GFC Reform

Students' Union Advocacy

The University of Alberta is a public post-secondary institution. Its business affairs are guided by the Board of Governors, while the academic affairs are governed by General Faculties Council. Consisting of students, academic staff, and administrators, GFC has broad responsibility over issues like granting degrees, admissions and awards policies, and works with the Board on the budget, the development of Faculties and the University's strategic plan.

The SU believes that GFC is in need of reform to better reflect the needs of students, academic staff, and administration. GFC should be an inclusive, productive, and collegial body that is reflective of the passion and intelligence of our academic community. To that end, we have developed a draft discussion paper to stimulate thought among University staff and students, especially members of GFC.

Read The Report

A DRAFT copy of the report can be downloaded here. It is meant only to stimulate discussion in the upcoming months.

For former, current, or prospective members of GFC or its subcommittees, we are encouraging you to participate in this reflective exercise. Whether you are an adjunct professor, a post-doctoral student, first year undergraduate, or new Department Chair, we encourage you to consider these three questions:

  1. What are the roles of GFC at a research-intensive public university like the U of A?
  2. What concerns or recommendations for reform do you have for GFC at the U of A?
  3. What concerns or advice do you have surrounding the recommendations contained in the above discussion paper?

Be Heard

Please share your answers to these three questions. Whether you are a student, staff member, or other interested member of the academy, the SU wants to hear from you. You can email the SU Vice President Academic with your comments or use the form below to submit your thoughts anonymously. We are seeking feedback until February 27, 2014 to supplement a final report for GFC to discuss.

Contact Us
Your name:
Your email address:
Your comments:


Students, staff, and administration at the U of A should have equal opportunity to govern the future of the University, a leading Canadian higher education institution dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, and service.

The Students' Union cares deeply about the University's future as a collegially governed academy. Through budget cuts, increased managerialism, and global competition, the University of Alberta's success hinges on our ability to harness the passion and intelligence of our students and staff.

The Students' Union has undertaken a massive research project to better understand General Faculties Council, the body responsible for broad academic oversight of the University subject to the authority of the Board of Governors as set out by the Alberta Post-Secondary Learning Act. However understanding such a large and complex governing body requires not only research, but also reflections, observations, and advice from current and former members of GFC.

In early 2013, a number of undergraduate students raised concerns on the effectiveness and inclusivity of General Faculties Council. This stimulated a larger conversation between the SU and the University on GFC, and how to best enhance the processes GFC uses.

In May 2013 Dr. Samarasekera presented a whitepaper on GFC reform. She chose two faculty and two students to “objectively review GFC committees’ structure and activities” in reference to each committee’s terms of reference and the PSLA, as well as to ensure that GFC and its subcommittees were not focused on issues that were “the responsibility of other committees or administrative offices”.

The Students' Union believes that GFC must evolve based on external pressures and objective review, but more importantly based on the needs of the academy. Therefore, we created the above DRAFT discussion paper to encourage critical self-reflection by the academy on GFC.

Facebook Twitter







Students' Union Executive and Administrative Offices
Room 2-900
Students' Union Building
University of Alberta
8900 - 114 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2J7