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President Loreman’s Report to GFC, May 14, 2021

Posted on: May 14, 2021

What will Fall 2021 look like?

Despite the increased instances of covid-19 in Alberta, we are still planning for as near to a full return to campus in the fall as is possible. Our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our campus community, and we will take the necessary actions required to keep our campus safe. What makes this return viable is the projected and actual increase in availability of vaccines. The Ministry of Advanced Education has advised us that we should be planning a return to in-person classes in the fall, and most, if not all, institutions are heeding this advice. We are expecting guidelines from AHS to assist us, and have commenced planning for our return.

         After so long off-campus there is naturally some anxiety connected to returning, from both employees and students. I recognize this and am committed to ensuring that not only is each employee as safe as possible in returning, but also that they feel comfortable in their work context. Needless to say, we are also legally bound to do this through Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety legislation. Returning to campus will require cooperation, flexibility, and in some cases compromise. We are greatly assisted by our new commitment to flexible course delivery, and also our new Remote Work Policy (AD4000), which will provide us with the flexibility to reduce the number of people on campus at any one time.

         All that said, we are still dealing with a pandemic. While it is projected that the risks of contracting covid will be greatly reduced by September, they will not be zero. These risks, however, will likely be at a level close to those of normal seasonal flu. We don’t close down each year when the flu is doing its rounds, so we should not over-react to comparable risks of covid-19 on campus. Risk exists in everything we do, and while we should follow AHS guidelines to reduce those risks as much as possible, we must, at some point, resume as close to normal service as we are able.

CUE 100

Mark your calendars. It is party time September 3-5 as we celebrate our CUE100 Homecoming Event. This will be a weekend of multiple activities designed to appeal to our alumni, students, faculty and staff, and local community. Get some rest over the summer because this weekend is going to be HUGE.

Rezoning and the New Academic Building:

Progress on the New Academic Building (NAB), Quad and Bridge (connecting NAB and Quad) continues. Rezoning of the entire campus continues and is expected to be presented to Council for approval on June 8, 2021, with construction to begin to shortly after approval. Based on recent design the NAB will be able accommodate up to 1000 students/staff at any given time. The Quad, partly in what is now the ‘Buffalo Paddock’ outside the kiosk, will consist of renovations to labs in Guild and Alumni Hall to convert existing labs to multi use 20 student labs, a new Green Room, and a new food kiosk in Alumni Hall. This NAB and Quad will ease the demands on the current infrastructure and enable for future growth. Construction is expected to begin in June 2021 and be completed by Fall 2022. 

International Update:

The International Office (IO) worked with Community Relations to apply for grant funding through Universities Canada for a project aimed at increasing outbound mobility and received a $25,000 dollar grant. A second call for funding just opened and the IO and Community Relations will work together to apply again. 

The IO is a resource for anyone interested in taking up a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project with an international partner. Please contact the Manager, International Relations, if this is something you are interested in. 

CUE is signing a new agreement with Instituto Federal Sul-Rio-Grandense (IFSUL, a PSI for Research and Innovation) in Brazil. There will be a virtual signing ceremony this Wednesday, with Global Affairs Canada in Brazil and the Canadian Consul attending as well.  

The IO continues to support international students who are entering Canada. Students must contact the IO with their exact travel date and then receive a package that supports them with their entry into Canada. They also attend a virtual session in advance of their travel so they have the opportunity to ask questions about travel restrictions, quarantine, etc. The Manager, International Relations is attending ICEF Virtual Americas this week (which is a conference to recruit new recruitment agents). The focus will be on meeting and signing with agents from markets that CUE is not currently represented in. 

Alberta 2030

The Government of Alberta’s “Alberta 2030” strategy was publicly released last week. The strategy and related documents are available online at alberta.ca/2030. According to the Minister of Advanced Education “The Alberta 2030 strategy has been directly shaped by numerous inputs, including an evidence-informed diagnostic, comprehensive stakeholder engagement, best practices from other jurisdictions, and Alberta’s specific context…together we have developed a made-in-Alberta strategy to improve access and student experience, develop skills for jobs, support innovation and commercialization, strengthen internationalization, improve sustainability and affordability, and strengthen system governance. Achieving these goals will build our collective economic competitiveness, community well-being, and prosperity.”

The Independent Academic Institutions are currently not part of one of the two new sectors that are the outcome of Alberta 2030. We have requested to be placed in the university sector and are engaged in ongoing conversations with the Ministry of Advanced Education. We have also negotiated CUE’s Investment Management Agreement which will see work integrated learning (WIL) opportunities increase from being present in 35% of our programs to 40% of our programs. This means introducing WIL in one new program, and re-working one existing program to include WIL.

Mental Health Breakfast

Thank you to all who attended the President’s Fundraising Breakfast for Mental Health last week. The event was a success, raising over $11,000 for student mental health initiatives at CUE. Your attendance demonstrates a commitment to action over talk, and your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated by me and by our students who access the services the money will provide.