University’s health faculties see benefits of amalgamation


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Medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, all located on the Bannatyne campus of the University of Manitoba, are showing a strong interest in combining into one new faculty under the university's plans to reduce to about 13 faculties from 20.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/07/2012 (3973 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, all located on the Bannatyne campus of the University of Manitoba, are showing a strong interest in combining into one new faculty under the university’s plans to reduce to about 13 faculties from 20.

But the first report from vice-president academic Joanne Keselman also says three other health sciences faculties located on the Fort Garry campus — nursing, human ecology and kinesiology and recreation management — are still thinking about it.

“No options or proposals are on the table yet,” Keselman said, after five months of widespread discussion and consultation across the campuses. “We’re only going to be moving forward where it makes sense,” she emphasized.

President David Barnard announced in January that U of M will move towards the average number of faculties for major Canadian universities by 2017, beginning with health science faculties.

Keselman said there is a wide variety of such faculties across Canada — some have comprehensive health sciences, some have separate medical and dentistry, and pharmacy is separate in some.

Talks so far among health sciences staff show there are academic benefits and “better use of our existing resources,” she said.

Keselman said current faculties being on separate campuses should not affect whether they ultimately become amalgamated. “It’s not like these campuses are miles apart,” she said.

Barnard expects to hear a proposal or set of options on health sciences by Dec. 31, she said.

“Certainly, the president’s call to the university community has resonated,” and people are talking about the process across campus, but other faculties won’t be part of the discussion this year, she said. “I’m quite excited about the interest in this initiative.”

Brandon University president Deborah Poff went through a similar reduction of faculties when she was at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.

“There’s two reasons to do this,” said Poff — to save money and to “create interdisciplinary clusters where people work together in interesting new ways.”

UNBC went from five faculties to two interdisciplinary clusters, she said.

Some academics “worry that if they get amalgamated, their discipline will count less,” she pointed out.

Brandon and the University of Winnipeg are far smaller than U of M and lack its professional schools, so they are unlikely to change their structures.

Brandon has six faculties. Because of its small size, BU has no associate or assistant deans, and there are no savings to be made by reducing faculties, Poff said.

In larger schools, “There’s a certain amount of labour when it comes to managing faculties,” Poff said.

U of W has seven faculties, and no plans for changes, said an official.

“As for an “ideal number,” a university’s faculty structure should relate to the university’s distinct mission and will differ from university to university,” said a U of W official.

“For example, some universities have separate faculties of arts (or humanities) and social sciences, while others have an integrated faculty of arts including both,” she said.

Decision on named faculties

remains at discussion stage

WHAT happens to University of Manitoba faculties named after multimillion-dollar donors when the school reduces 20 faculties to 13?

Business and environment are named after Izzy Asper and Clayton Riddell, respectively, who gave $10 million each, and music after Marcel Desautels, who gave $20 million.

“Named faculties are certainly part of the discussion,” said John Danakas, director of marketing and communications. “We can’t know where it might end up. It will make sense for the university, and the donor will still be recognized.”

Danakas said if a named faculty is amalgamated, the donor’s name could go on the new faculty or on a school within that faculty.

“I was made aware they were streamlining. The conversation never got around to that faculty that bore my name,” Riddell said from Calgary. “I’ve had no further conversations.”

Riddell said he told U of M president David Barnard in January, when Barnard called l to inform him about the upcoming changes, that Barnard should expect problems selling reductions to his top brass, just as Riddell has had with “shrinking” his energy companies.

“They would have a lot of trouble, not with me, but with the hierarchy of a number of departments,” Riddell said.

“I’m sure they’ll treat all the donors with respect,” said Riddell.

Desautels said in a recent interview he expects the music faculty bearing his name to remain a separate faculty.

The Asper family could not be reached.

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