Administration re-vamp

While summer landscapers and construction workers improve the University of Calgary’s external appearance, the university’s internal administration is also receiving a facelift.

Recent changes to the administration resulted in the creation of four vice-provost positions–graduate education, international, libraries & cultural resources and students–under the jurisdiction of provost and vice-president academic Dr. Alan Harrison.

President Dr. Harvey Weingarten believes the changes will improve the university.

“To be fair, [the administration was] highly fragmented,” he said. “What this structure does is bring together things so they can work together more efficiently.”

While these appear to be brand new positions, all except the vice-provost international were created as the result of an internal shuffle.

The position of vice-provost students, which will be taken over by Ann Tierney Aug. 1, will replace the position of special advisor to the president on student life. Weingarten explained the vice-provost students will focus on all aspects of the student experience, from recruitment to orientation programs.

“It brings together a lot of offices that tended to operate in an isolated way,” he said. “They have now been brought together to provide more efficiency, more ease of contact for students and better service for students.”

Students’ Union president Julie Bogle is pleased with the creation of a new administrative position dedicated to undergraduate students.

“It’s a positive step as it’s showing the university’s commitment to the undergraduate experience,” she said.

Dr. Frederick L. Hall was appointed vice-provost graduate education and will also hold the title dean of graduate studies. Harrison explained the title of vice-provost was added to stress the university’s increased emphasis on graduate studies. Harrison also noted director of information resources Tom Hickerson’s title was changed to vice-provost libraries and cultural resources.

Any issues relating to international students, both visiting and abroad, will now be the responsibility of the new vice-provost international Dr. Tim Goddard. Previously, those issues were dealt with by the VP research and international. Harrison explained international issues were distributed across a number of different portfolios, and were not coordinated as well as they could have been.

“This new position represents the consequence of a consolidation of all the different portfolios,” he said.

Although the details of his job are still emerging, Goddard said his number one priority is a centralized documentation system for all groups related to international students.

“We’ve got so many international things going on across campus,” he said. “I’m going to try and get a sense of all those things and weave them together.”

Only one of the new positions has resulted in the creation of a new salary and Harrison does not believe they will significantly impact the administration’s operating costs.

“There were already salaries associated with all the provosts other than the international,” he explained. “And this salary is competitive for the position.”

Weingarten admitted the previous administration structure was outdated in comparison to other research universities and explained that recruiting Harrison in 2005 was a key part in the reconstruction.

“What [Harrison] is doing by design and by expectation is bringing the academic administration of the U of C in line with what you would expect to see with a university of our size and scope,” said Weingarten.

Harrison believes the outdated structure was a result of the U of C’s rapid transformation into a large, research focused university.

“The U of C has come a long way in a pretty short time–40 years,” said Harrison. “Sometimes when you come that far that fast you don’t attend to things that you should.”

Other administrative changes within the last year include the assignment of deputy provost to associate VP academic Robert Woodrow, as well as the change of title for VP research and international to VP research, which will be assumed by Dr. Rose Goldstein on July 1.

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