The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Medical college restructuring gets green light

By in News
The new Academic Health Sciences building on the corner College Drive and Wiggins road.
The new Academic Health Sciences building on the corner College Drive and Wiggins road.

University Council voted at its late December meeting to push through a sweeping plan to restructure the College of Medicine. The plan, titled “A New Vision for the College of Medicine,” was designed with consultation from both faculty members and university administrators.

The new structure will split the college into three departments — research, education and “faculty engagement”— each with its own vice-dean.

The concept closely resembles the original restructuring plan put forward by Brett Fairbairn, university provost and vice-president academic, and former dean of medicine William Albritton, in April 2012.

The hope is the new structure will boost research performance at a medical college that notoriously under-performs when it comes to research output and graduate exam testing compared to other major colleges.

“I have declared the College of Medicine to be my number one priority,” University of Saskatchewan President Ilene Busch-Vishniac told council Dec. 20.

[box type=”info”]Click here to view our complete timeline of coverage of the medical college restructuring process.[/box]

“‘A New Vision for the College of Medicine’ shows great promise to solve the issues we currently face regarding accreditation, research outcomes and streamlining service with the health regions. Securing and ensuring the excellence of our undergraduate medical program is the first step in realigning the priorities of the college with a new vision, a vision that will rebalance the teaching and research mission of the college.”

The plan also received wide support in December from the college’s faculty council, which strongly opposed earlier plans.

Now the school must convince accreditors — expected back on campus in March, exactly two years after their first visit — that changes to its governance model are set in motion. If so, it can avoid probation.

An advisory committee to the dean, along with many working groups, will be tasked with developing a strategy to implement the plan.

The first monthly progress report is due in April, with the full implementation plan required by Aug. 15, 2013. Changes to the college will begin in September.

“Our College of Medicine helps define the identity of the University of Saskatchewan and allows us a place among Canada’s U15 — the country’s top 15 research-intensive institutions,” Busch-Vishniac continued in her address to council.

“This is a prestigious position and one we must appreciate. The people of this province have invested a great deal in this institution. With Council’s positive decision today, I have confidence that the new vision, along with focused effort toward its successful implementation, will allow the College of Medicine to take its rightful place as the flagship of the University of Saskatchewan.”

Photo: Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf

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