Academic Agenda Addresses
The Academic Agenda: What Do We Owe Our Students?
March 1, 2000
During the past two years the academic agenda has been focused on the renewal challenge. We have examined and responded to the needs of new faculty, developed staffing plans at the college level, introduced a process for identifying university-wide priorities, and launched systematic program review. Since President MacKinnon’s installation we have increased our attention to the research requirements of a top-flight institution. Our focus, in short, has been on our faculty, their recruitment and their development. The reason is simple: it is the faculty whose efforts sustain the institution and whose accomplishments distinguish it.
In March of last year, the Deans retreated for a day to contemplate the future and discuss the next moves in the strategic development of the University of Saskatchewan. There were many suggestions for new directions, including my own personal favourite, budgetary reform. But the Deans ultimately returned to the goals articulated in A Framework for Planning at the University of Saskatchewan, specifically the goals of improving the quality of our teaching and fostering the teacher-scholar model. They chose to attack these goals through what we ended up calling the student experience.
It was clear that "the student experience" was to be defined broadly. We were not talking only about undergraduates, or only about the classroom. The student experience refers to the way in which students interact with the university in all of its parts, and the results of that interaction.
In June the Deans met again, this time with Aboriginal students and the USSU executive. The discussion identified both long term and short term issues, the latter including the need to permit aboriginal students to self identify so that we might get a better handle on the changing demographic picture of the student population.
In raising the student experience to the level of discussion across the institution the aim is not to displace the renewal agenda, but to add to it. Attention to the renewal of the institution at the level of faculty complement and programmatic focus will continue for a number of years. The purpose of discussing the student experience is simply to acknowledge that in strategic terms, as well as in terms of accountability, the student experience is also a vital component of the health of the institution.
Focussing on the Student Experience
Most of us would agree that responsibility to students is at the core of the university’s mission, but is it at the core of our activities? Many are doubtful. Of the numerous criticisms leveled at universities–unaccountable, coddled, unresponsive–perhaps the one that hurts the most is that we really don’t care about teaching. Another is that we sometimes take advantage of, even exploit, our graduate students. There is a strong sense in some quarters that the university’s research agenda is much more compelling than its teaching agenda. Or, to be a bit more charitable, the University of Saskatchewan, and universities like it, are without the resources to deliver a high quality education to the large number of students who come to our door every September.
It is possible, and understandable, to get defensive in response to these criticisms. I’ve been defensive myself. I have pointed out the time that faculty members devote to teaching–60% according to DesRosiers–talked about the efforts required for preparation, told people about inspiring, imaginative and resourceful teachers that I have known in the hopes that they my be reminded of some of their own. Most important, I point out that the levels of satisfaction detected in surveys are typically very high.
In the case of our own university, the recent survey of alumni, to which 753 people responded, showed a generally positive overall response. Asked "how would you rate your overall student experience at the U of S," 35.2% said "excellent" and 57.7% said "good." Less than 7% said their experience was either "fair’ or "poor." Respondents were a little less generous when it came to evaluating the "usefulness" of their education, but even here over 75% said it was either excellent or good.
At the end, however, I seldom come away feeling that I’ve convinced anyone, even myself, by citing these statistics. There is a strong sense out there that nothing much has changed since the days when our alumni were students themselves, nothing much that is except that the demands of the job market are tougher, the costs of education are higher and the focus of faculty on research is more intense than ever. When asked "What do you think should be the top priorities for the U of S in the next 3-5 years, 72% said "teaching quality," and no other item, including more funding, improved facilities, or accessibility came close.
So let’s suspend, for a moment, the temptation to simply argue that our students, our alumni, and the government have got it wrong and ask ourselves: "What do we owe our students?" Here’s what William Kennedy, former President of Stanford, thinks we owe them:
The commanding feature of …redesigning the university will be the reclamation of its central mission…its improvement must entail putting students, and their needs, first. Once that is done, the rest falls into place…Placing students first is a simple design principle, but it has great power."
What does it mean to put students first, and what gaps are there between our current practices and the "simple design principle" that Kennedy invokes?
It seems to me that if we are to put students first, the very first thing we must do is learn more about them. Like most institutions we have very little collective knowledge of our students. Everyone has stories, and at the college and departmental levels we have statistics, but we have not, at the institution level, made the student body a key part of our planning. And yet how can we plan the institution’s academic future without becoming more self-conscious about our student body and, beyond that, more deliberate in our recruitment and retention practices.
So, let’s take a moment to survey, at a very superficial level, some of the key characteristics of students who attend the University of Saskatchewan.
Who Are Our Students?
First, let’s consider their overall numbers. This graph (Graph 1) will come as a surprise to no one, but it reminds us that beginning in the early 1960s this institution and others like it moved into the era of mass education. Instead of teaching to a handful of the privileged we have become part of a system in which, according to SaskTrends, some 45 percent of high school graduates in Saskatchewan will acquire some kind of post-secondary training.
As this transformation occurred at the undergraduate level, it was accompanied by growth among graduate students, although here the programs are quite uneven across the university and in recent years the numbers in our doctoral programs have been declining (Graph 2). What we have not done, but desperately need to, is agree on the appropriate ratio of graduate to undergraduate students. It is quite incredible that this key defining characteristic of a university has not been the subject of focussed planning.
Similarly, we need to determine if we are going to continue to focus, at the undergraduate level, almost exclusively on students from the province of Saskatchewan. Graph 3 indicates the current picture. It shows, first of all, an overwhelming reliance on the province’s own student body. Is this what we want and if so, how long can it be sustained? The "echo" effect of the baby boom suggests that all of Canada will see an increase in the numbers of undergraduate students from now until about 2010. The big changes will come in Ontario, where the government has just announced a "Superbuild fund" to significantly expand the post-secondary system, particularly in the areas of applied science and engineering.
In Saskatchewan our numbers will increase slightly, but the population mix will change considerably as more and more aboriginal students, we trust, will enroll in the two universities. Of course, there is nothing automatic about that and we could easily find ourselves, like the Maritime provinces, with a net loss of students entering our institutions as other universities across the country grow in size.
As you consider this slide, note as well the slow, but clearly discernible, decline in Saskatchewan students at the undergraduate level, with no obvious increase from any Canadian source. It is likely that part of the reason lies in our growing reliance on international students. In 1990 there were 286 undergraduate international students; by 1998 there were 500. As Graph 4 illustrates, there are now more undergraduate than graduate students from outside of the country, although both groups are currently growing.
Before we leave this issue one other brief observation: the general pattern of increasing female enrollment in post-secondary institutions is reflected in our numbers as well. As Graph 5 shows, there are more and more women enrolled in undergraduate programs, but graduate degrees are still sought after by men to a slightly greater degree.
In short, at the level of basic demographics, things are changing. But even David Foot would concede that demographics aren’t everything. There have also been some attitudinal changes as well, none as important, I believe as the growth in concern among our students for the employment payoffs of a university education.
We have grown used to talking about university education as an investment, but our students got there first. I cannot document this phenomenon, but my strong sense is that students increasingly see university education as a required ticket into the labour market. Universities consistently deny that their function is to meet the needs of the economy, but I believe our students are largely deaf to these protestations. They know, as we do, that those with a university education have lower unemployment rates and higher incomes than high school or college graduates.
This brings me to those things that haven’t changed and the implications for our ability and willingness to "put students first." The main thing that hasn’t changed is the way in which faculty members are trained and the values they bring to the academic enterprise. Virtually all of the faculty members we hire have been trained in the scholarship of innovation. They suspect, correctly, that this is what we value for purposes of career advancement; moreover, innovative scholarship is also what they want to engage in. As a result, the teaching of first, or even second, year students is not an assignment that many of our productive researchers covet.
Not only are many faculty members unwilling or unable to take up this responsibility, many regard it as essentially outside their domain. In his new book, What’s College For?, Zachary Karabell describes the situation in these terms:
"Each day in thousands of classrooms across the country professors and students stare at one another not comprehending the vast gulf that exists between them…That chasm isn’t the function of ideology; it’s a by-product of the culture of academia, a culture that in fundamental ways hasn’t changed in decades, even as the world around undergoes radical transformation."
University administrators, and I include myself in this category, have to share some of the responsibility. We do not make it clear what our expectations are with respect to quality teaching, and we do not have incentive systems that are consistent with those expectations. Kennedy puts the situation this way:
"The public and entering students believe that faculty will be engaged primarily in teaching; not only lecturing but mentoring and counseling as well. In contrast, many of the faculty members believe that their own scholarly work will absorb much, perhaps most, of their time and their intellectual energy."
This problem is seriously exacerbated by the fact that very few of our faculty colleagues have anything approaching professional teacher training. We talk about the academic job as consisting of both teaching and research, but it is research we are trained for, not teaching.
Of course, these are not original observations, but I want to suggest that I think the situation is getting worse. Not that our teaching is deteriorating. There will always be gifted and dedicated teachers, many of them our strongest researchers. In fact, our teaching quality is probably improving. What is getting worse is the division of these worlds. While universities like ours seek to foster the teacher-scholar model, we are seeing, increasingly, the development of research-only positions. The 21st Century Chairs began life in this form. And, on the other side, in some institutions we see the hiring of permanent faculty whose only job is to teach undergraduates.
If Karabell is right, that in the current academic culture a chasm exists between students and professors and between professors and society at large, then if we have any pretensions about creating an academic community, it makes sense to try to close that gap. How do we go about it?
We should start, I think, by asking ourselves: what do we owe our students? And while I appreciate that our students are a heterogeneous lot–different in their motivation for being here, different in their levels of preparation, different in the stage at which they find themselves–I want to argue that we owe all of them three things: a transformative experience, a set of knowledge and skills, and an opportunity to experience the thrill of research. These elements of the educational experience can be blended together in numerous ways, but I do not believe that any of us can afford to concentrate on one or two of them and ignore the others.
We Owe Our Students a Transformative Experience
Let me begin with the transformative experience because of its long and noble lineage as a goal of higher education and because it appears to be given such short shrift by contemporary politicians. Recent remarks by the premier of Ontario and recent decisions by the government of Alberta all reflect a misguided commitment to the rapid acquisition of technical knowledge on the part of students as if this is what education is all about. Not only does this perspective deride the idea of a transformative experience, it promises to short change both students and the economy they hope to contribute to.
I mean by transformative experience what Socrates meant by the opportunity to live an examined life, to know yourself and through self-knowledge to become a citizen of the world. This idea, that a well educated person is a citizen of the world, is a fundamental part of the Western tradition in education. From David Hume and Adam Smith through Emmanuel Kant to American theorists Emerson and Dewey, the idea is that no matter what subject you study, the objective is to obtain a liberal education, that is an education that liberates you from the bondage of habit and ignorance.
According to Martha Nussbaum, you can arrive at this point only by developing a capacity for critical examination of yourself and your traditions, and by cultivating a "narrative imagination," that is the capacity to put oneself in the position of others. We are not talking here about the expression of opinions. You can find opinions everywhere, both inside the university and on TV talk shows. We are talking about nurturing, as Nussbaum puts it, "a life that questions all beliefs and accepts only those that survive reason’s demand for consistency and for justification" (p. 9).
Are students ready for this? Well, Peter Emberley tells us they are. In his recent book, Zero Tolerance he describes university students in these expansive terms:
Every fall one hundred thousand new students arrive at Canada’s universities. They are curious and intellectually hungry; they have known or are hoping to know love; they fear or are indifferent to their gods; many have seen or heard about death; individually, they are tasting of that absolute freedom which is given to human beings to enjoy; they have all suffered some injustice at the hands of the stronger; they have encountered mercy and charity and forgiveness; they have nearly all appreciated in one form or another the essential mystery of being. Their longings are beautiful, inchoate, passionate and sometimes dark.
This may be true, but it is extremely difficult even for these highly sensitized students to cultivate humanity, come to know themselves and ultimately become citizens of the world.
There are many reasons that students have difficulty managing this transformation, but I’m afraid that one of them is that we in the university do not take the task as seriously as we should. For one thing, we are inclined to see the student largely as the object of our teaching efforts, as someone who exists primarily if not exclusively in our classrooms and laboratories. But this is only part of a student’s life. As we confront the challenge of on-line education, universities like ours, that rely heavily on a residential experience–that is actually being here, on this complex, diverse and beautiful campus–cannot afford to neglect the health care needs of students, or their financial problems, or their need for day care support and counseling.
The university years are a time of sacrifice, turbulence, confusion, experimentation and utter joy. Not all of this occurs in the lecture hall, yet all of it is important for a transformative experience and we at the University of Saskatchewan need to pay particular attention to what is going on. Our retention rates are surprisingly poor and I don’t believe that all of our problems involve an inability to grasp the material being presented in lecture theatres.
We must also accept the fact that we ourselves often pay lip service to the idea of transformation while concentrating attention on imparting the details of our own discipline. John Dewey recognized this general tendency when, in 1915, he wrote that, "Each generation is inclined to educate its young so as to get along in the present world instead of with a view to the proper end of education: the promotion of the best possible realization of humanity as humanity. Parents educate their children so that they may get on; princes educate their subjects as instruments of their own purposes." One might add that faculty members educate their students to be like themselves. Not necessarily a bad formula, but not one premised on the need for students to engage in self discovery.
Now in case this be taken as an attack on the imparting of skills and knowledge as a proper object of education, let me assure you that it is not. In fact, I believe that in addition to a transformative experience, we owe our students just that: knowledge and skills
We Owe Our Students Knowledge and Skills
This observation may seem so obvious that we can pass over it quickly, in silent agreement. But I want to pause for a moment and emphasize that the transformation that I spoke of before is not antithetical to the study of a particular subject in depth or to the acquisition of specific problem solving and writing skills. That too may seem obvious, but I’m not entirely sure that it is.
A key part of transformation is the process of submitting oneself to the rigor of study and the requirements of a discipline. While transformation requires breadth, specifically the ability to see and then reach beyond your own limited experience, it also requires depth, the ability to master a subject matter and, in the end, to actually know something about something.
Again, this may seem obvious, but consider that the something referred to here is often the very custom and habit that we are supposed to overcome through the development of our critical capacities. This may seem paradoxical, but to be critical about something we must have some knowledge about it. Education is not simply process it is also content. The mere expression of opinion is not a substitute for rigorous study and understanding.
The danger here is not that we fail to appreciate this, but that we are casual about exactly what it is that we expect our students to know. It is only in the last few years that faculty have begun to stipulate clearly the learning objectives of a course or identify the skills that should be acquired. Whether we are prepared to acknowledge it or not, there is an implicit contract between professors and students, one that is becoming increasing explicit as students in some institutions have taken to suing their universities for failing to provide them with the basic skills and knowledge that their degrees suggest they have.
There is more. As the idea of a contract between professor and student becomes increasingly part of our approach to higher education, the temptation exists to provide students with what they want, often with material that is less challenging and requirements that are less threatening to their ability to acquire a credential. The dumbing down phenomenon is sometimes attributed to the lack of preparation of students, but I think we should also be concerned about the effect that competition for students is having on standards.
Competition is likely to heighten as we are obliged to pay closer attention to the costs of programs and the demand for them. Overall, this is not a bad thing, but the danger is that we will all find ourselves in a gigantic prisoner’s dilemma game in which personally we wish to maintain our academic integrity, but we are concerned that others will compromise on theirs and we will end up being played for suckers.
I’ve said before that the most effective way to overcome these situations is through the development of social capital, the ability to trust one another. And in this case that can only happen when we develop a forum for the ongoing discussion of the purposes of undergraduate education.
Finally on the topic of knowledge and skills I want to suggest that we need to reexamine our general predisposition to argue that we are not preparing students for the world of work. While it is true that this is not the reason universities exist, it is not reasonable to suggest that the knowledge and skills we seek to provide need not pass any test of usefulness. This is not the only test, by any means, and not even the most important test, but there is nothing wrong with arguing that the discipline and knowledge gained from close study of the humanities and sciences, for example, is of enormous advantage in the economy? After all, we have nothing to be ashamed about in this regard. Our students do exceptionally well in the labour market and I dare say it is largely because of our efforts. Contemporary mythology to the contrary, students do not teach themselves. They are human, which means they often resist hard work, but they respect those who insist on it.
What we need to do is ask ourselves whether we are actually doing enough when it comes to preparing students for their inevitable confrontation with the world of work. I realize that in the professional colleges this may not be taken as a serious problem, but even here I have questions about the extent to which we should be investing more in experiential learning–co-op experiences, internships–and in the career preparation of our students. I am not talking about career counseling, I am talking about making sure that students understand the skills they will need in the economy and that we understand how well we are providing them.
It is easy to agree with the general statement that universities owe their students knowledge and skills, but harder to fulfill that requirement on anything other than a discipline basis. We should be prepared to take some collective ownership of our curriculum and be willing to state explicitly what it is our students will know and what it is they will be able to do when they graduate with our degrees.
We Owe our Students a Research Experience
Both the transformation of students and their acquisition of skills and knowledge come together in the research university only if students, and I’m really talking about undergraduate students here, experience research. We owe them that experience. After all, they put up with a lot to attend a university like this one. They face large classes, teaching assistants who are not always able to assist, and faculty who sometime give the impression that they would rather be in the lab, in the library or on the lecture tour than in front of the class.
The issue of the quality of undergraduate education in research institutions has been broached by the Boyer Commission in the United States, and while I have misgivings about some of their recommendations, I think it would be useful to share with you their sense of what needs to be done. The Boyer Commission, a blue ribbon panel drawn from some of the best research institutions in the country, has argued that research institutions have a special responsibility to undergraduate education, a responsibility these institutions have not been discharging. They write:
America’s research universities have been superbly successful; in ways innumerable and immeasurable they have been the wellsprings of national stature and achievement. But in the education of undergraduates the record has been one of inadequacy, even failure…Captivated by the excitement and the rewards of the research mission, research universities have not seriously attempted to think through what that mission might mean for undergraduates.
Is this indictment too harsh? Maybe it only applies to American institutions and not our own?
One way to get a sense of where we stand on this matter is to consider some of the Boyer Commission’s proposals for connecting the teaching and research functions at universities like ours. Ask yourself how we would stack up against these Boyer requirements:
- Make research based learning the standard. The Commission wants inquiry-based courses, problem-based learning, freshman seminars. In each setting, research has to be featured is some way. How will we know if this is happening? Research based learning occurs, says Boyer, when undergraduates work with primary materials. The lecture format was created when books were scarce and expensive. That has changed. By senior year the student should be ready for research at the level of a first year grad student. If we are having difficulty getting students to the frontiers of knowledge in four years, maybe its because we don’t get them started on research early enough.
- Construct an Inquiry-based Freshman Year The first years are often the most formative but also the least satisfactory in terms of curriculum and pedagogy. According to Boyer, general education requirements are a thing of the past, and should be reintroduced. The freshman experience needs to be an intellectually integrated one, so that students do not learn, so automatically, to think in terms of disparate, disconnected requirements..
- Build on the Freshman Foundation. The middle years will be difficult if they return the student to the remote lecture format. Hopes are raised, then dashed. Boyer wants mentors, a "junior paper" for everyone and inquiry-based learning as the standard in all classes. Key to this element, Boyer believes, is the development of a long-term mentorship program. They write, "…every student at a research university should be able to feel that some faculty member knows and appreciates that student’s situation and progress and is ready to help that progress by setting standards to be met and by offering advice, encouragement and criticism."
- Remove Barriers to Interdisciplinary Learning. The Boyer Commission sums up the situation this way: "The principal barrier to interdisciplinary research and study has been the pattern of university organization that creates vested interests in traditionally defined departments." True, all programs and activities have to belong somewhere, but students are asked to choose a discipline whether or not the standard organization of knowledge fits their interests. Boyer wants interdisciplinary courses as part of all Colleges.
- Culminate with a Capstone Experience. Too many students, it is said, report a sort of anti-climax in their senior years: more courses and its over. Some universities now insist that every student must have a capstone experience, a senior seminar, thesis, project, performance, internship or field work. All of this must be on a topic appropriate to the student’s major and in some universities efforts are made to connect senior students up to projects that are supported by private, voluntary and public institutions. For those who are considering graduate school, this course should be a bridge; for those entering the workforce, this course should focus on problem solving and team work that professional situations require.
These are powerful ideas. They are also expensive in terms of time and energy. What should we be doing at the University of Saskatchewan? Boyer has some interesting ideas; do we have any of our own?
What Should We Do At the University of Saskatchewan?
- We should find ways of recognizing and rewarding the teacher-scholar. By recognizing I mean working with each faculty member to establish a teaching-research balance that is appropriate for them and the stage of their career. By rewarding the teacher-scholar I mean special merit awards for those who manage the "teacher-scholar" model and an explicit move away from teaching awards and research awards toward an amalgam of the two.
- We should find a way to get all new faculty involved in the activities of the teaching and learning centre. Time is often set aside to assist new faculty to launch their research careers. We need to do the same with teaching. Not that new faculty are necessarily poor teachers; often it’s quite the opposite. In fact we need to capitalize on their enthusiasm and their knowledge. And where necessary our seasoned and accomplished teachers should be available to provide some mentorship.
- I think we need to develop a much richer idea of what "teaching" is. We should be acknowledged for developing new courseware, designing new programs, for introducing inquiry based courses. All of this should be recognized in the university standards and everyone should be encouraged to develop a teaching dossier that reflects their contribution to the teaching enterprise, broadly defined.
- We need to develop college-wide, or if possible university-wide teaching evaluations. The quality and number of teaching evaluations that are performed and shared with collegial committees is really scandalous. In too many departments and colleges the onus seems to be on the individual faculty member to collect information. It is time that we took greater responsibility as an institution, something unlikely to happen unless Council mandates teaching evaluations in all classes, no exceptions.
- Speaking of Council, surely it is time to fashion a forum in which the quality of undergraduate education can be of constant concern. I’ve said before that we are organized to process curriculum changes; we are not organized to discuss the quality and future of the student experience. We could start with some of the Boyer recommendations. They have been in the public realm for a number of years and at some institutions they fhave formed the basis for a total reevaluation of the curriculum. They would be a good starting point for us.
- We also need to take seriously the views of students on the experience they have while they are here. Far too many students drop out and, frankly, I’m not sure why. We need to do what Stanford did in the early 1990s: form focus groups, learn what students appreciate, what they feel is not working. I’m not talking about ceding decision-making power, I’m talking about listening to those on whose behalf we claim to be fashioning the curriculum.
- We must do something to address our retention rate. Last year Vera Pezer’s office, experimented with University 101, a program that drew first year students together once a week to discuss both academic and para-academic issues. Senior students acted as "coaches" and the task was to assist in mastering the transition to university. This is precisely the type of experimentation that is required if we are going to create a student experience in which success is within the reach of all of our students.
- Inside the classroom our courses need to identify clearly the learning objectives and skills that are to be acquired. This kind of discipline is appropriate for faculty and should form part of the implicit contract that exists between instructor and student. Students need to know precisely what this course is intended to achieve, what they will know at the end of it, and what kinds of things they will be ready to do next. In this regard all instructors should bear in mind the Guidelines passed by Council last year in which it clearly states that students should consider the course outline as a contract that describes course objectives.
- One of our key learning objectives as an institution should be the linking of communication skills and course work. According to Boyer, "The failure of research universities seems most serious in conferring degrees upon inarticulate students. Every university graduate should understand that no idea is fully formed until it can be communicated…" Students think of composition as a boring English requirement rather than a life skill. I am afraid that w may be too willing to forgive grammatical errors and blunders of composition. Donald Kennedy makes the following observation:
[N]o more vital skill is taught in the university than the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. If we cannot make that our business across the curriculum, we just aren’t fulfilling our role as faculty members.
- We should expand significantly our co-op and internship programs. This is difficult, expensive and time-consuming, but these programs build bridges to the community so that employers, who are also taxpayers and citizens, understand us better. Most important, internships and coop programs provide students with experiences they can bring into the classroom. We can’t shrug our shoulders about this any longer. We need to build on the beginnings in Engineering, Agriculture and Arts and Sciences. Co-op won’t work in all programs and it’s not for everyone, but I am not persuaded that we presently have made the optimal investment.
- Finally, we should look for ways of reducing faculty commitment to committee work. Maybe this strikes you as something that doesn’t belong in the list, but I am convinced that if we take the teacher-scholar model seriously, something has to give. Faculty members work incredibly hard. Most of them are overworked by just about any standard. To ask for greater attention to the teaching enterprise and the student experience without sacrificing their research program, something has to give. I suggest that something be our self-imposed shackles of administration. Fewer committees, fewer meetings. That should be a goal for all of us.
Last year I had the chance to teach a third year class consisting of about twenty students. With a mind somewhat addled by administration, I decided to try my hand at PowerPoint as a medium and to hand out copies of the slides at the beginning of class. All of this was quite new to me. I also decided to try problem-based learning, something I had never attempted before. This turned out to be a very challenging experience, one in which I had the opportunity to confront my limitations as a teacher.
Teaching is difficult, good teaching especially so. As we rebuild the foundations of a research intensive university, we must remember that we are also rebuilding the foundations of a first class teaching institution. Over the next two or three years, the student experience will feature more prominently on campus. You will hear about enrollment planning, I will press for a thorough evaluation of our first year curriculum, we will open the Teaching and Learning Centre, and the students themselves will offer the campus an exciting new proposal for a student centre. The academic agenda at this university consists of both research and teaching. In the next few years it will be our job to make sure that both parts of this agenda prosper and develop together.
For further information, contact please contact Pauline Melis at (306) 966-8488 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.