UCN cutting more senior positions to comply with mandate to reduce administrative costs 15%

University College of the North (UCN) announced Oct. 1 that it will reorganize its senior administration by reducing the current four vice-presidents who report to president Doug Lauvstad to one vice-president of academic and research and a chief administrative officer.

The school will also create a dean of students to help create individual learning plans and increase graduation rates, as well as an associate vice-president of access to emphasize academic upgrading for Northern Manitobans who want to prepare for further education and employment. The associate vice-president of the College of Trades and Technology is being rebranded as the associate vice-president of community and industry solutions to consolidate activities related to Indigenous strategy and community and industry development.

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Responsibility for ongoing programming offered by the College of Trades and Technology will be transferred to a dean and UCN’s regional centres will focus on basic education and community access to post-secondary programs.

“Through the Manitoba Colleges Review, UCN was clearly told that its approach was not meeting the needs of our students, industry, or Indigenous and northern communities,” said Lauvstad in a press release. “In making these changes, UCN is proactively redefining its approach to organizing and delivering education in the north. The organizational redesign is based on the numerous and extensive consultations that have occurred over the past 12 months that have involved many internal and external stakeholders. This reorganization will help to ensure that UCN has a better approach to meeting the education and training needs of Northern Manitoba.”

Planning for the changes will take place throughout this school year and they are expected to be mostly implemented by April.

“The new organizational structure ensures that UCN places even greater focus on student success and outcomes at UCN,” said vice-president academic and research Dan Smith. “The redesigned model ensures that priorities such as Indigenization, commitment to community and connection to industry are integrated into academic and research planning, development, and delivery on an ongoing basis, creating greater coherence in academic priority-setting at UCN.”

The administrative restructuring comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that former Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak grand chief Sheila North Wilson would take the lead in creating a new Centre for Indigenous Community Development, which aims to provide First Nations with resources for economic, cultural and social development through the school’s Thompson and The Pas campuses.

Three senior positions at University College of the North (UCN) were eliminated in April and June and four other employees took voluntary buyouts or were not replaced upon resignation over the 2017-18 school year.

The positions of dean of trades and technology and human resources and training co-ordinator were eliminated in April. The latter was vacant at the time while the trades and technology dean position was eliminated after UCN had met all its obligations to the person in the position and their duties were inherited by the associate vice-president of the College of Trades and Technology. When the director of career and workforce development retired in June, their job duties were reassigned to other positions in the College of Trades and Technology.

The moves were made as the post-secondary institution sought to meet the provincial government's demand to reduce administrative costs by 15 per cent.

UCN said Oct. 1 that its new administrative structure would have five fewer senior administration positions, a 25 per cent reduction compared to the 2017-18 school year.

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