Senate Task Forces
The Senate strives to communicate the needs and views of Albertans to the University and the Alberta government, and to interpret to the public the many different facets of the University. As one way of accomplishing this, a task force may be struck to investigate an issue brought to the Senate's attention.
A Task Force committee, comprised of Senate members, with one or two additional people with special expertise, work to investigate a topic; prepare a report; and make recommendations to the Board of Governors, General Faculties Council and Alberta's Minister of Advanced Education.
The report is presented first to Senate in draft form and widely distributed to various internal stakeholders within the university community. At the following Senate meeting, when revisions may have been made to the text as a result of additional discussions and consultations, the recommendations are adopted and the final report is then distributed among campus and available upon request to the Senate Office.
The Senate's Campus Inquiries and Initiatives Committee is responsible for the follow-up and feedback associated with the report. This committee also examines the recommendations realized and put into action by University groups, departments and faculties.
Senate Task Force Report: Connecting Communities - December 2015
The Chancellor as Chair of the Senate has a keen interest in listening to - and learning from - community members. Chancellor’s legislated mandate within Alberta’s Post-Secondary Learning Act is to “represent the public interest in the university” (Section 9(1)). Senate’s 62 members include community volunteers across Edmonton and Alberta as well as appointed members representing broad governance, executive, academic, non-academic staff, alumni, and student constituencies at the University of Alberta. Senators serve as ambassadors and advocates seeking to build bridges of understanding and connection between the university and communities in Edmonton and across Alberta.
In early 2014, Senate embarked on a series of focus groups to gather information from Albertans about their connection to the University of Alberta. As part of the Task Force process, Senators hosted sixteen focus group sessions with community members in Edmonton, Barrhead, Calgary, Camrose, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Wetaskiwin and area.
Faculty members and staff from Evaluation and Research Services, Faculty of Extension, facilitated each focus group session, summarized key themes from all of the transcripts and shared research results with the Senate Task Force. A volunteer group of Senators were then tasked with using these research results to form the above linked report, including formulating recommendations based upon what was heard in the focus groups.
Senate is solely responsible for the report’s recommendations and is committed to supporting the President and senior administration in ongoing strategic planning and the university in ongoing efforts to connect communities. We recognize that important activities with the broader community are underway in every faculty of the University of Alberta – the Ideas that Work sections of the task force report represent only a small subset. We encourage discussion and debate on many levels both within and outside the academy to assist the university in responding to opportunities with its many community stakeholders.
This report aims to make a mark in time, to capture the feelings and comments of the community at large and then provide recommendations on how to strengthen community connections. It is not intended as a critique of ongoing efforts or some sort of scorecard to judge levels of connection. It is intended as a discussion piece for the start of a conversation between all elements of the university and the communities around it - geographic, social, academic, and more. Senate’s own Standing Committee on Campus Inquiries and Initiatives will also take up this report and identify ways to implement the recommendations.
Tell us what you think!