University of Saskatchewan

U of S Reports

Priority Area 1: Improving the Student Experience

Accomplishments are grouped by commitment area and include the activities led by colleges, units and commitment leaders. The 20 commitments are 20 areas identified in the second integrated plan where the university, as a whole, expects to see progress.

The Teacher-Learner Experience

The University of Saskatchewan will improve the “in-classroom” experience for teachers and learners.

This includes recognizing, rewarding and celebrating teaching excellence and changing the in-classroom experience for learners. Highlights from 2009-10 include:

  • new teaching awards established to reward outstanding teaching, administered through the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness *
  • new awards created in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources to recognize and reward outstanding teaching
  • new grants offered to faculty to help them improve/develop their teaching*
  • increased communications to raise the profile of teaching and learning activities on campus and externally*
  • U of S teaching and learning blog established  
  • creation of a task force charged with making recommendations on strategy and structure of e-learning (e.g. online courses) support and development
  • new course introduced on ‘teaching theory and practice’ for graduate students preparing for careers in academia*
  • new resources dedicated to help international graduate students develop their English language skills*
  • upgrades to the Student Evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ) course evaluation tool to improve usability by students and faculty*

*supported by the Academic Priorities Fund

Innovation in Programs

The University of Saskatchewan will be known for innovative, quality programs that connect learning and discovery in distinctive, often interdisciplinary, ways.

Over the past year, many people across the campus have focused energy, attention and resources on areas that reflect the greatest interest and dedication on the part of learners and teachers. This has given rise to:

Changes to graduate and professional programs

  • new graduate program in Toxicology designed to provide students with advanced training in human and ecological risk assessment, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE) program
  • new graduate programs for students wishing to study with clinicians in the College of Medicine and School of Physical Therapy
  • a new post-graduate specialty certificate (nurse practitioner) for nurses with a master’s degree in nursing who wish to also complete the nurse practitioner program
  • new research training courses for medical residents
  • proposal a new graduate program in writing through the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity
  • new graduate programs, including a professional, non-thesis based master’s program emphasizing interdisciplinarity in the School of Environment and Sustainability
  • new courses and an online curriculum tool for the Master of Physical Therapy program
  • veterinary medicine doctorate curriculum review and expansion to include more communication and leadership training
  • curriculum review for the Master of Public Health, including enhanced workplace practicum opportunities, development of new classes, the creation of a PhD program in epidemiology and the initiation of online offerings from the School of Public Health
  • offering the master’s in nursing program via distributive learning methods of video conferencing and web-casting
  • establishment of a large national network of toxicologists and environmental public health experts to deliver innovative graduate programming in this area

Changes to undergraduate programs

  • proposed major revisions to the Bachelor of Education degree program
  • proposed new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program
  • new toxicology minor developed in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources
  • kinesiology curriculum reviewed and expanded to include more hands-on learning and community service learning opportunities for students
  • proposed new Bachelor of Science programs in environmental biology, and physiology and pharmacology
  • new Bachelor of Arts and Science programs in environment and society
  • new Bachelor of Arts program in religion and culture
  • a new concentration in co-op studies within the graduate interdisciplinary program
  • proposed revisions to toxicology graduate programming to increase student engagement with local industry and the university’s three graduate schools
  • co-op education for Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness students
  • more experiential learning opportunities for law students through the CLASSIC *(Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City) program; and for health science students through SWITCH *(Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health) or SEARCH (Student Energy in Action for Regina Community Health)
  • increased placement opportunities for School of Public Health students in health care organizations all over Canada and around the globe, including the developing world
  • development of internship programs with federal and provincial governments for students in the Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy programs

Other innovations

  • the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity (ICCC) established, which will be home to a number of humanities and fine arts interdisciplinary programs*
  • an exploration of past academic program change or development in order to tell the story of successful program changes/development from idea to implementation
  • promotion of interdisciplinarity through the creation of a collaborative program in biostatistics that is  housed in the School of Public Health and partners with the Colleges of Medicine and of Arts and Science
  • implementation of new graduate programs, including a professional, non-thesis master’s program in the School of Environment and Sustainability that emphasize interdisciplinarity
  • recognition of the College of Law mediation education program as the most outstanding in Canada by the Canadian National Mediation Advocacy Association

*supported by the Academic Priorities Fund

Diverse Body of Students

The University of Saskatchewan will work to diversify its student body while at least maintaining its existing undergraduate student enrolment and growing its graduate student population.

As of October 2009, the undergraduate student headcount was 16,285 and the graduate student headcount was 2,591. This is the first time since 2003 the undergraduate student population has stayed about the same (not decreased) and the sixth consecutive year of growth in graduate student numbers.

In the past year, work has focused on better understanding, and removing institutional barriers, for students. This includes:

  • new articulation agreements allowing students with two-year college diplomas to transfer directly to the third year of the Bachelor of Renewable Resource Management program
  • expanded first-year course offerings in the College of Arts and Science, the College of Kinesiology, the College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the Edwards School of Business at St. Peter’s Junior College in Humboldt
  • development of a partnership with six top-tier Chinese universities to provide graduate study opportunities for 20 PhD students supported by study-abroad scholarships funded by the government of China  
  • review of the School of Public Health curriculum and programs  to align the school with accreditation requirements that will assist with the recruitment of both domestic and international students
  • the first ever geographic analysis of undergraduate student applicants
  • additional research on aboriginal, out-of-province and international students’ reasons for choosing the U of S, as well as speaking to students who were admitted but chose  not to attend the U of S
  • increased collaboration between the colleges and the Student and Enrolment Services Division (SESD) to develop new recruitment strategies, including holding a recruitment summit
  • the first U of S policy on admission to degree programs
  • streamlined admissions processes, resulting in a 20 per cent increase in offers of admission to prospective domestic students and a 103 per cent increase in offers of admission to prospective international students (as of April, 2010) for the 2010/11 academic year
  • a comprehensive review of scholarships and financial aid to gain an understanding of existing gaps and opportunities campus-wide
  • support for additional capacity for student services in the International Student Office through the implementation plan for the Foundational Document for International Activities*
  • increased collaboration between the colleges and Centre for Continuing and Distance Education to improve students’ ability to move from certificate to degree programs
  • launch of an off-campus and distributed learning project to develop strategies and priorities for ways to expand and improve off-campus and distributed learning
  • introducing bursaries for international graduate students needing additional English as a Second Language (ESL) support
  • online applications for prospective graduate students
  • an on-campus graduate recruitment fair for U of S undergraduates

*supported by the Academic Priorities Fund

Retention Strategies and Initiatives

The University of Saskatchewan will work to retain the students it admits and optimize their success.

Our goal is to ensure that students admitted to our programs have the supports they need to succeed. Initiatives in this area include:

  • learning communities established in the Colleges of Agriculture and Bioresources, Arts and Science, and Kinesiology, an initiative that received new funding last year – 333 students participated in 2009/10 (an increase from 180 in 2008/09)*
  • a formal review of campus-wide advising services for undergraduate students to identify strengths and improve gaps in the system with results and recommendations expected summer 2010* 
  • an external review of College of Arts and Science academic advising and student service offerings with results and recommendations expected in summer 2010*
  • new USSU Advising Award established to recognize outstanding delivery of academic advising and first award given out in 2008/09
  • upgrades to the student online registration system to check prerequisite/co-requisite/equivalencies as students register
  • implementation of the first phase of review of the College of Arts and Science first-year curriculum

*supported by the Academic Priorities Fund

Aboriginal Engagement

The University of Saskatchewan will progress from accessibility programs for First Nations and Métis students towards graduate programs and enhancing community-based research.

This is still much more to be done to ensure that Aboriginal students access the University and achieve educational and personal success. There is also a need to focus on Aboriginal content in programs and on intellectual engagement with Aboriginal peoples and cultures. Work in this area has given rise to:

The Campus Environment for Students

The University of Saskatchewan will improve the academic and non-academic services provided to students and will improve the infrastructure that supports the student experience.

Our goal is to ensure that the range of student services, activities and opportunities reflects the needs and desires of the student body.  Activities in this area include:

*supported by the Academic Priorities Fund