Message from the Interim President: Winter Semester Update
The following message was also distributed to faculty, staff, and students by email on February 6, 2024.
Dear Members of the University Community,
I would like to begin by expressing gratitude to those in Facilities Management, IT Systems and Services, Residence Services, the Atlantic Veterinary College, and other areas, who have been tirelessly and, in some cases, working around the clock throughout the storm to keep campus safe and necessary operations running.
I also thank everyone who provided feedback in the Action Plan process. Much of the feedback mirrored what was received from the Action Plan Advisory Group and during the townhall and listening sessions held from September to November. We are continuing to follow the critical path outlined on the website, with additional development steps at the Senate and Board level to take place soon.
I am grateful to the Government of Prince Edward Island for providing some funding to implement early steps within the Plan. There are significant additional resources required. This coupled with the uncertainty created by the recent federal government announcement regarding caps on international student enrolment is creating challenges and uncertainty in our budgeting processes for 2024–25. Despite the challenges, we will continue to work collaboratively with our federal and provincial government partners to ensure that we can continue to support our UPEI mission. This year’s budget process has involved substantial consultation with the University’s various administrative and faculty units. The needs are great and the capacity very limited. We will rely on the priorities outlined in last fall—employee support and student success—as we continue to develop our budget.
Development of the Faculty of Medicine continues and accreditation planning is progressing well. UPEI will initially be a regional campus, falling under the accreditation, processes, and policy framework of Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine, and then we will move to an accredited joint degree falling under UPEI’s processes. We received initial positive feedback from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) in the fall and expect final comments this winter. The building continues to move at pace to open in 2025. The report on the integration of medical learners into PEI’s health system (Spindle Strategy report) is expected in the next couple of weeks. The budget for medical school operations remains outside UPEI’s core operating budget in a similar fashion to the Atlantic Veterinary College. The inaugural Dean, Dr. Preston Smith, former vice-dean at Dalhousie Medicine and dean at the University of Saskatchewan, begins a joint appointment as Dean of the UPEI Faculty of Medicine and Chief Academic Officer at Health PEI on April 1, 2024. And the first faculty position, a joint hire with the AVC Department of Biomedical Sciences, is well underway with excellent candidates.
In the fall, we began a new approach at UPEI with open townhalls, listening sessions, and the important work of the Action Plan Advisory Group. The draft Action Plan commits to continuing of an enhanced level of consultation with the UPEI community. As part of that commitment, we will be arranging sessions with the community during the winter semester. Stay tuned for more details.
Thank you to everyone for your contributions toward building a stronger UPEI community.
GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)