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Grenfell’s VP Mary Bluechardt endorses university structure


The vice-president of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University says she does not encounter any resistance in bringing academic initiatives from the west coast campus through the hierarchy of the post-secondary system.

Whether it be program changes, new program proposals or structural changes, Mary Bluechardt said Grenfell continues to make its own decisions.

“We can never stop examining ourselves or stop reviewing ourselves, assessing ourselves.That is critically important,” she said. “The status quo is not OK. We have to forge ahead.”

Recently, Grenfell has been granted approval to change its division heads to Deans.

“That is really going to strengthen our academic leadership, and will also put us in line with other university structures,” she said.

Where as the division heads reported to the associate vice-president academic (Grenfell), David Peddle, they will now report to Bluechardt.

That is an area Peddle was concerned about, saying it adds to the responsibilities of the vice-president and takes away from what he sees as her mandate to establish and sustain the role of the university in the community.

Bluechardt said the changes provide an opportunity to review all of the roles and responsibilities, but said it does not necessarly mean the associate vice-president academic position will be lost at Grenfell.

“It has worked and worked well in the existing structure that we mounted in 2009, but we are moving on now to a schools and deans structure,” she said.

As an active member of the Vice-Presidents Council, Bluechardt says she still reports directly to president Gary Kachanoski. The major decisions of the university pass through the senior council and on to the board of regents, where she is also an active member. The vice-president of Grenfell said the council does not add a barrier between her and the president.

“We are a multi-campus model, so Grenfell Campus is part of Memorial University,” she said.

The structure of the university has continually been reviewed since 2009, and efficiencies will continue to be sought, according to the vice-president.

Bluechardt acknowledged there were some differences between herself and Peddle in the four years they worked together during his tenure as associate vice-president academic (Grenfell).

“We don’t always agree on everything, but I wouldn’t expect we would,” she said.

That did not diminish her respect for him, and her recognition of his significant contributions to Grenfell.

She expects those contributions, and their discussions to continue in his involvement at the university.

Twitter: @WS_CoryHurley

 *** See related stories on the issue here and here.

*** Mary Bluechardt released a statement on Grenfell's website Jan. 25.

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