Three pre-existing University of Alberta faculty deans will be moving up to the fill the new position of college deans, each responsible for overseeing one of the three colleges recently established during academic restructuring.
Current faculty of science dean Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell will become the interim college dean for the college of natural and applied sciences. Greta Cummings, current faculty of nursing dean, will become the college dean of the college of health sciences. Current school of business dean Joseph Doucet will become the college dean of the college of social sciences and humanities.
Both Kalcounis-Rueppell and Doucet were part of the Academic Restructuring Working Group (ARWG), which was in charge of producing academic restructuring scenarios.
Each will assume the position of college dean on July 1, 2021 and will help plan the creation of the new colleges.
The selection of the first college deans comes after the December 11 decision of the Board of Governors (BoG), the highest decision-making body in the university. BoG approved a college model with college deans leading each college as the blueprint for academic restructuring.
The college of natural and applied science will contain the faculties of science, engineering, and agricultural, life, environmental sciences (ALES). The college of health and medical sciences will contain the faculties of medicine and dentistry, pharmacy, rehabilitation medicine, nursing, kinesiology, sports, and recreation (KSR) and the school of public health. The college of social sciences and humanities includes the faculty of arts, education, law, and the school of business.
The faculty of native studies, Campus Saint-Jean, and Augustana will remain autonomous of the colleges.
Previously known as executive deans, college deans has been a point of contention for the university. Before BoG’s decision, General Faculties Council (GFC), the highest academic decision-making body, voted for a college model without college deans, instead opting for a council of deans and service managers to lead each college.
Ultimately, BoG rejected GFC’s proposal and decided to re-instate college deans into the college structure.
Alongside “achieve significant savings in administrative costs,” U of A president Bill Flanagan also believes the college model will enhance the university’s operations.
“Of equal importance, these new colleges will deepen and diversify the university’s ability to enrich teaching, research and community engagement, especially along interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary lines,” he said.
“The colleges will enhance the university’s ability to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time, including advancing human health and wellness, science that advances knowledge and improves lives, and building a society with justice, equity and opportunity for all.”
In the statement, Bill Flanagan expressed gratitude to administration and faculty.
“I want to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to our three colleagues who have agreed to take on this challenging and important role,” he said. “I also want to thank all the deans and other senior leaders for their thoughtful and constructive engagement in developing this new role.”