duration of a project’s needs.
The purpose of this document is to describe the Faculty of Arts’ current
space allocation, identify deficiencies, and project future space
requirements as the basis for developing accommodation plans for both
the immediate and longer term. Consistent with the direction established
in its four-year strategic plan, four primary forces are shaping the
Faculty’s future space requirements: diversity of class sizes and methods
of teaching, increasing enrollment in graduate programs, increasing
faculty numbers, and increasing research intensity.
The Faculty of Arts projects that it will require 55,869 sq. m. of space by
2010, an increase of 54.9% over its existing allocation. An immediate
need for an additional 5,983 sq. m. has also been identified. The timely
allocation of approximately 1000 sq. m. in HUB Mall, Pembina Hall, and
the Electrical Wing of the Civil Engineering Building will enable the
Faculty to meet a small portion of pressing immediate requirements.
All of the requirements identified in the Programme are pressing. However,
because so many members of our Faculty--support staff, professors, and students--
emphasized one particular need, we wish to specifically draw it to your attention. This
need is for additional space to permit, indeed invite, the informal mingling that
contributes so much to the “transformative university experience” identified as an
aspiration under Organization and Support in Dare to Discover. The three largest
buildings in Arts originally contained such spaces, but over time these have been
sacrificed to meet urgent teaching and research needs. We must recreate such spaces if
we are to nurture the intellectual and social community that will foster interdisciplinary
discourse, the fuller interaction among our students that the Senate Task Force on
Student Engagement advocates, and a sense of shared enterprise that will—along with
many other factors—assist our goal of retaining faculty members.
1) The Library System
You have asked us what the Faculty of Arts will contribute to the Academic Plan
and the resources we require to make this contribution. We have identified resources that
we believe should be directed to the Faculty. In deference to our many colleagues who
made this point, one with which we agree wholeheartedly, we also note that the
accomplishment of our contribution and that of other faculties will depend crucially on
your providing substantial funding to the library system. The wealth of resources in our
library system is the sine qua non for much of our research success. For us to build upon
this research success and to succeed in our goal of involving our students more
intensively in the research experience, the library will require the funding needed to serve
additional numbers of students and faculty; to provide access to the wealth of new
scholarship that is constantly being published and to enable us to make the fullest use of
new technologies that are transforming the worlds of our research.
The library system will be making its own submission to you. Our purpose in
referring to it here is to underscore our dependence upon its excellence and our support
for it receiving the resources that will preserve that excellence as its tasks grow and
2) Student Support in English-Language Skills
Deficient English-language skills make it very difficult for many students to gain
the transformative educational experience that Dare to Discover wants them to undergo.
We believe that the University’s current practice of requiring students to improve their
facility in English on a fee paying, not for credit basis has accomplished a great deal, but
is not a sufficient or equitable response to the problem. We encourage you to engage the
faculties in considering making courses in English as a Second (or Additional) Language
credit courses where appropriate, to be taught by the Faculty of Extension or a unit
specially dedicated to this purpose.
We look forward to the reports of the Writing Task Force and to participating
actively in the University-wide discussion of how best to implement its
A Note on Process
Respecting the culture of active discussion in Arts around the character and
direction of our Faculty, we attempted to design a vigorously inclusive process for
engaging students, faculty and staff in preparing this statement. Our first step, in
recognition of both the diversity of our Faculty and the collegial energy within it, was to
establish a broadly representative Ad Hoc Committee on the Academic Plan to shape our
engagement strategy and to organize its findings into a coherent statement. The
committee decided to proceed by inviting departments, interdisciplinary programs,
research institutes, support units, students and standing committees of the Faculty to
prepare their own reports on their anticipated contributions to the Academic Plan. These
units consulted among the various constituencies within them, and produced the plans on
which this statement is based. While the Faculty has not formally approved every idea
that they contain, I am appending these unit reports. I hope that they will prove helpful
should you seek more detail on particular ideas mentioned in our submission. I am also
sharing them with you because I believe that they offer rich insights into the imaginative
and ambitious hopes of our colleagues for the future growth of their programs and of the
humanities, fine arts and social sciences at the University of Alberta. I found them all,
taken together, to be inspirational. In addition, I held five meetings with groups of non-
academic staff to receive their very useful ideas concerning the Academic Plan, and
conveyed them to the committee. The committee led the processes of determining the
recurring and most significant themes in the information that they received and of
identifying, in consultation with me and my advisory council, the Faculty-wide pieces of
our academic planning. The draft statement was then presented for discussion to our
Chairs and Directors Council and subsequently to a special meeting of the Faculty of Arts
Council. Following revision based on the discussion at Arts Council, the statement was
reviewed again by my advisory council, by our chairs council and finally by our
Executive Committee before being sent to you. I believe that our statement has benefited
greatly from the effort that so many members of the faculty invested in preparing their
unit statements and integrating them into what follows. This Faculty statement cannot list
all of the initiatives our 21 units shared with us; rather it draws on our unit statements for
examples of the innovations we are anticipating as we plan to pursue our Mission
Statement and to implement the University’s Academic Plan.
The process of preparing this submission has been most constructive. It has
provided an occasion for our units, and the Faculty all told, to debate, confirm and record
the current state of our academic planning for the next half decade and beyond. It has also
given concrete expression and detailed form to what we have long appreciated, which is
the vigour and ambition of our colleagues as they seek new ways to engage in learning,
discovery and community service. In addition, it has emphasized the enthusiasm of our
colleagues for developing programming and relationships that cross departmental and,
indeed, faculty boundaries. We are happy to share the evidence of their vision and energy
with you and hope that you agree with us that, with the provision of appropriate
resources, the Faculty of Arts will take the leadership role in implementing the
University’s Academic Plan that is appropriate given its status as the founding faculty of