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Graduate Education and Research

Priority Development of Graduate Education and Research

The University of Lethbridge was designated as a Comprehensive Academic and Research Institution in 2007 as part of Alberta’s Roles and Mandates Policy Framework which identifies and describes six types of post-secondary institutions within the province. The University had already been developing its research capability through specialized projects on water and neuroscience, therefore the new designation has been interpreted as an official recognition of ongoing efforts in research.


The University is committed to further expanding its graduate education programs and research profile across all faculties along themes of culture, society, environment, health, and the basic exploration of knowledge through scholarship. Expansion must also consider matching existing programs to build synergies, enhancing multi-disciplinarity, and developing niche specialities, and ensure that planned growth is adequately funded. The University wishes to develop unique graduate and research programs and has no intention of emulating or competing with its provincial counterparts, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.


In a move away from the research park model in evidence on campus, the University would like to ‘embody’ research by creating opportunities for research activity in various departments to be seen in real time. Another approach would see strengthening of the link between research and undergraduate liberal arts programs. Yet another approach would be developing research links with the regional community by providing incubator
opportunities.


There are currently about 550 graduate students which represent 6% of total enrolment at
the University of Lethbridge. The students are enrolled in eight programs and the principal
research areas are: neuroscience, water resources, molecular biology, and demography.
Proposals have been tabled with Alberta Advanced Education and Technology (AET) for
new multi-disciplinary programs spanning the social sciences and health studies. There
are six PhD programs and the next one on the horizon is in Education. Plans are to
double enrolment which should increase the proportion of graduate students to 10-12%
of the total student body.


Implications for the Master Plan


The University’s capital plan priority is a large science/academic complex. The building
has yet to be programmed and named, and the combination of functions and backfilling
elsewhere will be determined in future. The Master Plan will need to:

  • Identify a suitable location for the new science/academic complex
  • Determine to what extent this building will help satisfy the increasing requirements for graduate education programs, graduate workspace, and research facilities
  • Determine whether other areas on campus will need to be expanded to accommodate growth in graduate programs and research
  • Consider ways to open up the research enterprise across faculties and across campus