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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 71.76
Liaison Trina Innes
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

University of Alberta
PAE-2: Strategic Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.00 / 6.00 Trina Innes
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Year the strategic plan or equivalent was completed or adopted:
2,014

Does the institution's strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include the environmental dimensions of sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the strategic plan or amendment addresses the environmental dimensions of sustainability:

The University of Alberta’s Comprehensive Institutional Plan (CIP) is a board-approved document containing six primary chapters, including the institutional accountability statement, environmental scan; the academy, capital plan, institutional budget and a chapter on resource and risk implications. The CIP gives consideration to the university’s vision document, Dare to Discover, the Academic Plan and a variety of other strategic planning documents like the Long Range Development Plan and Sector Plans. The CIP is updated yearly to reflect current conditions and priorities.

The following excerpts from the Comprehensive Institutional Plan highlights some of the ways our institution is addressing environmental dimensions of sustainability:

"Risk Implications: The university must also promote appropriate risk management plans and strategies that develop responsive attitudes and behaviour at all levels of the organization in order to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all." (p. 11)

"University of Alberta Mandate: The university offers a balanced academy with strong arts and sciences programs, many of which feature environmental components." (p. 14)

"The Academy: The University of Alberta is internationally recognized as one of the top 100 public universities in the world, and nationally as one of Canada’s top five comprehensive academic and research institutions. This reputation is grounded in nationally and internationally competitive undergraduate degrees; professional credentials; medical, doctoral, and post-doctoral training; and exceptional research capacity and impact in seven critical areas of human inquiry and global challenge: food and bio-resources, energy, environment, health and wellness, humanities and fine arts, science and technologies, and society and culture." (p. 33)

"Research Capacity and Impact. The University of Alberta conducts research and offers
doctoral programs across seven thematic areas: humanities and fine arts, social structures and systems, science and technology, energy, environment, food and bioresources, and health and wellness." (p. 63)

"The Office of Sustainability delivers more than 100 engagement activities, reaching more than 27,000 members of the campus community each year, and creates opportunities for about 100 student campus sustainability volunteers." (p. 80)

"Couple backfill requirements with renewal projects to provide a best-value model for capital projects that meets the pedagogical needs of tomorrow’s learners and the requirements of researchers in a more cost-effective manner while positively enhancing utilization of our space and meeting the goals of our sustainability plan." (p. 117)

"The U of A works with a number of value-added, sustainable construction processes, and consultation with provincial officials is essential as Alberta Infrastructure further develops and implements such directives as achievement of sustainability through LEED®, Green Globes™, and BOMA BESt™ certification; prudent management of capital grant expenditure in capital project implementation; and identification of deferred maintenance." (p. 118)

"Building Certifications: Committed to working within available budgets and maintaining sustainable construction practices, the university has started a trial process to ensure that major renovation and renewal projects are certified under “Green Globes.” Initial projects are showing significant reductions in consultant costs, reductions in contractor premiums, and quicker turnaround on the certifications. Projects that are targeted for sustainable construction certification are listed in the quarterly report." (p. 128)

"Sustainability: Through recommissioning and sequenced renewal of targeted buildings that are functional and structurally sound, the university can lower the carbon footprint and energy requirements in older assets. The potential social, environmental, and economic benefits can be dramatic." (p. 128)

"Provide strong and clear campus planning documents that are rooted in leading urban design and sustainability principles. The plans will seek to provide the necessary direction, ensuring the academic program needs of the university are met, with careful
consideration to the expressed interests of the surrounding neighbourhoods." (p. 131)

"The university is fully committed to sustainable construction and operations, continues to engage government to look for the most economical means of validating building designs and operations in the interest of achieving the university’s sustainability goals, and is actively pursuing alternative, cost-effective strategies to provide equal or greater certification levels at a lower cost." (p. 138)


Does the institution's strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include the social dimensions of sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the strategic plan or amendment addresses the social dimensions of sustainability:

The following excerpts from the Comprehensive Institutional Plan highlight some of the ways our institution is addressing social dimensions of sustainability:

"The university establishes and maintains an environment of inquiry-based learning anchored in strong academic programming and an array of co-curricular student life opportunities. Academic support, social/community enrichment, health and wellness, and career and life development are cornerstones of the University of Alberta student experience." (p. 14)

"In every aspect of its mandate, the University of Alberta is a partner in social, cultural, and economic development, fostering and establishing the provincial, national, and international connections and understandings that support leading global enterprise and citizenship for Albertans." (p. 15)

"Values. Diversity and Creativity: A diverse, yet inclusive, dynamic collegial community that welcomes change and seizes opportunity with passion and creativity." (p. 16)

"The U of A recruits and graduates undergraduate and graduate students from a diverse demographic including francophone, francophile, mature students, aboriginal students, rural-based students, immigrants, and financially disadvantaged." (p. 35)

"Institutional commitment to Alberta’s Aboriginal people for meaningful engagement on teaching, learning, and research initiatives." (p.40)

"The quality of student experience is a critical and intangible contributor to retention and completion, and
a multitude of factors interact to define this experience. At the institutional level, the U of A dedicates resources
to both academic and co-curricular experiences that develop the whole student, using its research, private sector, and community partnerships. The U of A also invests in internal resources for more than 400 student groups, and offers academic and personal counselling, health and wellness services, and extensive opportunities for students to participate in the collegial governance of the institution." (p.48)

"Student Mental Health and Wellness: The U of A has begun a comprehensive, student-centred approach to student mental health and wellness. To this end, the university has been extending and improving its mental health and wellness programs and services. The U of A has applied the three-year, $3-million grant for student mental health from Alberta Health to extending the capacity of the mental health centre with satellite counsellor offices, increasing hours of service, establishing a community social work team, and enhancing wellness education and programming." (p. 48)

"Students with Disabilities: Post-secondary institutions have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. The number of students requiring specialized support at the U of A increased from 920 in 2008-2009 to 1,535 in 2012-2013. Likewise, the number of students requiring exam accommodation increased from 518 in 2008-2009 to 1,136 in 2012-2013. At the same time, because of a reduction in provincial and federal accessibility funding to support exam accommodation and provide alternate format materials, a structural funding deficit for these services has emerged and remains despite restructuring and outsourcing of assessments to reduce administrative costs. A sustainable funding model to accommodate students with disabilities is a high priority in 2013-2014." (p. 48)

"Student Housing: Student housing and the associated programming are important features for attracting and
retaining students from across the province, nation, and world. The U of A houses only about 13 per cent of
its student population in campus residences and has a target of 25 per cent. Residence life is one component
that contributes to this outcome. Student residences, coupled with competitive financial aid packages, are key
to attracting both rural students and Canadian students from outside of Alberta." (p.49)

Other strategies include:
-Maintaining a Student Life Coordinator to ensure a quality social and cultural life in French for students at our Campus Saint-Jean
-Pursuing the creation of a Master of Arts in Gender and Social Justice
-Developing or supporting areas of research capacity and various centres that touch on social issues, resilient communities, science and society, public citizenship, globalization, etc.
-Maintenance and creation of collaboration and social space, housing and daycares


Does the institution's strategic plan or equivalent guiding document include the economic dimensions of sustainability at a high level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the strategic plan or amendment addresses the economic dimensions of sustainability:

The following excerpts from the Comprehensive Institutional Plan highlight some of the ways our institution is addressing economic dimensions of sustainability:

The university’s board and senior leadership is implementing a four-point Action Plan focused on inspiring and facilitating academic transformation, ensuring sustainable financial models, seeking administrative efficiency and effectiveness, and fostering culture change. (p. 2)

Throughout the last year, the university has made several significant changes in order to present a balanced 2014-2015 budget. These include offering a Voluntary Severance Program to continuing members of the academy, reducing faculty budgets, changing policies to ensure the greatest possible recovery of indirect costs of research, and providing new incentives for revenue generation. These changes will continue to strengthen the institution’s financial sustainability into the future. (p. 2)

Successful development and implementation of administrative efficiencies, such as streamlining payroll, simplifying financial and procurement processes, and modernizing records management, continues to be an ongoing project of the university. Many of these efforts also benefit the wider Campus Alberta network, with the U of A contributing expertise and leading collaboration and harmonization across Campus Alberta by building alliances, managing shared systems and agreements,
sharing resources, and providing centralized services. (p. 2)

The U of A recognizes that public funding models for universities are shifting and that new financial realities demand that all post-secondary institutions seek multiple sources of revenue to support their core mission. Stimulating ideas for revenue generation has been a major priority of university senior leaders over the last year. (p. 158)

The university prepares its budgets using a comprehensive integrated planning and budget process, involving key stakeholders from across the institution. Key budget assumptions and sensitivities are cornerstones of the university’s multi-year budgeting process. The goal is to achieve improved accuracy in forecasting elements of the budget and provide common assumptions for budget planners across the university. (p. 159)


The website URL where information about the strategic plan is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.