University of Saskatchewan

U of S Reports

Outcomes for Priority 1: Improving the Student Experience

The University of Saskatchewan is committed to improving the undergraduate and graduate student experience inside and outside the classroom in a variety of ways, from providing high-quality programs to improving services and infrastructure. In 2008-09, we took steps to address this by:

University-level highlights:

  • Investing $1.78 million in the three graduate schools

The School of Public Health, the School of Environment and Sustainability, and the Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy is the university’s largest single initiative to result from either integrated plan, with a total investment of $4.68 million over both planning cycles. Financial support will assist with program development and faculty and student recruitment, among other activities. More

  • Increasing funding for graduate scholarships, programs and space

Graduate students will see more scholarships and teaching fellowship opportunities, as well as new faculty awards, as a result of a $1 million increase in permanent funding for the College of Graduate Studies and Research. A further one-time investment of $780,000 will be used to enhance the university teaching course and English language support program for international graduate students. The first phase of construction was also approved for a new Graduate Commons – a study and gathering space for all graduate students.

  • Committing to build new student residences

Two new student residences are set to increase space by about 400 beds. This project is to be completed by 2011 and was made possible through collaboration between the Government of Saskatchewan, Meridian Developments, Inc., the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, and various units within the university. More

  • Improving food and student services and beginning Place Riel renovations

Upgrades to the Marquis Hall cafeteria and Arts Building food outlet improved food service offerings for students and employees this past year, and further renovations are planned for the  University Bookstore.  The Board of Governors also approved $28.5 million in renovations to the Place Riel Student Centre which will include a new food court, additional office and meeting space, and will bring the student health centre and counseling services under one roof.

  • Completing the new Learning Commons in the Murray Library 

The first floor of the Murray Library was renovated to create a Learning Commons space for students that offers meeting rooms, computer stations, study space and a café

  • Reconfirming our commitment to teaching and learning

A vice-provost teaching and learning was appointed in 2008 to provide vision and leadership for academic innovation in programs and instruction to ensure a top-quality academic experience for all students. Also in 2008, the Board of Governors and Council approved the Teaching and Learning Foundational Document, which sets long-term goals for this important area.

Some college and unit highlights:

  • Expanding learning communities for first-year students

A new investment of over $800,000 from the Academic Priorities Fund will enable more students in the Colleges of Arts and Science, Kinesiology and Agriculture and Bioresources to experience their first year as part of a learning community. A learning community is a group of students who take common courses and benefit from mentorship and academic support through the University Learning Centre

  • Increasing innovative programs and experiential learning opportunities for students

    Progress or further investment was made in a number of such programs/centres this year:

    • CLASSIC (Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City), an initiative from the College of Law that provides experiential learning experiences for students
    • Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity (ICCC), College of Arts and Science
    • Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence in the Edwards School of Business
    • The Masters of Nursing was launched via videoconference in September 2008, enabling 14 graduate students to take part in this program who otherwise could not
  • Upgrading the online student information system

System upgrades enhanced online student-, course-, and grading-related activities, making the application process, registration and fee payment more convenient for students. New funding will improve the range of services going forward.

  • Establishing a core curriculum in the health sciences

Students in the Division of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, who are pursuing degrees in the basic biomedical sciences or in professional colleges like dentistry will soon be able to take a standard first two years of study regardless of specialization.