Athabasca University: The future starts now

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Athabasca University The Future Starts Now Neil Fassina Dr. Ken Coates

Athabasca University The Future Starts Now Neil Fassina Dr. Ken Coates

[from L to R) Dr. Ken Coates; Margaret Mrazek, Interim Board Chair, Athabasca University; Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education; Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University [photo courtesy of Alberta Advanced Education, 2017]

On Thursday, January 19, the path forward for AU became a little bit more clear — and that much more bright.

Athabasca University, in partnership with the Athabasca University Board of Governors and the Government of Alberta — respectively represented by their leader stakeholders — gathered at AU’s Edmonton offices to announce the next steps in reaching the university’s financial sustainability.

Effective immediately, is the enacting of a third-party reviewer to ascertain potential long-term sustainability options for AU.

The partnering trio, comprised of AU President Dr. Neil Fassina, AU Interim Board Chair Margaret Mrazek, and Advanced Education Minister Hon. Marlin Schmidt, introduced Dr. Ken Coates, from the University of Saskatchewan, to lead the review process through to its final report. The report will be delivered to the Alberta government and to the AU Board of Governors at the end of April.

Schmidt, a long-standing champion of Athabasca University, extended his vote of confidence with respect to the institution’s latest initiative which follows on the heels of a spate of forward-moving measures.

“Athabasca University has a proud history – both as a public university and as a community anchor for the Town of Athabasca,” Schmidt addressed the audience at the announcement.

We are committed to working together to determine a long-term plan that ensures AU continues to deliver high-quality, relevant learning opportunities for Alberta students.”

Athabasca University The Future Starts Now Neil Fassina Dr. Ken Coates, Edmonton Journal, CBC News, EJ, CBC

Watch an Edmonton Journal interview with Dr. Ken Coates who speaks to the mandate he’s been tasked with.

For further details of Athabasca University’s recent announcement, please see following Media Release.

News and Events from Athabasca University

 

 

 

Media Release

January 19, 2017

Athabasca University is pleased to announce the appointment of an independent third party reviewer that will examine and assess potential options for the long term sustainability of the university within the communities it serves and the post-secondary system.

The Athabasca University Board of Governors and the Government of Alberta have worked together jointly to develop terms of reference for the review, which guided the selection of the third party. The review will consider financial and academic impacts of various sustainability options and identify potential impacts on students, faculty and the community through a consultative process.

Dr. Ken Coates has been contracted to undertake this review.  Dr. Coates is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and Director, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development at the University of Saskatchewan. In 2015, Coates was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is well versed in the development of considered policy which directly connects rural, remote and northern communities and regions with universities, governments and business in responding creatively to global opportunities.

“Athabasca University has a proud history – both as a public university and as a community anchor for the Town of Athabasca.  We are committed to working together to determine a long-term plan that ensures AU continues to deliver high quality, relevant learning opportunities for Alberta students.”  Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Coates to undertake this review. The Board is committed to working with the ministry in ensuring that Athabasca University has a plan for sustainability that confirms the long term viability of the University within the community and Campus Alberta.”

Margaret Mrazek, Interim Board Chair, Athabasca University

“We look forward to working with Dr. Coates during his review and are committed to transparency and communications with AU staff, students, and stakeholders throughout the process. I look forward to a path which ensures students have confidence in and access to the quality education they deserve.”

Dr. Neil Fassina, President, Athabasca University

The first step of Dr. Coates’ work will include developing a consultation plan. Students, faculty, staff and municipal partners will have an opportunity to provide input during the review.

A report to government and the Board of Governors will be delivered by April 30.