Tis the season to . . . weigh in!

As the Fall exam period draws to a close and everyone has time to enjoy the holiday season, those of us behind Arts Squared are hoping that members and supporters of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta will have the time to read the documents posted on this site and contribute to our immediate and larger goals. 

Our immediate goal is to find ways to resolve the current budget crisis for the Faculty (which has experienced a cut of $1.5 million to its operating budget for the year) in ways that do not involve a radical restructuring of our administrative operations or any loss of administrative positions — or indeed any form of damage to the foundational daily operations of the Faculty.

Our next goal is to find ways to resolve the budget crisis for the Faculty for the 2012-2103 academic year (in which another cut of about $1.5 million is being demanded of us) in ways that do not involve the closing of any programs or departments or any loss of Faculty members.

Our larger goal is to ensure that the Faculty receives from the provincial government the funding it requires not simply to survive, but to thrive. It is our contention that this Faculty of Arts must have the financial support necessary to ensure that our faculty, postdoctoral scholars, contract academic staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and administrative staff can make this one of the most exciting and dynamic places in Canada for the research, teaching, and study of the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Indeed, we think it ought to be the most exciting and dynamic Faculty of Arts in Canada. We are the thinkers, dreamers, artists, and cultural analysts that shape the innovations in thought and communication and the understandings of our culture vital to the creation of a future that permits us all to thrive.

To this end, we call upon you, as either a member or supporter of the Faculty, to share with us your ideas about how to make these goals realities.

You can share your ideas via the “Forum.” 

You can also leave a comment in which you directly respond to any of the documents that are posted in the Square.

We would also like to encourage staff to send their photographs so that we may add them to our Staff Gallery.

And if you would like to write to offer a brief testimonial about why our staff collectively or any particular staff member is important to you we encourage you to leave a comment on the “Our Staff” page.

We especially encourage you to read the letter of 19 December 2011 that President Samarasekera has written in reply to Professor Sale’s letter of 12 December 2011. We are delighted that President Samarasekera has agreed to join us in the Virtual Square.

As you’ll see when you read President Samarasekera’s letter, her position is that she is fighting hard for the Faculty, but cannot win the fight for us on her own. We therefore urge you to add your voice to the conversation in the Square so that we all know what you think we should be saying to Albertans to convince them to demand of whatever government happens to be sitting in the Provincial Legislature the funding that the Faculty requires to be the place where all Albertans can come, and upon which all Albertans can depend, for the generation of the ideas both creative and critical that ensure the well-being not only of all Albertans, but the world.

Please take the time to weigh in!

And please also take the time to pass on the word about the website. We are hoping that word of this website will reach all of our alumni/alumnae, whom we urge to contribute to a new “corner” of the “square,” by offering a word or two about what their degree in the Arts (bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D.) has done for them.

And please pass the word on to all of your family and friends. The Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta belongs to all Albertans, and we welcome everyone’s input about why the Arts matter to our individual lives and to our culture.

You might think of this Square as a place where you can make your own argument directly to Albertans about why the provincial government should offer us the support necessary to ensuring that we flourish. The more of us who gather and speak in this Virtual Square, the more powerfully we will already be making our case . . . . And your input very much matters at this time: we are told that there will be a delay of at least a few weeks in the decision-making for the immediate crisis. Please write the Dean, the Provost, and/or the President with your ideas of how we should resolve the immediate crisis, and send your letters to artssquared@gmail.com so that they may appear here for reading by all members and supporters of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.

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