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Statement from Dean Ralph Stern, Faculty of Architecture

February 27, 2015 — 

This morning Faculty of Architecture Dean Ralph Stern shared the following statement with Faculty of Architecture faculty, staff and students and with University administration:

Last week, I informed Vice-President (Academic) and Provost Joanne Keselman of my intention to withdraw from the Faculty of Architecture decanal reappointment process. I have given my decision careful consideration and believe this is the best course of action for me personally and professionally.

I came to the University of Manitoba in 2010 as a professionally licensed Architect here and abroad with a strong commitment to serving the Faculty of Architecture, its faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners. I have proudly served as a member of the Manitoba Association of Architects Council since 2011 and continue to work closely with the MAA to grow and strengthen the relationship between the professional community and the University.

Together with many of my colleagues, we have made significant progress and nurtured meaningful relationships, especially with the professional, design, and research communities locally, nationally and internationally.

As I am strongly committed to the renewal and improvement of the Faculty of Architecture, aligned with the University’s strategic goals and priorities, I allowed my name to stand for reappointment and did so trusting the University of Manitoba’s processes, which I consider to be fair and professional. However, a number of elements, internal and external to the Faculty of Architecture, have attempted to undermine the University of Manitoba processes. In my opinion, their actions have jeopardized the reputation of the Faculty and the success of our students. Given the current circumstances, it is not possible to lead and forge new directions in this compromised environment beyond the end of my current term of August 31, 2015.

In the coming days, the Architecture Program in the Faculty of Architecture is undergoing a review by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). This is a significant and rigorous process occurring on a pre-determined cycle. This accreditation review will be followed in two weeks by a similarly rigorous accreditation review in the Program of Landscape Architecture and, in a few weeks again, another accreditation review in the Program of City Planning. These too occur on pre-determined cycles.

Both as Dean and as a licensed professional, I am strongly committed to the successful outcomes of these professional program accreditation reviews. These complement another review in the Undergraduate Environmental Design Program and two upcoming graduate program reviews. In total there are 6 program reviews underway in the Faculty of Architecture.

To best serve the students, Faculty, University, and professional communities, my focus must remain on these established and recognized review and accreditation processes, and not on those seeking to prejudice and undermine these very same processes. Therefore, my comments in the coming weeks will not address my decision but rather it will be on these critical activities.

Following this, as a tenured full Professor with an appointment in the Faculty of Architecture’s Department of Architecture, I will continue to be a champion of the Faculty and its valuable work in teaching and learning, discovery and engagement, research and practice. I am committed to working with the University’s administration and Faculty to ensure a smooth transition process.

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