The following was delivered at our Summer 2013 Faculty Council meeting as part of my State of the Faculty Address.
Thank you for being here today – and let me begin this address as I have for each of my nine years in this role - by thanking you for the honour of being your Dean. It is a role that I continue to enjoy. I have enjoyed 2012-13 as much as I have any other year. It has been a great year for the Faculty – and I am excited about 2013-14.
I want to begin by thanking our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and community supporters for their support and encouragement. I believe that we are on an impressive trajectory – and the future – while challenging – is extremely bright for our Faculty and respective fields of study.
We are viewed as a very strong, progressive faculty on the Western campus.
I would like to specifically thank the Associate Deans:
- Kevin Wamsley Associate Dean – Undergraduate Programs: Kevin is a strong and accomplished leader who does a marvellous job in overseeing the undergraduate programs in the Faculty as well as our FHS International, Teaching Awards, and Scholars Electives program in the Faculty. We are attracting the best and brightest as reflected in the application data (about 10:1), the cut-off averages and the number of scholarship winners we attract – including a record number of Presidents Scholarships for 2012-13.
- Jan Polgar - Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs: As you know, Jan used to look after these programs and the research enterprise – and due to their exponential growth - we partitioned the role into two positions on July 1, 2012. Since 2004 our master's programs have grown by 54.9% and our doctoral programs by 170.6%. Application numbers are very strong in our graduate programs – and these applicants are earning prestigious scholarships like the Vanier Scholarships.
- Helene Berman – Associate Dean – Research: We’ve moved from 174 active research grants in 2004-05 to 340 today. Our research income has grown from just under $3M in 2004-05 to $6.87M today. Our Tri-Council performance has outstripped the U13 averages. However, the pressure is to increase performance even more as an institution.
I’d also like to acknowledge and thank the contributions of the School/Program Directors:
- Dan Belliveau – Acting Director of the School of Health Studies
- Tom Overend and Deb Lucy, Director/Acting Director of the School of Physical Therapy
- Mary Anne Andrusyszyn, Director of the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing
- Earl Noble, Director of the School of Kinesiology
- Thelma Sumsion, Acting Director of the School of Occupational Therapy
- Marilyn Kertoy, Acting Director of the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders
- Andrew Johnson - Chair of the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program
This is a fabulous group of individuals who lead their units as well as help lead the Faculty - please join me in thanking them.
I also want to thank the Dean's Office Staff for their tireless efforts and support - and extend thanks to both Wanda Chebott and Krys Chelchowski whom I work most closely with.
We’ve had many things go well for us this past year and have many reasons to be optimistic. For example:
- We are completely in sync with the strategic direction of the University – and it is helping re: distribution of scare resources at the University (like the 2012-13 budget process)
- We will break ground later this year on the construction of a $14M Nursing Building - to open January 14, 2014
- Five CFIs awarded in the most recent competition and we lead on a $1.9M CFI – NCA (Prudy Allen and colleagues) and co-lead another $3.36M CFI – MSK – tri leaders (Trevor Birmingham and colleagues)
- Our students approved a student fee that their student leaders will deploy to enrich the student experience
- We hosted Margaret Trudeau as the 6th FHS Distinguished Speaker – and welcomed her back when she received an Honorary Degree that we nominated her for
- Former Chancellor – and great friends - Arthur and Sonia Labatt were honoured by the University – Honorary Degrees.
- Each and every one of the IQAP reviews were positive and conformational
- WE Speak Results speak to an engaged and spirited Faculty
- We have significantly advanced our international and alternative delivery portfolios – and the prospects for greater prosperity in these areas are very bright.
- Hosted the 6th Annual Parkwood/FHS Research Conference – Health Innovation and Technology
- Partnering with our sister Faculties – courses for our students - Ivey – Health Innovation and Leadership; Law – Health and Law; Schulich – Health Leadership and Change
- Community outreach – student led LIT (200 school children), FHS United Way campaign – 45,000.
- Mustang Athletics – tied with the University of Alberta – for #1 position - # of times our men’s and women’s varsity teams finished the season ranked in the Top 10 in the Country
- Appointment of Ruth Martin – heading up our FHS Partnership and Innovation area
- Internal awards – Lynn Shaw – Faculty Scholar, Jenn Irwin – USC Teaching Award – and external awards – Don Patterson (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s Honor Award)) and Debbie Rudman – Society for the Study of Occupation’s highest prize)and Therese Quigley earned one of the YMCA Women of Influence Awards.
- Our programs that are attracting the best and brightest - with demand far exceeding capacity – Fall Preview Day and MBOH – record numbers of attendees – awards – OGS, Vanier Scholarships, President’s Scholarships – cut off averages at the top – or near the top of the university
- Kinesiology Graduate Harley Pasternak was the University’s choice to deliver the Last Lecture speech to all graduating students.
- We are set to open the new FHS Health Promotion Laboratory – a core lab facility that will serve our members well
We remain firmly committed to providing the best student experience among Canada’s Research Intensive Universities - I believe we are doing it - as do members of central administration - and hopefully you do as well.
I want to thank you for your support over the nine years. I also want to thank you for your contributions to last year. It was a great one.
This is not to say that we don’t have our challenges. We do.
The competition for the best students is acute. We have to keep the hammer down on program design, competitive support programs and effective program promotion\
We are in uncertain times – relatively new people in key roles – Decanal team almost completely turned over. New strategic plan will be coming out soon. University making clear choices.
Western is losing ground on the research file – will be a high priority going forward.
The government is preaching restraint. We are in a state of cautious optimism. We weathered the budget cuts of four years ago - and we will weather future hardships as well.
Our priorities continue to be:
- Advance our teaching, research and service missions in ways consistent with those outlined above.
- Ensuring our Schools are well positioned for growth and prosperity (leadership succession plans/programs in place, Elborn and rest of Thames Hall modernized, and we now have new space for the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing
- Work to make the Faculty of Health Sciences a “top of mind” Faculty for support, best practices (leadership and management), government consultations, \
- Increase the Research Chairs/Awards including the Hellmeth, Distinguished University Professors, Honorary Degrees, 3M Award winners.
- Continue to liaise with our sister Faculties in areas of mutual benefit.
It continues to be an honour and pleasure to serve as the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western. I believe that we have accomplished so much – together – in a relatively short period of time. Our progressive programs are in high demand by potential students. Societal realties make our Faculty an undeniable area for growth and prosperity – if we are strategic, focussed and committed – and we are – and will be.
I appreciate your contributions and I appreciate your support.
I hope this gives a glimpse into what was a very successful year in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
Yours in health,
Professor and Dean