TransformUS non-confidence motion defeated at U of S
U of S restructuring process debated by academic council
A motion of non-confidence in the University of Saskatchewan's TransformUS initiative was defeated Thursday, by a vote of 42-18.
The motion was brought before the University Council, the group that oversees the institution's academic affairs.
TransformUS is an effort launched last year to restructure the university's programs in the midst of budget cuts totalling $44 million.
Not everyone on campus was pleased with the recommendations that emerged, and how they were arrived at them.
During a discussion lasting more than an hour Thursday afternoon, some speakers expressed mistrust in the TransformUS process.
Others argued it was better for faculty members to take part, because at least then they would have input into inevitable budget-cutting decisions.
In an interview following the vote, the university's provost and vice-president academic, Brett Fairbairn, acknowledged that TransformUS was not a perfect process.
"But I think what I also heard was the dominant theme that University Council wants to work with the University in finding solutions, and I'm very pleased with that," Fairbairn said.
Veterinary Professor Claire Card was among those who spoke in favour of the non-confidence motion.
She told reporters the wrong criteria was used to recommend which programs should be axed.
She said too much weight was given to enrolment levels, and not enough to the intrinsic value of a program.
"Let's say for example society wants composers, or society wants nuclear physicists, we're only going to need so many elite individuals," Card said. "But we need to have these programs that lead to that pathway of excellence. And that is achieved only through having some programs with small enrolments."
The TransformUS recommendations will go into an implementation plan to be presented "on or about May 1", Fairbairn said.