Members of the USFA Executive met with the President and Provost on October 18thabout the current state of the College of Nursing. Our overall message was that the USFA remains extremely concerned that the problems facing the College are not being given sufficient priority. Despite some positive changes, the new Associate Deans lack support, there are ongoing grievances, and workload concerns persist (exacerbated by recent requests from the Dean’s office for faculty to consider taking on additional overload teaching). There are also concerns about recent poor NCLEX results (63% pass rate), the inability to swiftly change an aging curriculum, and a general lack of stewardship from the Dean’s office.
Faculty would like to see renewed commitment to leadership, governance, academic planning, curriculum change, and workload management.
The USFA offered suggestions to the President/Provost to help counter some of the legacy issues faced in the College. Firstly, that they bring in an external team to help support the Dean’s office with leadership, management, and improving the college’s work environment. Secondly, that they make a clear commitment to the establishment of new workplace structures and a strategic plan to help create new norms that give faculty/staff further hope for a revitalized College of Nursing. Thirdly, that they assist the College with providing timely supports for efforts such as curriculum changes. While the Dean has recently supported the hiring of a full-time curriculum specialist to aid in curriculum changes, a reluctance to make these changes quickly has meant delayed curriculum renewal.
We believe our message was heard. The President and Provost indicated their support for some of our suggestions, and the Provost reiterated the need for new Assistant Deans to help with this work. We concluded the meeting by agreeing that it is in the best interest of the University and College to put the supports in place to help the College’s leadership team and faculty make positive change in the College.
The USFA continues to advocate for appropriate support to make significant changes to the status quo in the College of Nursing. In this era of health care concerns, a vibrant and successful College of Nursing is essential to the University of Saskatchewan and the communities we serve.