Transforming Communications: U of A for Tomorrow
Communications > Communications Initiatives (More Than 25 Staff)
Best of CASE District VIII Award
Institution: University of Alberta
Title of entry: Transforming Communications: U of A for Tomorrow
About this entry: In February 2020, the University of Alberta learned that its public funding would be cut by 33% over 2.5 years. While increases in tuition mitigated the impact, the university still needed to reduce administrative costs by $130 million. To deal with this unprecedented financial challenge, the university launched U of A for Tomorrow (UAT) in June 2020, the largest restructuring effort in its history which aimed to transform both the institution’s academic and administrative structures. Success depended upon extensive consultation and engagement of faculty, staff and students, as well as a clear, consistent and transparent communications campaign.
Communications and change management planning took place in the summer of 2020. The plans included a combination of communications and engagement activities, including virtual town hall events for key stakeholders (staff and faculty members, students, and alumni), weekly updates to the faculty and staff newsletter, a robust, dedicated website, leadership toolkits to ensure consistent messaging, and the establishment of staff consultation groups.
Two years later, after extensive consultations, the university community collaboratively created and began implementing a new operating model which includes the establishment of three new colleges and the centralization of six streams of administrative services. Every unit and office of the university has been impacted, old and new processes and systems mapped and redesigned, and hundreds of people transitioned to new roles and responsibilities. The university has also met its legislated requirement of maintaining a balanced budget, significantly reducing costs and avoiding deficits on both a consolidated and operating basis.