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Expanding Horizons
(1990 - 2009)


“The Alberta School of Business is an exciting place to be right now.  We continue to attract spirited and gifted students in a competitive marketplace.  We’ve been able to recruit energetic and talented new faculty who excel at both research and teaching.  And we have exceptional mentors in our alumni and senior faculty as well as an incredibly supportive business community.”

Mike Percy, Stanley A. Milner Professor and Dean
Alberta School of Business
Report to the Community, 2005-06

   On November 25, 1991, a ceremony and reception to recognize the 75th anniversary of the School of Business was held in Convocation Hall.  While the event itself was low key, a major element in the Ceremony was the recognition of Francis Winspear for his many years of service to both the Faculty and the University.  Referring to the event, The Financial Post of November 29, 1991, headlined its story, ‘Business school parties prudently’ by noting, “Rather than risk a mini-conflagration by having 75 candles on its birthday cake, it opted for lighting one symbolic sparkler.”
    Chapter VI of the Chronicle covers the past two decades (1990-2008), a period characterized by not only continuing growth in the more ‘traditional’ areas of academia but also characterized by growth in other areas – methods of teaching, delivery of information, growth of ‘out-reach’ programmes such as Centres and Institutes, more internationalization and a much greater involvement with the various publics with which the School is involved.  It would be fair to say that many of the changes have occurred because of a number of factors:

The growth of ‘competition’ for both students and resources;
Distance Education which provides opportunities for students to obtain an education from a wide variety of institutions;
New technologies in teaching methodology. 
Moreover, growth, per se, plays a significant role in the development of the School.  Data on the number of graduates illustrates this growth:
        BCom Graduates                  MBA Graduates                PhD Graduates
1990-91        399                                    72                                          7
1995-96        447                                  107                                          6
2000-01        581                                  114                                          5
2007-08        642                                  101                                        10
From its somewhat simplistic beginnings in 1916, numerous elements have had an impact on the development and the growth of the School.  Numbers and complexity have increased but, it can be argued, so has the School’s ability to handle both growth and the challenges associated with that growth.  Moreover, the Alberta School of Business both reflects and participates in a rapidly expanding environment.  While the first five chapters of this Chronicle have emphasized the many different aspects of the School’s development, it can be argued that the School has achieved a level of maturity but has also developed, expanded, and amplified its impact.
Throughout this Chronicle, the emphasis has been on relationships with numerous individuals and groups – both internal and external.  The period from 1990 to the present is characterized by a much higher level of involvement with external bodies and organizations.  As will become apparent, numerous developments have accrued in offering a more extensive set of programmes, a growing awareness of the need to provide  relevant research and outstanding teaching to a much larger number of audiences, the enhancement of external fund raising efforts, etc.  What is also of significance for this era is the emphasis on planning and the attempt to anticipate what the future will require not only in terms of proper development but also the need to provide a milieu within which staff and students can best address these issues.  Also crucial in this process is the need to establish a presence which is realistic, achievable and of value.  With reference to the latter point is the presentation of “Report Cards” on academic institutes by both internal and external organizations.  These “Report Cards” are provided by a number of periodicals:  the Financial Times of London, The Globe and Mail, et al.
While the above factors will be considered to varying degrees in this Chapter, what is notable is the School’s presentation of itself.  A basic premise which has attained major importance is that no institution can be all things to all people and, as has been noted in earlier chapters, defining the role(s) of the School has become a crucial exercise.  In his Report to the Community 2006-07, Mike Percy noted that
        “The Alberta School of Business was first accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – in 1968.  In 2006, we were re-accredited by the premier international crediting body, also celebrating 90 years, and we remain the longest accredited business school in Canada.  Their report was extremely positive and recommended without hesitation the continued accreditation of our undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs in business for another five-year period.  Among the key findings:

We have a clear strategic focus and broad support for our strategy.
We have clear policies for evaluating teaching and research outcomes that are consistently implemented and fully understood.
We have been successful in both recruiting high-performing faculty and in retaining them.
And we have a strong reputation within our alumni and business communities.”

The Report goes on
        “We are particularly proud that the AACSB review committee found us to have a climate of collaboration, a sense of community, a place where people are happy to try and exceed expectations."

Interestingly enough, a decade earlier, a relatively low-key decision was implemented – a decision which received little publicity but marked an important step in terms of organizational structure and management - to add support staff representation to Business Council.  On September 2, 1997, Mike Percy wrote to Fay Alexander (then administrative assistant to the Dean) asking her to canvass the support staff to ascertain the level of interest in the proposal.  At the December 10, 1997, meeting (#330) of Business Council, a motion
        THAT the support staff have official membership on Business Council
was carried.
    On February 5, 1998, Doug Owram, Vice-President (Academic) wrote to all Deans and referred to a recommendation from the School of Business that membership in Faculty Council be amended to include a support staff representative.  He went on,
        “I wanted to convey the support of GFC Executive and of myself for such representation.  A support staff presence would bring an important group more directly into the collegial governance process and add a new perspective to deliberations.  I therefore urge those who have not already done so to make the necessary changes to allow a support staff presence on your Faculty Council.”

[ASOB files]

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“A University should be the most practical of all institutions. It should strive to find the answers to the economic and social problems of common everyday people and then share its knowledge with them.”

- Dr. Henry Marshall Tory
June 1908