On campus


As a leader in Aboriginal education, the University of Saskatchewan has a wealth of resources available online. Learn more about the Office of First Nations and Métis Engagement located at English River, our collection of Aboriginal initiatives, partnership activities, and our academic and community resources directory.


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Touch the Sky

An Avro Arrow nose cone on display at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre. Photo by David Stobbe

This in-house produced exhibit encourages visitors to look beyond the controversy surrounding the Avro Arrow, and focuses on the history and accomplishments of Avro Canada. The exhibit runs through December 2013 at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre.


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Financial Update

Closing the gap: progress on reducing expenditures

As reported in the previous Green & White (Living within our means, Spring 2013), the University of Saskatchewan has work to do to ensure its financial sustainability, including making a $44.5 million difference in its budget by 2016.

Actions taken in 2012-13 realized a savings of more than $15 million—more than a third of the projected deficit.

Changes at the U of S are going to be transformative—significant changes are needed for the U of S to be a true leader in its signature areas. Several of these initiatives are already underway, and two noted in the spring are workforce planning and TransformUS.

Since November, 2012, 248 vacant and occupied positions have been eliminated through workforce planning, resulting in permanent budget savings of approximately $8.5 million by 2016.

According to Barb Daigle, associate vice- president of human resources, workforce planning was, by necessity, initially focused on reductions and implementing efficiencies. However, in the longer term, it is anticipated workforce planning will be part of each unit’s ongoing strategies to recruit and develop a workforce that will meet our changing needs.

Everything supported by the operating budget will be prioritized through TransformUS. Provost and Vice-President Academic Brett Fairbairn (BA’81) said, “Prioritizing based on our mandate of teaching and research will strengthen our focus on the areas we have identified together as most important. We will become an even better university—one of which we can all be proud to be a member.”

The target of TransformUS is to reduce the operating budget by $20-25 million, with $5 million to be reinvested in the university’s top priorities as determined by the TransformUS process.

“The university is not just cutting costs. We have priorities, and we continue to invest increased resources in them, even as we work to reduce costs and resources in other areas,” said Greg Fowler (BA’88, MBA’92), vice-president of finance and resources.

“In achieving our financial goals,” Fowler continued, “we will be better positioned to meet our integrated-planning commitments of: strengthening our academic programs and research-intensity, including a restructured College of Medicine; continuing to lead the nation in Aboriginal education and knowledge; and building a diverse and inclusive campus community. For more information, visit usask.ca/finances.

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Dean of Engineering

Highly respected Canadian engineer Georges Kipouros has been chosen as the new dean of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Engineering. The university’s Board of Governors approved the appointment for a five-year term effective September 1, 2013.

Kipouros holds a Diploma of Engineering from the School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and a MASc and PhD from the University of Toronto. He completed his post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He began his career at MIT, followed by a five-year industrial position as a senior research scientist with General Motors Research Laboratories in Michigan.

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SENS Photoshoot

Light Dagger by Dylan Beach was the overall winner and best natural environment photograph in the School of Environment and Sustainability’s photo contest. See all the winning photographs at usask.ca/sens/news/2013/photo-contest.php

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Construction of Saskatchewan’s first cyclotron facility—a centre for advanced research that will also produce medical imaging isotopes—has begun at the U of S.

To be located in the former Animal Resource Centre between the Canadian Light Source synchrotron and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, the U of S-owned cyclotron facility will be managed and operated by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, a U of S subsidiary.

Some $25.5 million has been provided for the project from the Government of Saskatchewan and Western Economic Diversification Canada. The facility is expected to be operating for research purposes by 2015, and will be fully operational by 2016. It will then supply medical isotopes for the new PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography) scanner at Royal University Hospital, equipment that has proven effective for identifying many types of cancer.

The cyclotron will also provide state-of-the- art facilities for a broad range of research related to human, animal and plant diseases and other molecular imaging applications.

The facilities will be designed, built and operated in accordance with the highest federal safety standards, and will be regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Health Canada.

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Agriculture research at the University of Saskatchewan has received $17.25 million courtesy of the federal and provincial governments to help researchers create knowledge to boost crop, livestock and bioproduct production while conserving soils and the environment.

The funds, which will pay for 13 new research chairs, were announced by federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart at the U of S College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

The chairs are funded through the provincial government’s Strategic Research Program, which is backed jointly by the provincial and federal governments.

Most of the research chairs have already been assigned to leading U of S agriculture researchers working in a wide range of fields. Examples include developing plant-based food ingredients to replace animal-derived ingredients to meet consumer demand; wheat with higher protein, better dough-making properties and improved resistance; and improved disease management strategies for pulse crops.

“This investment provides crucial support to our current researchers and resources to attract more world-class scientists to create knowledge to help farmers prosper and help feed a growing world population,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad (BSPE’80, BEd’81). “We applaud our government partners for their continued support for the U of S as the hub of agricultural research in Canada.”

Each research chair includes a scientist and a technician, and the chairs are responsible for attracting additional funding from public and private sector sources to support their research programs.

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The College of Medicine and the Saskatoon Health Region have hired Dr. Ivar Mendez as unified department head for the Department of Surgery.

The pioneering role makes Mendez the unified academic head for all surgery in Saskatchewan, allowing him to put together a strategy for the whole province. Mendez comes to Saskatchewan from Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, where he was the head of neurosurgery for 12 years. He is the founder and chairman of the Brain Repair Centre, a multi-institutional health research institute in Atlantic Canada.

Recognized as an expert in his field, Mendez has built a reputation for innovative work in brain repair, stem cells, functional neurosurgery and robotics. He has received numerous awards for his research including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Medal Award in Surgery.

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The U of S is home to a new research centre focused on fostering connections between academics, Aboriginal organizations and governments across Canada.

The Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) received funding in the spring of 2012 through a partnership grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The network is comprised of four regional headquarters across Canada, with the U of S being home to the Prairie Research Centre, which covers Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

With more than 50 per cent of Canada’s Aboriginal population living in urban areas, the network’s mandate is to study issues affecting this demographic and encourage progressive public policy in applicable areas. Ryan Walker, professor of urban planning with the College of Arts and Science, is director of the UAKN’s prairie centre.

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University of Saskatchewan researchers Sakej Henderson and Marie Battiste, two of the country’s top Aboriginal scholars and Indigenous knowledge advocates, have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).

Henderson and Battiste are the first Aboriginal scholars from the U of S to be elected to the RSC, and Battiste is only the fourth woman to be elected from the university.

Henderson, a director of the U of S Native Law Centre, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is an expert on Aboriginal and treaty rights and is inernationally recognized as an authority and advocate for the human rights of Indigenous people.

Battiste, professor in the College of Education, is a Mi’kmaw scholar with degrees from Harvard and Stanford Universities. Her career has been dedicated to research in both improving outcomes for Indigenous youth and balancing knowledge systems in the academy.

Henderson and Battiste are married and have worked and published together in the past.

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The Hon. Gordon Barnhart (BA’67, PhD’98), chair of the International Minerals Innovation Institute

In June, the University of Saskatchewan and the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) announced a $1.67 million funding agreement to develop and deliver five additional mining courses and the creation of three new undergraduate mining options in geological,mechanical and chemical engineering. The three-year funding agreement is between Saskatchewan’s minerals industry, the Government of Saskatchewan and the College of Engineering. IMII’s role is to work with industry members to identify critical needs and then with its partners to facilitate program delivery using funds from industry and the province.

The university will use the funding to recruit three new faculty members who specialize in mining engineering, to invest in mining engineering technology and to develop undergraduate and post-graduate programing that will build capacity for skilled mining professionals in the province.

“Together with agriculture and petroleum, the minerals industry is one of the three main pillars of the Saskatchewan economy and it’s vital that the province’s largest educational institution is developing programs in direct support of this industry,” said Ilene Busch-Vishniac, president of the University of Saskatchewan.

Another objective of the agreement is for the U of S to explore course development and delivery with the Saskatchewan Institute for Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) and define pathways for graduates from technical schools to enter mining engineering programs at the U of S.

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Courtney Milne Collection

The entire personal collection of renowned Saskatchewan photographer Courtney Milne (BA’64) has been donated to the University of Saskatchewan, creating a wealth of research and scholarly opportunities across a number of academic disciplines.

The donation, made by the late Milne’s wife, Sherrill Miller, includes over 550,000 original images in slide and digital format, 2,000 prints, textual records along with audio and other visual media. Also included is Milne’s reference library and websites created using his work.

Milne, a lifelong resident of Saskatchewan, earned international acclaim for his photography during his career, which began in 1976 and continued until his death in 2010. His work is part of the permanent collections of over 30 galleries, and Milne received numerous honours, including the Gold Medal for Distinction in Canadian Photography (1993). He was posthumously invested into the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2011.

The donation, to be housed in the U of S Archives and Special Collections, will be made widely available both online and in physical exhibitions.


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Following 18 months of broad consultation, the College of Medicine released The Way Forward, an implementation plan that will support the significant change required to address critical issues of accreditation, teaching and research. The implementation plan sets specific strategies for three main areas: the faculty complement, research, and governance and partnerships.

“The implementation plan supporting our new vision maps out strategies that will address our accreditation issues, improve our research productivity and begin to reverse our recent trends in teaching and education outcomes,” stated U of S President Ilene Busch-Vishniac. “Our overarching goals are to align medical faculty, research, governance and partnerships and move the college from its current state to become the true flagship of our university.”

Efforts to restructure the College of Medicine have been underway since April 2012. Significant structural change is required over the next four years to address the long-standing issues of accountability, assignment of duties and the realignment of resources to significantly improve teaching and research outcomes.

Over the last several months, the college’s Dean’s Advisory Committee conducted extensive consultations with college stakeholders about the restructuring and renewal process. The resulting implementation plan is expected to be discussed by University Council as early as the Oct. 24 meeting, as required by a motion at Council’s Dec. 20 meeting when members approved, in principle, the document entitled A New Vision for the College of Medicine. The implementation plan and all renewal details are available at medicine.usask.ca/renewal.

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Jeff Baker (BEd’98), a Métis educator and scholar, was named the College of Education’s inaugural chair in Aboriginal education.

As chair, Baker will teach both graduate and undergraduate classes with a focus on kindergarten to Grade 12 education, particularly for the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), which is designed for First Nations students interested in teaching. He will also work collaboratively with the Aboriginal Education Research Centre developing community partnerships and driving research that will create conditions for academic success, strengthen community and positively influence future generations of teachers and students.

Baker earned his bachelor of education through the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) at the College of Education and completed his internship in New Zealand. His doctoral studies focus on Indigenous science education.

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