At the University of Alberta’s Board of Governors (BoG) meeting on June 16, BoG approved the University Strategic Plan (USP) and the 2023-24 and 2024-25 Investment Management Agreement (IMA) targets.
Additionally, Florence Glanfield, vice-provost (Indigenization programming and research), spoke about ethical spaces and safety of Indigenous peoples.
Bill Flanagan, U of A president and vice-chancellor, gave an update on spring convocation during his report.
“We had 7,300 students graduate — the largest number ever at the U of A. Even more impressively, 74 per cent of the graduating class attended their convocation ceremony, the highest ever in history at the U of A.”
“In the work I do, we strive to foster a collaborative work culture. We also consider the need for ethical spaces,” Glanfield says
At the beginning of the meeting, Glanfield spoke about safety and ethical spaces in relation to Indigenous peoples.
“In the work I do, we strive to foster a collaborative work culture by encouraging teamwork, promoting collaboration and interconnectedness, and providing platforms for ideas sharing and knowledge exchange. We also consider the need for ethical spaces.”
Glanfield shared the work of Cree scholar Willie Ermine. She described how in order to reconcile relationships or enter any relationship or ethical space, “we need to know who we are.”
“In our meetings and engagements, we should encourage people to introduce themselves in a way that is meaningful to them. This may include who and where they are from, their ancestral heritage, connection to the land, language, kinships, and knowledge systems,” Glanfield said.
Glanfield added that ethical spaces reject assimilation and have an established ethical framework that respects cultural boundaries.
“I think as we move forward in achieving the goals that we want as an institution, we can foster a more profound understanding of relationality, the respect for diverse positionality, and a culture of inclusivity,” she said.
“I raise this today because it’s been almost one year since we launched Braiding Past, Present, and Future. In a moment, we are all about the past, present, and future. I think about this a lot in the work I do, in the culture that we are trying to create at the U of A.”
USP for next decade approved by BoG, plan to launch in September
General Faculties Council (GFC) recommended BoG approve the University Strategic Plan (USP) on May 29. BoG unanimously approved the USP, which will cover the next ten years. The plan’s three major pillars are “Education with Purpose,” “Research with Purpose,” and “Engagement with Purpose.”
Flanagan recalled various contributions made to the USP. He also thanked Dr. Verna Yiu, provost and vice-president (academic), and the steering committee for their involvement.
“In September  the board indicated that this was a top priority for the academic year to develop a new strategic plan. We engaged in a very broad process of consultation externally and internally with all of the various stakeholders,” Flanagan said.
Dr. Yiu brought attention to how the USP focuses on people. “The emphasis on people came out loud and clear about the foundation of what we are as a university. People are our biggest assets.”
The USP will launch in September, and BoG will receive the implementation plan in January 2024, Dr. Yiu said.
BoG approves Investment Management Agreement targets for 2023-24 and 2024-25
BoG approved the 2023-24 and 2024-25 Investment Management Agreement (IMA) targets, thresholds, and weightings. This was under the recommendation of the Finance and Property Committee and the Learning, Research, and Student Experience Committee. BoG unanimously approved the motion.
IMAs are contracts between a publicly-funded post-secondary institution and the Government of Alberta’s Advanced Minister of Education. IMA’s primarily hold institutions accountable to a performance-based funding model.
For the 2022-23 fiscal year, 15 per cent of funding from the government’s operating support grant is at risk. This means that funding is based on success in performance metrics. In the 2023-24 fiscal year, 25 per cent of operating support from the government will be at risk. In the 2024-25 fiscal year, 40 per cent will be at risk.
Todd Gilchrist, vice-president (university services and finance), said that the Advanced Education ministry “understands, and to this point, has supported our targets and the logic that we used to set them.”
“We believe [the targets] are established as realistic and achievable. Taking into account of what we’ve been able to achieve historically and what our current trends are,” Gilchrist said.