"Negative advocacy" ineffective in pushing for better funding, says uAlberta president

January 31, 2012

Working behind the scenes with the Alberta government is more effective than public advocacy to make the case for better university funding, says University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera. A group of faculty members in the arts and science faculties who last month publicly protested staff and faculty cuts in the coming year are free to do so, but such "negative advocacy" is not effective and could send the wrong message about the quality of education at uAlberta, Samarasekera says. "It has been our strategic choice to have these conversations with government directly, not through the media, and the government is listening," she says. Deans of uAlberta's 19 faculties are preparing for a third year of no increases, which will mean cutting 7 academic positions in the arts faculty, for instance. One of the professors who raised public concerns about the funding cuts defends the group's decision to launch a petition to rally support for Alberta's "flagship" institution. The petition calls for stable, long-term funding, as well as a tuition freeze. Edmonton Journal