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Thread: Retiring U of A president reflects on the highs and lows of her 10 years at the helm

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    Default Retiring U of A president reflects on the highs and lows of her 10 years at the helm

    Retiring U of A president reflects on the highs and lows of her 10 years at the helm
    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/...955/story.html

    EDMONTON - The University of Alberta could still make it into the top 50 in the world, but it’s short about 500 professors to meet the standard, says retiring university president Indira Samarasekera.

    The 2008 global financial crisis, budget cuts and other factors deterred the U of A’s ambitious goal to join three other Canadian universities in the world’s top tier, Samarasekera said this week.

    It could still happen, she said, but it will take commitment from the new provincial government.

    McGill in Montreal and the University of British Columbia are in the top 50. The University of Toronto is in the top 20.

    Putting the U of A in the top global tier was Samarasekera’s major goal in her 10 years as president. She leaves June 30 for the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC.

    She revealed for the first time that a major stumbling block was the shortage of professors, a problem dating to the Klein era when the doors were thrown open to more students, “but no faculty were hired,” she said.

    UBC, with about the same student population, has about 500 more professors, she said.

    “I made the case many times and people were interested,” she said, adding it’s a big commitment.

    “If, over four years, we had invested in professors, we could have been in the top 50. It’s a missed opportunity.”

    Still, Samarasekera is pleased the U of A has moved up in rankings to 84th from 96th place in the top 100 world universities. It is consistently named in the top five universities in Canada.
    She mentioned some other hits from the province, including Redford's surprise cuts and the demise of both the Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Capital Health Authority
    You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea. - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Very much looking forward to the new President, perhaps he will be more present.
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    Always ironic to hear Samarasakara complain about funding. Her of the audacious spending on anything other than actual classroom instruction and when she did her penchant for attracting "Rock Star" Professors that made several times what a normal prof got paid.

    Would love to see some numbers on overall pay for Professors at U of A vs UBC. I bet the amounts are a whole lot more similar than would be indicated from numbers of professors.

    U of A went too far in elitist direction imo during this tenure.



    Heres a recent list on what respective Universities pay professors. Given that the U of A on average pays profs much more than UBC that could be considered a reason why UBC has more profs/student body. Just a thought... Another is how the U of A figures it has to pay somebody more here than UBC needs to pay profs who require lucrative pay to even get by in the lower mainland which has out of control housing costs.

    http://www.macleans.ca/education/uni...est-to-lowest/

    I should also mention here that professors are paid higher in Canada from coast to coast than almost anywhere else in the world. Which is again odd as Canada is a top draw to begin with.

    Anyway things will almost certainly change at the U of A top as another head rolled recently when Doug Goss, an ardent Samarasakara supporter made his incredulous comments during the provincial election. Virtually no credibility would be remaining with the U of A board if Goss or Samarasakara carried on.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/board...623/story.html

    I can't even imagine a University where administration warns people to vote for parties on the right.

    This is Canada? lol Of course Goss has long PC ties and is an ardent supporter and has been involved as chair in their election campaigns so his comments were hardly surprising.

    Can't wait for there to be less political corruption of everything in this province.

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    Last edited by Replacement; 20-06-2015 at 12:07 PM.
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    Maybe if Samarasakara wasn't a rockstar paid administrator three would be more money for Profs.

    http://www.macleans.ca/education/uni...resident-make/

    This actually doesn't fully report her earnings and benefits which have been estimated to be up to 1M in some years.

    http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-...lls-for-review

    This is also funny and points out what a joke this U of A bloated administration was.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/ca...administrators

    Lets not forget this was a U of A admin that was constantly crying poor and they needed more funding as they astronomically raised student tuition, cut funding, and raked in their own earnings.

    Any mention of the U of A asking for more funding in present times should only be met with laughter. Until a more austere admin is established.
    Last edited by Replacement; 20-06-2015 at 12:47 PM.
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    The highlight of her UofA career to me is this resignation.

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    I didn't mind her tenure. Did alright.

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    Thought she did a good job.
    Not like any of you could have done better. If so, you would have had her job
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post


    Heres a recent list on what respective Universities pay professors. Given that the U of A on average pays profs much more than UBC that could be considered a reason why UBC has more profs/student body. Just a thought... Another is how the U of A figures it has to pay somebody more here than UBC needs to pay profs who require lucrative pay to even get by in the lower mainland which has out of control housing costs.

    http://www.macleans.ca/education/uni...est-to-lowest/
    This isn't surprising, as it's a rather average (barely top 100) university in the middle of nowhere, plagued by an an awful climate and set in a city with very little international prestige...

    Similar reasons as to why people in many other professions can demand higher wages to come and work in the region.
    "The only really positive thing one could say about Vancouver is, its not the rest of Canada." Oink (britishexpats.com)

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    So someone must be paying you a fortune, or you would be back in jolly old heavenly England.

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    And yet so many people are moving here and working for minimum wage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Thought she did a good job.
    Not like any of you could have done better. If so, you would have had her job
    Impossible... I'm not a woman, an engineer, or a visible minority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Thought she did a good job.
    Not like any of you could have done better. If so, you would have had her job
    Impossible... I'm not a woman, an engineer, or a visible minority.
    that's a succinct petty, sexist, and racist comment rolled all in one. Congratulations on finding a twitter-style minimum number of words to reach every low one could possibly reach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post


    Heres a recent list on what respective Universities pay professors. Given that the U of A on average pays profs much more than UBC that could be considered a reason why UBC has more profs/student body. Just a thought... Another is how the U of A figures it has to pay somebody more here than UBC needs to pay profs who require lucrative pay to even get by in the lower mainland which has out of control housing costs.

    http://www.macleans.ca/education/uni...est-to-lowest/
    This isn't surprising, as it's a rather average (barely top 100) university in the middle of nowhere, plagued by an an awful climate and set in a city with very little international prestige...

    Similar reasons as to why people in many other professions can demand higher wages to come and work in the region.

    This isn't really accurate. As little as a decade ago U of A was among the lower paying top universities. its only since they've had the elitist administration that they've gone in a different direction. Namely that the U of A went full bore into hiring supposed "Rock Star" Professors, a concept duly criticized wherever it takes place and that has not at all been related to quality of education but rather quality of arrogance and conceit.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

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    There isn't much of a unified voice there. The Deans run the show, which leads to inefficiencies and unnecessary overlap. The (acting) provost is left alone to make them all get along like some type of de-clawed kitten because the President is MIA.
    $2.00 $2.25 $2.50 $2.75 $2.85 $3.00 $3.20 $3.25

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    Quote Originally Posted by grish View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Thought she did a good job.
    Not like any of you could have done better. If so, you would have had her job
    Impossible... I'm not a woman, an engineer, or a visible minority.
    that's a succinct petty, sexist, and racist comment rolled all in one. Congratulations on finding a twitter-style minimum number of words to reach every low one could possibly reach.
    Except as someone who represents an organization like the U of A, those were all things that would have got a big +++. Maybe not PC, but correct all the same.

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    Nothing to do with PC... Let me recap:

    You suggest that she was selected because
    1. ...she is a woman, not because she is qualified.
    2. ...an engineer, not, say, sociologist and not becuase she is qualified.
    3. ... she is of a certain race, not because she is qualified
    4. ... the people making the selections have no personal integritiy and chose someone with inferior qualifications because she is a woman, engineer, and a visible minority.

    However, if you look at her credentials, at least on paper she is more than qualified.

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    During her tenure teaching positions were cut and tuition went up. Not overly impressed with that.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    To be partially fair, High Ed also suffered through Thomas L as the higher ed minister with all the bright ideas that went with that disaster. And, all the universities and colleges across canada went through similar cost-cutting measures. But, sure, she could have taken a more thoughtful approach with that and the bigger support for some of the social science disciplines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grish View Post
    Nothing to do with PC... Let me recap:

    You suggest that she was selected because
    1. ...she is a woman, not because she is qualified.
    2. ...an engineer, not, say, sociologist and not becuase she is qualified.
    3. ... she is of a certain race, not because she is qualified
    4. ... the people making the selections have no personal integritiy and chose someone with inferior qualifications because she is a woman, engineer, and a visible minority.

    However, if you look at her credentials, at least on paper she is more than qualified.
    Where did I say she wasn't qualified? I just said those are some qualities/characteristics that also made her a quality candidate, and likely played a part in why she got the job. Engineering brings in donations, a woman as president is a symbol for social equality, as is being a visible minority.

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    Here:

    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Thought she did a good job.
    Not like any of you could have done better. If so, you would have had her job
    Impossible... I'm not a woman, an engineer, or a visible minority.
    You undermined all of her qualifications by suggesting the only reason she got the job is due to her being a woman, engineer, and a visible minority. You suggested that if she wasn't, she would have been passed over for one who is.


    and, you continue to do it... She is well qualified for the position, and that is all that needs to be said.
    Last edited by grish; 21-06-2015 at 09:01 PM.

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    Hmmm, if I were on the hiring committee and had it narrowed down to a white man with a PhD in education or Indira with her background in engineering, being a visible minority and obviously a woman, otherwise being equally qualified, I would hire her over the other guy for those specific characteristics that give her an edge too. You're deluded if you think those things don't play a role in it all. Perhaps they don't get discussed openly in the middle of meetings between hiring committee members, but they do happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etownboarder View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Thought she did a good job.
    Not like any of you could have done better. If so, you would have had her job
    Impossible... I'm not a woman, an engineer, or a visible minority.
    You can ever so slightly try to justify your words, but you disagreed with the possibility that a better qualified individual would not have been given the job because of Dr. Samarasekera's gender, degree, and ethnicity.

    Now, you have amended the "better" with "equal"... Keep going...

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    Meh, whatever dude. The points I am making now still apply.

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    Oh yay, another poster witch hunting on a Sunday night on c2e.

    What a friendly forum this is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    So someone must be paying you a fortune, or you would be back in jolly old heavenly England.
    I do OK, plus I was talking specifically about Edmonton - check my location in my sig...

    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    And yet so many people are moving here and working for minimum wage.
    I specifically mentioned "professions", not casual labour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Oh yay, another poster witch hunting on a Sunday night on c2e.

    What a friendly forum this is.
    Depends if you are the hunter or the hunted.
    Just go along for the ride, it usually ends badly.
    Gone............................and very quickly forgotten may I add.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post


    Heres a recent list on what respective Universities pay professors. Given that the U of A on average pays profs much more than UBC that could be considered a reason why UBC has more profs/student body. Just a thought... Another is how the U of A figures it has to pay somebody more here than UBC needs to pay profs who require lucrative pay to even get by in the lower mainland which has out of control housing costs.

    http://www.macleans.ca/education/uni...est-to-lowest/
    This isn't surprising, as it's a rather average (barely top 100) university in the middle of nowhere, plagued by an an awful climate and set in a city with very little international prestige...

    Similar reasons as to why people in many other professions can demand higher wages to come and work in the region.

    This isn't really accurate. As little as a decade ago U of A was among the lower paying top universities. its only since they've had the elitist administration that they've gone in a different direction. Namely that the U of A went full bore into hiring supposed "Rock Star" Professors, a concept duly criticized wherever it takes place and that has not at all been related to quality of education but rather quality of arrogance and conceit.
    The outcome of this policy may not have been what was envisaged, but my point still stands. To get what are perceived to be top profs/professionals to come to Edmonton over many, many other cities (for the reasons mentioned above), takes a lucrative financial incentive.
    "The only really positive thing one could say about Vancouver is, its not the rest of Canada." Oink (britishexpats.com)

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by expat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post


    Heres a recent list on what respective Universities pay professors. Given that the U of A on average pays profs much more than UBC that could be considered a reason why UBC has more profs/student body. Just a thought... Another is how the U of A figures it has to pay somebody more here than UBC needs to pay profs who require lucrative pay to even get by in the lower mainland which has out of control housing costs.

    http://www.macleans.ca/education/uni...est-to-lowest/
    This isn't surprising, as it's a rather average (barely top 100) university in the middle of nowhere, plagued by an an awful climate and set in a city with very little international prestige...

    Similar reasons as to why people in many other professions can demand higher wages to come and work in the region.

    This isn't really accurate. As little as a decade ago U of A was among the lower paying top universities. its only since they've had the elitist administration that they've gone in a different direction. Namely that the U of A went full bore into hiring supposed "Rock Star" Professors, a concept duly criticized wherever it takes place and that has not at all been related to quality of education but rather quality of arrogance and conceit.
    The outcome of this policy may not have been what was envisaged, but my point still stands. To get what are perceived to be top profs/professionals to come to Edmonton over many, many other cities (for the reasons mentioned above), takes a lucrative financial incentive.
    The kind of profs I consider topnotch aren't as endowed to the highest bidder and jumping to relocate on the dollar, just saying.

    heh, I'm nave and believe in a greater calling than its just all about money.

    Never much liked the rockstar prof concept for that reason alone. Although now I'm far from alone in critiquing the outmoded concept. Even profs passionately dislike the term and conceit involved. Best way to become a professorial pariah is to be highest paid, plus that its by and large grass is greener profs from elsewhere getting the big coin.

    Not an isolated shell game either. The trick to being seen as a high priced expert is "not to be from around here" No matter where here is...

    Nothing wrong with recruiting the brightest minds from within. In fact I would prefer that approach.

    Too much common sense there though, the brightest minds we don't know from elsewhere must always be better choices...
    Last edited by Replacement; 21-06-2015 at 10:32 PM.
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