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University of Laval

University of Alberta

The University of Alberta (U of A) is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1908 by Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first premier of Alberta and Henry Marshall Tory, its first president, it is widely recognized as one of the top universities in Canada. The university's current enrolment is over 36,000, placing it among the five largest universities in the country. The main campus covers 50 city blocks with over 90 buildings directly across the North Saskatchewan River from downtown Edmonton.

The continued economic boom in Alberta, driven mainly by high energy prices, has resulted in multi-billion dollar government fiscal surpluses. This has led to the introduction of Bill 1 by the provincial government, which promises to create a $4.5 billion endowment for Alberta's post-secondary institutions. Given the rosy economic conditions in Alberta, it has been suggested that as the University of Alberta enters its second century it should aim to be one of the top twenty universities in the world by the year 2020.

History and Overview

Early history

The University of Alberta, a single, public provincial university, was chartered in 1906 in Edmonton, Alberta with a new University Act. University of Alberta was modelled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research.

University of Alberta is a non-denominational university which offers undergraduate and graduate programs. With the hiring of Henry Marshall Tory in 1907, the University of Alberta started operation in 1908 using temporary facilities, while the first building on campus was under construction.

In a letter from Henry Marshall Tory to Alexander Cameron Rutherford in early 1906, while he is in the process of setting up McGill University College in Vancouver, Tory writes "If you take any steps in the direction of a working University and wish to avoid the mistakes of the past, mistakes which have fearfully handicapped other institutions, you should start on a teaching basis." The Act creating the university had been passed two years earlier in the first session of the new Legislative Assembly, with Premier Alexander C. Rutherford as its sponsor.

The governance was modelled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the 2 bodies and to perform institutional leadership.

It awarded its first degrees in 1912. In 1912 the university established its Department of Extension. In the early part of 20th century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced. In 1929, the university established a School of Education. In 1932, the University Department of Extension established the Banff School of Finer Arts.

The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society. In 1966, the University of Alberta introduced a masters program in community development.

The single-university policy in the West was changed as existing colleges of the provincial universities gained autonomy as universities - the University of Calgary was established in 1966. The University of Alberta first offered programs of study at Calgary in 1945 and continued until 1966 when the University of Calgary was established as an autonomous institution.

Location

The location of the university was to be decided along the same lines as that of Saskatchewan. (The province of Saskatchewan shares the same founding date as Alberta, 1905.) Saskatchewan had to please two competing cities when deciding the location of its capital city and provincial university. Thus, Regina was designated the provincial capital and Saskatoon received the provincial university, the University of Saskatchewan. The same heated wrangling over the location of the provincial capital also took place in Alberta between the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. It was stated that the capital would be north of the North Saskatchewan River and that the university would be in a city south of it. In the end the city of Edmonton became capital and the city just south of the river, Strathcona was granted the university, much to the chagrin of Calgary, for many years to come.

Meanwhile, in 1912 the two cities of Edmonton and Strathcona were amalgamated under the name of the former; Edmonton had thus became both the political and academic capital, at the expense of Calgary. This was just one act in a larger rivalry between the two cities, often called the Battle of Alberta.

Faculties

In 1913, a medical school established at the University of Alberta in Edmonton was opened. By 1920, the university had six faculties (Arts and Sciences, Applied Science, Agriculture, Medicine, Dentistry, and Law) and two schools (Pharmacy and Accountancy). It awarded a range of degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA), Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Pharmacy (PhmB), Bachelor of Divinity (BD), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), and Doctor of Laws (LLD). There were 851 male students and 251 female students, and 171 academic staff, including 14 women.

Newspapers

The university has two main newspapers, Folio and The Gateway Folio is the official newspaper published by the "Office of Public Affairs" every two weeks from September to June. The Gateway is the official student newspaper. Fully autonomous, it publishes "most Tuesdays and Thursdays".

The university also has the independent newspaper The Gold Standard

Radio

In 1927, the university established the CKUA Educational radio station.

Book publishing

The University of Alberta Press, which was founded in 1969, concentrates on western Canadian history, general science and ecology. The University of Alberta Press publishes an average of between 20 and 30 books per year, often accepting submissions from across Canada for over 50% of the publications. Their current active title listing has more than 150 books, as of 2007.

Academics

Profile

The U of A has approximately 36,000 students, including 6,000 graduate students and 2,000 international students representing 110 countries. The university has 3,353 academic staff along with about 6,000 support and trust staff. University professors have won more 3M Teaching Fellowships (Canada's top award for undergraduate teaching excellence) than any other Canadian university, 28 awards since 1986. The university offers post-secondary education in about 200 undergraduate and 170 graduate programs. Tuition and fees for both fall and winter semesters are slightly more than $5,000 for a typical undergraduate student, although they vary widely by program. The University of Alberta switched from a 9-point grading scale to the more common 4-point grading scale in September 2003.

Faculties and colleges

The university has eighteen faculties and two affiliated colleges.

Library system

The University of Alberta library system , received a tremendous boost with the opening of the Rutherford Library in May 1951, and now has one of the largest research libraries systems in Canada. As of 2004, according to the Association of Research Libraries, the library system is the second-largest, by the number of volumes held, among all Canadian universities, after the University of Toronto Library. In 2006, the university library was rated 20th in North America by the Association of Research Libraries (up from only 28th a year earlier). With over 5.7 million printed volumes combined with online access to more than 400,000 full-text electronic journals and more than 600 electronic databases the library system ranks first in Canada in terms of the number of volumes per student.

Specialty libraries

The library system comprises the following libraries:

  • Augustana Faculty Library
  • Bibliothèque Saint-Jean
  • Book and Record Depository (BARD)
  • Cameron Library (Science & Technology)
    • Knowledge Common
  • H.T. Coutts Library (Education & Physical Education)
  • J.A. Weir Memorial Law Library
  • J.W. Scott Health Sciences Library
  • Dr. Josephine M. Mitchell Mathematics Library
  • Rutherford Library (Humanities & Social Sciences)
    • Bruce Peel Special Collections Library
    • Data Library
    • Music Listening and Reserve
  • St. Joseph's College Library
  • Winspear Business Reference Library

School of Library and Information Studies

The university is also home to a School of Library and Information Studies. Notably the school offers a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree, accredited by the American Library Association, and is hosted in Rutherford South, the original four story brick, marble, and oak main campus library, opened in 1951.

Research overview

Housing over 400 distinct research laboratories, the University of Alberta is one of the leading research universities in Canada. The university is a member of the G13 universities, which are the leading research universities in Canada. In the period from 1988 to 2006, the University of Alberta received about $3.4B for research from external sources, with $404M in 2005-2006 alone. The University of Alberta is consistently ranked among the top research universities in Canada.

Notably the University of Alberta is also the national scientific and administrative headquarters for:

Medical research

Medical researchers are developing the Edmonton Protocol, which is a new treatment for type one diabetes that enables diabetics to break their insulin dependence. The project was originally developed by Drs. James Shapiro, Jonathan Lakey, and Edmond Ryan. The first patient was treated in 1999. As of 2006, the project is developed through the Clinical Islet Transplant Program

Biomedical research

Biomedical researchers, headed up by Michael Ellison have initiated a project to model Eukaryotic cells in detail, called Project Cybercell

Nanotechnology research

In June 2006, a new 120 million dollar building for the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) was opened on campus. The NINT complex is one of the world’s most technologically advanced research facilities, housing the quietest, and cleanest, laboratory space in Canada. NINT occupies five floors of the new building with the top two floors being reserved by the university for nanotechnology-related research. Recently some staff members have been jointly recruited by the NRC and the University of Alberta.

Other

Aboriginal

The University of Alberta provides services to Aboriginal people in more remote communities. University of Alberta provides special first-year bridging programs for Aboriginal students. The University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Blue Quills First Nations College was developed in partnership with specific Aboriginal communities to meet specific needs within Aboriginal communities. The Faculty of Native Studies at University of Alberta was designed to meet the knowledge needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The University of Alberta reaches into Aboriginal communities to talk to potential students at a much younger age through its Summer Science Camps for Aboriginal high school students.

Reputation

The University of Alberta consistently ranks as one of the top universities in Canada.

Best overall

In its 2006 survey, Maclean’s, a leading Canadian news magazine, rates the University of Alberta the best overall by National Reputational Ranking. The top five in this category were:

1) University of Alberta 2) University of Waterloo

3) McGill University

4) University of British Columbia

5) University of Toronto

It should be noted that the University of Alberta (along with 22 other universities) has declined to participate in the 2006 Maclean's annual university rankings issue, due to concerns that past rankings have been inaccurate.

Top 5

Webometrics Ranking of World Universities in 2007 rates the top 5 Canadian universities (world rankings in brackets):

1) University of Toronto (28)

2) University of British Columbia (49)

3) University of Alberta (59)

4) Simon Fraser University (69)

5) University of Calgary (50)

Newsweek (International Edition) in 2006 rates the top 5 Canadian universities (world rankings in brackets):

1) University of Toronto (18)

2) University of British Columbia (31)

3) McGill University (42)

4) University of Alberta (55)

5) University of Waterloo (84)



The Times Higher Education Supplement in 2007 rates the top 5 Canadian universities (world rankings in brackets):

1) McGill University (12) 1) University of British Columbia (33)

2) University of Toronto (45)

3) University of Montreal (93)

4) University of Alberta (97)

Research Infosource in 2006 ranks the top 5 Canadian universities by research criteria: 1) University of Toronto

2) Université de Montréal

3) McGill University

4) University of Alberta

5) University of British Columbia

University Report Card

The Globe and Mail's University Report Card reflects the opinions of 32,700 current undergraduates who responded to some 100 questions about their respective universities. The University of Alberta received high (A- and above) grades in the following categories:

  • overall academic reputation of the university, reputation of university among employers, reputation for conducting leading-edge research, reputation for undergraduate studies, reputation for graduate studies



  • overall quality of education, faculty members' knowledge of subjects
  • overall university atmosphere, sense of personal safety/security, tolerance for diverse opinions/ideas, availability of quiet study space, overall library, library services, online library resources, availability of journals/articles/periodicals, total number of library holdings, computer accessibility on campus, availability of up-to-date computer equipment, on-campus network for Internet/email, overall quality/availability of technology on campus, access to course/teaching materials online

Campuses

The university has several distributed campus facilities including, other than the Main Campus, two auxiliary satellites; Campus Saint-Jean in east Edmonton, and Augustana Campus in Camrose. An extensively renovated and refurbished Hudson's Bay department store in downtown Edmonton, renamed Enterprise Square, serves as a campus for adult students belonging to the Faculty of Extension. Notably the university owns a set of large parcels of undeveloped land (currently used as an experimental farm) slightly south of the main campus, called South Campus, in which an entire new university complex will gradually be constructed of similar magnitude to the Main Campus.

North Campus

Also known as Main Campus, the North Campus is the original location of the University of Alberta. It is located on the southern banks of the North Saskatchewan River. It has 145 buildings on 92 hectares of land.

A satellite view of the main campus can be seen on Google maps

Architect Barton Myers completed the long-range campus plan in 1969 and continued as a planner for the University until 1978.

Campus Saint-Jean

The Campus Saint-Jean is a francophone campus located about 10 km east of the main campus, in Bonnie Doon. It is the only French-language university campus west of Manitoba. Due to increasing enrolment, the Campus Saint-Jean is currently undergoing expansion, acquiring new laboratory and classroom spaces. Students at Campus Saint-Jean currently may pursue Bachelor's degrees in the sciences or arts, or complete their first year of Engineering, after which they often transfer to the University of Alberta's main campus.

Augustana Campus

The Augustana Campus is located in Camrose, a small city in rural Alberta about 100 km southeast of Edmonton. In 2004, the former Augustana University College in Camrose merged with the University of Alberta, thus creating the new satellite Augustana Campus. Students enrolled at the Augustana Campus currently may pursue four-year Bachelor's degrees in arts, sciences, or music.

Enterprise Square

Enterprise Square opened for business January 15, 2008 on the north side of the North Saskatchewan river in downtown Edmonton. It is located in the historical building previously occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company. The building underwent major renovations. Currently, Enterprise Square houses the Faculty of Extension, the professional development activities of the School of Business, the Alberta Business Family Institute, and the Design Gallery. It is also the new home of the University of Alberta Alumni Association.

Future campuses

The University of Alberta has future plans for one more Edmonton campus. The South Campus is much larger in terms of land area and located two kilometres to the south of the Main Campus, with a convenient high speed link via Light Rail Transit (projected to open in April 2009). The transit station will be near the current Foote Field and Saville Sports Centre, forming a natural gateway to the new campus architectural model. Preliminary long range development thinking for South Campus implies it may become an expanding academic and research extension of the Main Campus, with rapid development over the next few decades. New architectural guidelines, differing from the Main Campus might encourage a somewhat more consistent, high quality, aesthetic architectural style. As there is a large expanse of land available, significant green space will be incorporated to provide a park like context overall.

Construction

As part of the University of Alberta's expansion, several construction projects have recently been completed on campus, and many more are either in the process of being completed, or are slated to begin in the near future. Expansion of the already extensive facilities of the University of Alberta Hospital is also included in current construction projects. Many of the new buildings recently completed now stand where either older university buildings once stood, or on former parking lots.

Centre for Interdisciplinary Science

One of the major projects underway is the construction of a new $180 million state-of-the-art facility, scheduled for completion in 2010 and to be known as the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science (CCIS), a facility for interdisciplinary research groups, as well as the Department of Physics. Three buildings - V-Wing (a large one-floor building composed of 10 lecture halls, of which two will remain), the Avadh Bhatia Physics Building (a six-storey building formerly housing the Department of Physics offices and laboratories), and the old Centre for Subatomic Research - have been demolished to make way for CCIS. Many of the classes and labs that were held in these buildings have now been relocated to other new or recently renovated buildings, such as the building now known as the Civil Electrical Building (CEB), which currently holds the Department of Physics offices, undergraduate labs, and classrooms, plus the first phase of the CCIS facilities which presently house the Condensed Matter labs.

The Edmonton Clinic

Construction on a new $909 million multidisciplinary health science facility, surrounding the new Health Science LRT Station, will be starting in early 2008. The Edmonton Clinic (formerly the Health Science Ambulatory Learning Centre) is a joint project with Capital Health, and consists of two separate buildings. Edmonton Clinic South will focus on patient care and house most of the medical and dental clinics, while Edmonton Clinic North will focus on research and education currently held at the university.

Health Research Innovation Facility (HRIF)

Two new buildings adjacent to the Heritage Medical Research Centre building on the main campus will contribute to research by allowing the university to hire over 100 additional biomedical and health researchers, this is projected to result in a doubling of research funding by 2014.

Student life and Residences

Student Bodies

In 1946 the university student council met to consider possible blueprints for a new building, including a large auditorium, during a time when veterans were returning to complete their interrupted studies. The new building was financed by a series of mechanisms, and the completed structure, after a series of additions, now with the large auditorium, named after Myer Horowitz, opened in 1967.

The Students' Union Building (SUB) has been expanded twice since its original construction. It holds a number of services and businesses owned and operated by the Students' Union as well as services owned and operated by the University of Alberta, including the University Bookstore.

Undergraduate and graduate students' organizations are registered with the Students Union (SU) and Graduate Students Association (GSA) of the university.

Residences

The University of Alberta offers a wide range of residences on its campuses.

While a majority of the university's students live off-campus, a significant number of students from outside Edmonton in early years of their post secondary education opt to live in residences operated by the university's Residence Services

  • Lister Centre is a large residence complex, located in four towers, mainly occupied by first and second year students. It provides an excellent full care boarding package, with hospitality programs to help integrate new students into university life. The complex offers a large number of furnished single and double dormitory style rooms with common kitchens and living areas. There is a large scale cafeteria, in the central building of the complex. It is the largest residence on campus with a population of 1800.
  • HUB International houses a combination of international students and Canadians with a selections of very high quality bachelor suites and also single, double and quadruple bedroom apartments. The 957-foot long design, by architect Barton Myers, became a prototype for cold Canadian climates. It is the second largest residence on campus with a population of 850. The official student group for HUB Residents is the HUB Communication Association (HCA) HCA Website
  • International House is a new residence specifically designed for international students and a few Canadian students, interested in living with international students. It offers modern well equipped single bedrooms with common kitchens and living spaces, both furnished and unfurnished.
  • Newton Place is a high rise offering older students an apartment-style facility. As of July 2008, several units are infested with bedbugs. Over the next few months, Residence Services has contracted Ecopest Inc. to spray the complete building in an attempt to eradicate them.
  • East Campus Village comprises houses and walk-up townhouses, offering older and married students a modern multi-room facility.
  • Michener Park Offers older students another apartment-style facility.
  • St. Joseph's College Residence operates an all-male residence, independent of the university's official residence service.
  • La Résidence Saint-Jean operates a modern apartment style, French language oriented, residence with state of the art Internet access on Campus Saint-Jean, about six kilometers east of the Main Campus.
  • Augustana Faculty Residences comprise two distinct compounds. The 300-room First Year residence complex is similar in style to, although much smaller than, Lister Centre, and is comprised entirely of double rooms. Across a small ravine from the rest of the campus there is another compound of seven smaller buildings (six residences and a common area) known collectively as the "Ravine Complex" that house almost exclusively upperclassmen. The Augustana Faculty is the only faculty in the University with a residence requirement whereby, with certain exceptions, all students are expected to spend their first year in residence on campus.

Athletics

The University of Alberta is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Alberta Golden Bears (men's) and the Alberta Pandas (women's).

Alberta Pandas

The Pandas are a dominant force in women's university hockey. As of November 2006, they have won the Canada West Conference 7 times in the 8 year history of competition. In addition, they have claimed the national championship five times in the last seven years. Their gold medals come in 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2000. They also boast a pair of silver medals (2005, 1999) since the inception of the CIS championship in 1997-98. When the Pandas lost the CIS championship game in March 2005, it ended a 110-game undefeated streak (109-0-1).

The Pandas volleyball team are perennially national contenders. They last claimed the national championship after beating Laval University 3-1 in March 2007. They previously won 6 national titles in a row beginning in the mid 1990s.

Alberta Golden Bears

The Golden Bears hockey team has played in the CIS University Cup finals, winning an unprecedented 13 times. Every fall the team plays against the Edmonton Oilers rookies. In 2006 they lost 6-3, ending their five game winning streak against the rookies.

Fight Song

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation, and athletic games are: 'University of Alberta cheer song' with words by R.K. Michael and music by Chester Lambertson; 'The Evergreen and Gold' (1915) with words by William H. Alexander and sung to the Russia national anthem; and 'Quaecumque vera,' with words and music by Ewart W. Stutchbury.

Ring out a cheer for our Alberta A song of praise to Varsity. For the splendour of our mountains Our prairies green and gold. Ranked beneath whose glowing colours, Thy legions march enrolled. Our memories will live forever Beloved University. We will fight for thee and cheer And ever hold thine honour dear. Our Alma Mater U of A Green and gold! Quaecumque Vera! Guide us through each coming era, Guide us on through battle gory To a new and greater glory.

Distinguished University of Alberta people

Current faculty

  • Edward D. Blodgett , distinguished author and researcher in comparative literature, religion and film/media
  • Jillian Buriak , distinguished nanotechnology and chemistry researcher
  • Michael Ellison , distinguished biomedical researcher
  • Murray Gray , distinguished chemical engineer and researcher of oil sands upgrading, director of the The Centre for Oil Sands Innovation.
  • Jonathan Locke Hart , writer, literary scholar and historian
  • Greg Hollingshead, Canadian novelist and professor of English
  • Michael James , distinguished biomedical researcher
  • W. Andy Knight , distinguished author
  • Richard McCreery , distinguished nanotechnology and chemistry researcher
  • Adam Morton , distinguished philosopher and member of the Royal Society of Canada
  • David Schindler , distinguished ecology pioneer
  • James Shapiro, distinguished medical researcher
  • Brian Sykes , distinguished biomedical researcher

Past faculty

  • William Hardy Alexander , one of the first four professors and university historian
  • Olive P. Dickason - Professor Emeritus and distinguished author
  • John B. Dossetor, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Bioethics
  • John E. Foster , historian and distinguished author
  • Juliet McMaster , professor emeritus and distinguished author
  • Larry Smillie professor emeritus and distinguished biomedical researcher
  • Henry Marshall Tory, first president, founder of three universities, the Alberta Research Council and National Research Council of Canada

Alumni

Academics

Authors

Politicians

Other notable alumni

Honorary degree recipients

Historians of the university

  • William Hardy Alexander, The University of Alberta: A Retrospect 1908-1929
  • Walter Johns , History of the University of Alberta
  • John Macdonald, The history of the University of Alberta, 1908-1958
  • Rod McLeod, History of the University of Alberta 1908-2008 (work in progress)
  • Scott Rollans 'Echoes in the Halls: An Unofficial History of the University of Alberta' (Association of Professors Emeriti of the U of A, University Of Alberta, November 1, 1999)
  • Ellen Schoeck, I Was There: A Century of Alumni Stories about the University of Alberta, 1906–2006

References

See also

External links

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