Media release: Alberta’s two largest academic staff associations issue joint response to Advanced Education mandate letter

August 18, 2023, Alberta — The University of Calgary Faculty Association (TUCFA) and The Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta (AASUA) have issued a joint response to Premier Danielle Smith’s mandate letter to Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney. The letter fails to address a number of key challenges facing the university sector, and the Universities of Calgary and Alberta in particular — namely the threat posed by severe budget cuts.

“Now that the province has returned to a path of increasing prosperity, we are deeply concerned researchers, educators, and most vitally — Alberta’s students — will be left behind,” TUCFA President J. Kent Donlevy and AASUA President Gordon Swaters said in their joint response. 

Accounting for inflation, the current university operating grant is lower than it has been since 2008. The unions welcome the funding increases Smith cited to specific programs. However, the presidents noted reinvestment in the system as a whole is critical for equipping future Albertans with the skills to play a meaningful role in a rapidly evolving economy. This means growth in post-secondary beyond immediate job training. 

“We cannot predict what tomorrow will bring, but we can foster our province’s adaptability by equipping researchers, educators, and students with the resources to build knowledge and embrace change,” Donlevy and Swaters said. 

About TUCFA and AASUA: Together, both unions represent the 6,400 academic staff members at the U of A and U of C. Their combined membership is over two-thirds of the university academics in the province. Academic staff include academic faculty, teaching staff, librarians, academic administrators, and researchers.    

Media Contacts:
AASUA - Rachel Narvey, Communications Officer
TUCFA - Contact