A Message from Dr. Mike Mahon
President and Vice-Chancellor
2017 was a historic year as we celebrated the University of Lethbridge’s 50th anniversary and all we have accomplished together.
Over the last 50 years the U of L has evolved into one of Canada’s top-ranked universities and research institutions, far exceeding our founders’ most ambitious expectations. Each year, more than 8,700 undergraduate and graduate students attend our Lethbridge and Calgary campuses, and 1,800 students graduate and join the more than 42,000 U of L alumni who are making important contributions in communities around the world.
Our past clearly illustrates the magnitude of what can be accomplished when individuals work together.
2018 will be a year filled with monumental developments for our university. This is the beginning of our next 50 years — a defining time in our history as we shape our future and excel as a comprehensive academic and research institution, recognized nationally and internationally as a destination university.
As a university founded by citizens, our connection to community and serving the community are core to who we are. Beyond shining new light and imparting knowledge, we unlock human potential. Whether through arts and culture, health, access and opportunities, or sustainability, we make communities stronger and ultimately build a stronger society.
The outstanding vision, tenacity and dedication of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners working together have brought us to where we are today and will take us to where we need to be tomorrow.
What’s ahead as we excel as a comprehensive academic and research institution, recognized nationally and internationally as a destination university?
- As a destination university, we will expand our reach and widen the breadth from where our students come, both from in Canada and internationally, growing undergraduate and particularly graduate enrolment and continuing to diversify our campuses.
- Liberal education ignites minds and is the foundation of our university. The U of L’s unwavering commitment to the ideals of liberal education and the betterment of society was confirmed in 2017 with the establishment of the School of Liberal Education. We are working to ensure our unique four-pillar approach to liberal education is embedded throughout the entire undergraduate and graduate experience.
- We are continuously reviewing and evolving our programming to reflect the evolution of our disciplines and ensure we best meet our students’ needs. On the horizon, you will see the University grow our professional programs, specifically programs unique in design that set us apart from our competitors and serve the needs of our region and the industries that are vital to southern Alberta.
- We will continue to enhance experiential learning opportunities and career pathways, expand our Theory into Practice programs and enhance our student-focused mental-health initiatives as well as other student supports. Accessibility and opportunity will remain priorities, as will equity, diversity and inclusivity.
- Our Calgary campus has served management students for more than 20 years by uniquely catering to mature working students and offering classes in the evenings and on the weekends. Our programming on this campus has evolved to include fine arts and health sciences offerings, and will continue to evolve, providing innovative ways for students to progress through their academic programs in a true multi-campus university.
- Superior teaching is informed by superior research. This is a fundamental belief at the U of L. Creativity, inquiry and discovery are core to who we are. We will continue to prepare the next generation by ensuring our students are exposed to innovative thinking, creating an exciting intellectual community and expanding the breadth of research in all disciplines.
- The Destination Project is central to our advancement. On the north-end of campus, the new science and academic building is transforming campus and the future of science education and research. Construction of this 37,000 square metre environmentally sustainable facility is the most significant project to take place since the original building of University Hall. Opening in 2019, it will be one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in Canada.
- The transdisciplinary learning environment in the new science and academic building will foster engagement and provide our researchers and students with the facilities they need to make the discoveries of the future. It will also inspire the next generation of scientists through community programming. The second phase of the Destination Project will provide enhanced research and creative production space for the social sciences, humanities and fine arts.
- On the south end of campus, we are analyzing development possibilities for the land near the community sports stadium. We are also actively exploring concepts for different delivery methods of health services for the University and the people of Lethbridge. This is a unique opportunity to enhance health services for our students and increase our connection to the community by providing professional health services in one location.
- Honouring our connection to the Indigenous population remains of significant importance. Proudly located on the traditional territory of the Blackfoot people, Indigenous culture is woven into the fabric of our university, and has long enriched our programming, teaching and research. The U of L has been incorporating Indigenous culture into programs and services since the 1970s, creating an environment where students find community, support and success. The calls to action driven by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report confirm the importance of this work and highlight the need for a renewed commitment to the Indigenous community.
- Strengthening our relationship with alumni is a key priority. A lot of exciting work has taken place over the past year. In addition to hosting the largest alumni gathering in our history — Homecoming 2017 — we conducted our first-ever full-scale alumni needs assessment. New opportunities for alumni connection, services and programming are in development.
This year sets the stage for our next 50 years and a future that will be brighter for generations because of the work we do together today.