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Happy Friday, Everyone.

As many of you will know, the Board of Governors held its regularly scheduled meeting in Edmonton yesterday. If you’ve not already seen the meeting highlights sent this morning from our new Chair Vivian Manasc, I would encourage you to do so. 

One of the items presented at the Board meeting was our third-quarter variance report and forecast. I am pleased to report AU’s financial results continue to track better than budgeted.

Our year-end deficit is projected to be $441 — significantly better than the approved deficit budget of $3,254. This represents a net gain of $2,813. 

It is important to note that while these results are good news, a number of the contributors to us getting to this point include a series of one-time items. That is, they are not ongoing revenues or savings. While we are pleased with these recent favourable events, we continue to be challenged by our underlying cost structure and must remain fiscally prudent.

 

And in other AU news this week…

OPEN Magazine 2017

Starting this week, our University’s flagship annual magazine, OPEN, will begin hitting students’, staff and community mailboxes across the country. A big congratulations to John O’Brien and his Communications team on the eye-catching and engaging edition.

In a nod to spring, the cover pops with colour and vibrant imagery. The goggle-eyed swimmer featured is none other than AU student and Paralympian Amber Thomas who is gearing up to represent Canada internationally — while juggling her studies with pool time.

Amber was the quintessential cover choice for this issue given her athletic prowess and star status within AU’s newest partnership with the Education Network — part of Deloitte’s Game Plan program offering flexible educational opportunities to Paralympic, Olympic and Canadian National Team athletes. The partnership also enables them to transfer into a new career when it's time to hang up their athletic gear.

Forward momentum for athlete learners and Athabasca University.

Well done!

Faculty of Business Online Learning Series

Recently, students and alumni got to attend the premiere webinar of the just-launched e-learning series – this one showcasing the professional social-media career tool LinkedIn.

Hosted by FOB Marketing & Alumni Relations Manager Farid Noordin, and introducing the expert talk of LinkedIn guru and career coach Shelly Elsliger (from U of T’s Rotman School of Business), attendees learned best practices around site presence and navigation, ‘netiquette,’ job applications, among other tips.

The session was a smash success, with 163 registrations. Student feedback indicated the webinar was “very valuable” (Matthew, current graduate student); and “a solid presentation” (Pascal, MBA ’14). Plans are underway for future webinars around professional and career development.

The next Learning Series webinar will focus on wealth management and financial planning. It’s scheduled for May 17, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (MST). Register here.

Front-Line Training

From March 21 to 23, front-line supervisors and department trainers received training to enhance their provisioning of information and support to AU learners.

The sessions were provided to strengthen front-line preparedness and confidence when managing inquiries from our learners. They will also inform how we can best provide similar training and support to all front-line members of the University community (who work across our various units) — particularly those receiving first-point-of-contact inquiries.

Attendee feedback from the session was very positive and included recommendations for more regular training sessions for onboarding staff members, while providing refresher information to enhance existing staff knowledge.


New Speaker’s Series: TRC 2015

Beginning at noon next Friday, April 7, the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research (CWIKR) will launch its new Speaker’s Series examining the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the future impact on education.

The events aim to promote ongoing discussion around the future of the TRC findings and what they mean for Canadian citizens and, in particular, how education providers and learners can work collaboratively toward the fruition of the those recommendations. 

Elder Maria Campbell will present the first session, entitled ‘Kiskinwahatoyak’ — which, in English, translates to: “teaching each other.” The dialogue featured in each event (between indigenous and non-indigenous Elders), will address Reconciliation and the TRC Calls to Action — from both individual perspectives, and as it impacts the future of Canadian education. As the series progresses, youth from the community will join in the dialogue sharing their own viewpoints.

For more information on the CWIKR Speaker's Series, email the Centre at: indigenous@athabascau.ca

 Academically Speaking

On Tuesday, April 4, Dr. Michael Volek, academic coordinator, English Language and Effective Writing Skills, in the Centre for Humanities, will present from his workshop on “The Use and Abuse of Paraphrases and Quotations in Academic Writing.”

Michael’s presentation examines “how the words and ideas of others can be utilized in our own writing.” He’ll touch on topics like best practices around quoting and paraphrasing in academic writing, pitfalls to avoid when sourcing others’ work, and corresponding tips for inclusion of said material.

Check it out on Adobe Connect from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. (MST). Registration is open to AU students and staff as well as external students. To register for this or another upcoming presentation, please email fgs@athabascau.ca and indicate which session you are interested in attending.

The Art, History and Chemistry of Beer

Thirsty for more?

On April 4, at 7 p.m. in AU’s Governing Council Chambers, Science Outreach Athabasca is hosting a talk on all things hops. Guest speaker and AU chemistry professor, Dr. Dietmar Kennepohl, will lead a knowledgeable discussion on ‘The Art, History and Chemistry of Beer.’

He’ll answer those far-reaching questions like ‘Why do some bubbles in beer travel down the glass instead of up?’ and ‘Does beer really give you a beer belly?

Basically, he’ll take audience members on a virtual pub crawl of beer trivia — addressing the fermentation process, health benefits and the myths behind beer — while “exploring the world of beer throughout the ages and seeing some of the surprising chemistry behind this popular beverage.”

To attend, please register by emailing Science Outreach Coordinator Linda Lindballe at: sc-outreach.coord@athabascau.ca (and sign in upon entry).

Hint: There may be a tasting after the presentation (No, not an April Fool’s joke. That day is tomorrow — which reminds me —  it's time to start planning the family pranks!)

Have a great weekend, all.

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