University of Manitoba to cut faculties: CBC Manitoba

Goodbye Faculty of Nursing. Hello School of Nursing?

CBC Manitoba is reporting my home university, the University of Manitoba, is looking to cut the number of faculties from 20 to 13.

Faculties will be merged to achieve the cut, meaning the Faculty of Nursing is likely to become part of a medical faculty and become a School, joined by Pharmacy and Dentistry in the new medical arts ‘super-faculty’. Goodbye to the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources – likely to be merged into Science. Social Work into the Arts. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Human Ecology.

As a former member of UMSU Council, my concerns are focused upon the potential loss of student representatives on the University Senate. Each faculty is guaranteed an allotment of seats on the Senate, including student seats.

One of the reasons the University of Manitoba’s student code of conduct is fairer than most other Canadian universities is the ability of the student senate caucus to filibuster as a voting bloc.

University of Manitoba students enjoy the largest senate and board of governors voting bloc as a percentage of membership of any student body in Canada.

For UMSU, the question of UMSU Council seat allotment will become an issue.

How does UMSU respond to a ‘super-faculty’ of medicine? Are seats allotted by School per one thousand students? Are they divided by campus – Fort Garry and Bannatyne? What about the current faculties that rarely fill their UMSU seats?

The streamlining of faculties will consume a lot of energy for the next five years. The question: will it be worth it?