Amid expected $120M shortfall, U of A releases proposed restructuring scenarios

EDMONTON — Facing a more than $100-million hole in its budget, the University of Alberta is considering three options to save money, each of which would see faculties consolidated or jobs cut. 

Meant to guide the development of recommendations for structural change, the Academic Restructuring Working Group (ARWG) was created by U of A Provost Steven Dew back in May.

According to a report by the group released Wednesday, the school’s academic imperatives and reductions in its provincial operating grant mean it must reduce overall expenses by more than $120 million over the next three years.

“Facing unprecedented hardships that will be difficult to work through, our university must change,” the report reads.

The report lays out several possibilities for the “U of A for Tomorrow.”

THREE SCENARIOS

The first proposed scenario put forward by the ARWG is called Health Sciences Consolidation.

In that model, most current faculties would remain unchanged with the exception of Medicine and Dentistry.

Those two faculties would be consolidated into schools within a single faculty.

U of A restructuring - health sciences

According to the report, in this scenario most Health Sciences units would remain autonomous.

Academic or financial benefits would come from subsequent review of department structures and programs.

The second scenario would see most current faculties consolidated into three divisions.

U of A restructuring, triagency alignment

Labelled Tri-Agency Alignment, the plan would reduce the need for academic leadership positions at the faculty and department levels.  

Campus Saint-Jean, Augustana and Native Studies would remain outside the structure as stand-alone faculties.

The third scenario put forward in the report is a hybrid division model called Consolidation and Shared Division.

The report says that under this scenario, faculties would be consolidated with discipline-specific schools where there is academic synergy for doing so.

U of A restructuring, shared division

This shared division model would bring administrative economies of scale to the remaining smaller faculties.

Medicine and Dentistry would remain intact.  

All three scenarios are still open for refinement and modification through community engagement.

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