Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Academic Structure Task Force update

Dear Members of the University Community:

The Phase 2 Task Force on Academic Structure would like to update you on our activities in each of the three areas of our mandate: Academic Configuration, Interdisciplinarity, Academic Structural Building Blocks.

Academic Configuration:
  • The Task Force has received 25 submissions from members of the University community in response to its invitation for academic units to submit proposals regarding academic unit alignment at SFU. A summary overview of each of the proposals is available on our website under the category “Academic Structure Working Groups”. We encourage you to find out more about the submissions.
  • The Vice President, Academic is in the process of finalizing membership for each of the 5 working groups that will now begin the task of detailed evaluation of the submissions. Information about each Working Group will be made available on our website as membership is determined.
  • The Task Force will be advising the University community of the planned process forward in the consideration of proposals and will be letting you know about opportunities for discussion with the Working Groups about the proposals. Watch your email for more details within the next few weeks.
  • We will be hosting an “Interdisciplinarity Charette Day” on Friday, March 23, 2007 from 8:30-5:00 followed by a wine and cheese social. This major event will launch our investigations into interdisciplinarity. The interactive day with members of the University community will feature Dr. Roberta Katz, Associate Vice President, Strategic Planning from Stanford University. It will also feature the successes and challenges of interdisciplinarity research and teaching at SFU through presentations by eight SFU faculty. The afternoon will be spent discussing SFU’s ability to support interdisciplinarity and will brainstorm solutions to areas where we encounter challenges.
  • Free Registration for the Charette day is required to facilitate planning of the afternoon break out sessions. To register, please email Sharon Eng at We encourage all members of the University to attend.
  • Once the Charette Day has taken place, the Task Force will be determining its full strategy for exploring the interdisciplinary element of its mandate. We will advise the community of our plan forward.
Academic Structural Building Blocks:
  • The Task Force is still in the process of preparing an information report on the use of academic structural building blocks (i.e. programs, departments, schools, faculties, colleges, centres and institutes) at SFU. The report will be looking at their coherence, roles, responsibilities, functions, administrative requirements, costs, and the extent to which there is administrative effectiveness and appropriate levels of differentiation. The report will also examine how these “building blocks” are used at other institutions. The information report will be shared with the University community. Following a consideration of the report, the Task Force will be outlying its overall strategy for the consideration of this area of its mandate. We have revised the expected completion date for this report to be the middle of July.
Other News:

We thank all individuals who have invested the significant time and work into the preparation of submissions to the Task Force. We look extremely forward to working together with the University community to design a future that will serve us all exceptionally well.

Website and Contact Information:

The Phase 2 Task Force on Academic Structure’s web site is available at:

In addition to the various formal opportunities that will be developed to consult extensively with the University community, we wish to invite you at any time to send us your input, advice and comments. The Task Force can be contacted by email at: or you can contact the Secretary to the Task Force, Sharon Eng, at 604.291.3925


John Waterhouse, Chair, Phase 2 Task Force on Academic Structure
Vice-President, Academic