Students' Union, UCalgary

SU @UCalgary

Teaching Excellence Winners Announced

Teaching Excellence Winners Announced 1500 1001 Gene Baines

Check out the video honouring the winning Professors and TA’s.

Extreme tuition hikes to engineering, medical programs will harm access, student trust

Extreme tuition hikes to engineering, medical programs will harm access, student trust 150 150 Michael Brown


Extreme tuition hikes to engineering, medical programs will harm access, student trust

CALGARY – University of Calgary administration presented plans for massive tuition increases at an information session during the Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) last night. Student leaders saw this proposal for the first time at this meeting, with no documents being provided in advance. These increases would be on top of two consecutive years of ten per cent increases in the engineering faculty, with more increases likely in the future.

Undergraduate engineering students from Canada who start their studies in September 2022 can expect an increase in tuition of 32 per cent and international engineering students will see a 51 per cent increase. Students who enroll in the Medical Doctor program will pay 15.7 per cent more. Exceptional increases must be approved by the Minister of Advanced Education.

“After two consecutive years of major increases across the board for students, with another likely this year, the University of Calgary is demanding even more. The university is placing the burden of the financial chasm created by provincial cuts squarely on the backs of students. If the university is looking to drive students further into debt, they are on the right path.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

Canadian students starting their engineering studies in 2022 will pay nearly 60 per cent more than the base tuition for students who started their studies in 2018. Increases of this magnitude are not sustainable for students.

It is disappointing that these proposed increases were brought forward immediately after students finished their classes and exams. The University of Calgary has a duty to consult students in the affected faculties, as well as the Students’ Union, and it is difficult to see how the university can effectively do this while students are on summer break.

In the information session with the SU, the university blamed provincial cuts as a large part of the need for exceptional increases. However, the provincial cuts are not valid grounds for these exceptional increases according to provincial policy. Exceptional increases may only be brought forward if it is to increase program quality. The Students’ Union asked for details on how more tuition revenue would be spent in advance of the meeting last night, but nothing detailed was provided by the university in advance or in person.

The Students’ Union has extended an invitation to university administration to return to SLC on June 1st to conduct a consultation now that student leaders are aware of the proposal and will have the opportunity to speak to their peers. The SU looks forward to receiving an itemized and costed list of program improvements at this meeting, should the university agree to attend.

Should the increases be presented to the Minister, the SU calls on Minister Nicolaides to reject or delay the proposed increases so that students currently in the faculty can be adequately consulted on these proposals.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577


April Advocacy Blog

April Advocacy Blog 150 150 Michael Brown

April was a busy month on the advocacy front for the SU. The Alberta 2030 initiative was released, the new executive team began their orientations to be able to hit the ground running, the SU continued to push the provincial government on the issue of a poor job market for students, and the SU continues its advocacy and campaign on the potential privatization of the campus bookstore.

The SU met twice with Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides to discuss Alberta 2030 and other issue of relevance to students. Alberta 2030 was released at the end of April. Thanks to SU advocacy and advocacy through CAUS, the final product was a watered down version from what was expected early in the UCP term. The final Alberta 2030 initiative remains a net negative for students and the SU is remaining vigilant on how the UCP government implement it. You can read the SU’s news release on Alberta 2030 here.

In mid-April the SU put out a news release on the lack of a student job program from the province. The UCP government cancelled that Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) in 2019. STEP provided a wage subsidy to employers to encourage them to hire students for the summer months. The news release garnered a lot of attention over the following two weeks. The government responded by saying the Jobs Now program announced in the budget, along with Mitacs, will help get students employed. Unfortunately, Jobs now isn’t creating any jobs now for students and Mitacs is largely focused on graduate students. The SU will continue to push the government to better support students.

Finally, the SU has put out a survey on the potential privatization of bookstore operations by the university. The SU is very concerned about a potential plan to outsource and privatize operations of the campus bookstore to Follett or to any private company. Universities who have done this have seen textbook costs rise and agreements rarely have any student benefit. The survey closed on May 7 and results will be compiled and released. Stay tuned as we continue to work hard on this issue.

As we move into the summer months, our advocacy efforts will continue and we will be sure to keep all students up to date.

Committee of 10,000 announces latest fund recipients

Committee of 10,000 announces latest fund recipients 150 150 Michael Brown


The Students’ Union Committee of 10,000 has announced the recipients of nearly $24,000 in funding. This funding will go to support ten non-profit organizations in Calgary supporting some of the most vulnerable in our city. These organizations often look for ways to engage UCalgary students within their programming and often the Committee of 10,000 funding enables that student involvement.


“I would like to thank the dedicated committee members who made great decisions to fund amazing projects that support the UCalgary and Calgary communities. Several projects were able to come to life or sustain themselves in large part thanks to this funding. This year we focused on projects that prioritized equity, diversity, and inclusion. I am so thrilled to announce this funding.” – Marley Gillies, SU VP External & Chair, Committee of 10,000


A full list of non-profits receiving funding is below. Organizations that have received funding such as the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, and Helping Families Handle Cancer will all help to eliminate accessibility barriers for vulnerable community members. Through supporting these projects the committee was able to ensure that more children had food to eat, immigrant women could receive community support, and families battling cancer are not financially punished during illness.


These projects will also bring great volunteer and employment opportunities for UCalgary students. In addition to an EDI focus, several projects emphasize sustainability like the Zero Food Waste Foundation and the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society.


Organizations receiving funding from the Committee of 10,000 this year were:

  • Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta
  • Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
  • Calgary Region Airshed Zone Society
  • Zero Food Waste Foundation
  • Variety – the Children’s Charity of Alberta
  • Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids
  • Between Friends
  • Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society
  • Helping Families Handle Cancer
  • Trellis Society for Community Impact


To qualify for funding, organizations must be registered non-profits in Alberta.


Media Contact:

Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist

403-560-0577 /

Alberta 2030 News Release – Alberta government backs off major and harmful post-secondary changes

Alberta 2030 News Release – Alberta government backs off major and harmful post-secondary changes 150 150 Michael Brown


After two years of causing upheaval and uncertainty at Alberta’s post-secondary institutions, the UCP government has backed off several initial proposals from its Alberta 2030 initiative that would have hurt students, harmed institutions, and created unnecessary red tape.


Thanks to a concerted effort by students, faculty, and administrators, the Alberta 2030 initiative that purported to re-imagine post-secondary in Alberta is vastly different than originally proposed. This is good news for students who were concerned about major changes in the sector causing chaos, especially as students deal with ever-increasing tuition costs thanks to UCP cuts to post-secondary.


“This is a win for students, in a way. We banded together and told the government that initiatives they were originally proposing like extensive performance-based funding and a centralized post-secondary board would be harmful to students and institutions. What we see the government releasing today is a heavily neutered version of their plan, one that wasn’t worth the type of upheaval and uncertainty the UCP created at our universities.” – SU President, Frank Finley.


The Alberta 2030 strategy emphasizes work integrated learning and commits money to support Mitacs. Unfortunately for undergraduate students, Mitacs largely focuses on graduate students. Undergraduate students remain without a student jobs program since the UCP cut the Summer Temporary Employment Program in 2019.


“In his briefing today, the Minister said that there is no hotline to call up and hire interns for roles. The problem is that there actually was. The STEP program filled that need and allowed students to gain experience in their field, that is until it was cut by the UCP government.” – SU President, Frank Finley


Performance-based funding would have tied provincial funding to goals set by the province. As the province has made significant post-secondary cuts over the last two years, with more to come, the SU was concerned these performance-based measures would have given the province the cover it needed to make even deeper cuts.


In a briefing with students yesterday, Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides committed to release the McKinsey report that helped develop the Alberta 2030 strategy. The SU looks forward to reading that report to better understand the information that has led to the goals and actions in the Alberta 2030 strategy.


Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577 / Email:

2021 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards winners announced

2021 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards winners announced 1500 1001 Gene Baines

Calgary, AB – The Students’ Union (SU) is honouring 40 faculty members, instructors, and teaching assistants for their commitment to student success from a safe distance this year. The annual Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA) is the SU’s campus-wide recognition program which gives undergraduate students the chance to decide which instructors and teaching assistants have made a lasting, positive impression over the past year. Students determine all nominees and winners.

“This year has been extremely challenging for teaching and learning at all levels,” said Semhar Abraha, SU Vice President Academic. “Everyone has had to adapt and sacrifice in different ways. We are so proud to be able to highlight teachers who went above and beyond to support their students, especially during this difficult year. We hope these teachers know how much they are appreciated.”

This year, the SU received a record 1,356 nominations from students. The SU’s Teaching Excellence Awards committee shortlisted 125 nominees and analyzed approximately 2,500 evaluation forms. For the second year, the SU will forgo an in-person awards ceremony. The committee has produced a short video to congratulate and celebrate these instructors virtually.

Winners of the SU Teaching Excellence Award will receive an Apple Award and a framed certificate when they are able to return to campus. In recognition of the winners, the SU will also make a $5,000 donation to the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. The SU has been honouring outstanding teaching at the university since 1975, with the Teaching Excellence Awards being handed out in their current form for the first time in 1984. From the start, the awards were intended to provide students with the opportunity to give feedback on the quality of university instruction. They have contributed to teaching excellence remaining a key priority for the institution, exemplified by the Eyes High vision to enrich the quality and breadth of learning at the University of Calgary.

For more information about the SU Teaching Excellence program and the award criteria, please visit


See below or online for a full list of this year’s winners.

Honourable Mention – Teaching Assistants
Joshuah J. Lockett-HarrisFaculty of Arts
Colton UngerFaculty of Science
Teaching Excellence Awards - Teaching Assistants
Valerie BrunskillFaculty of Science
Hoi Ching Bernice CheungHaskayne School of Business
Laura Elizabeth CrackFaculty of Kinesiology
Milanpreet KaurFaculty of Science
Eden-Raye LukacikFaculty of Arts
Marc Herman LynchFaculty of Arts
Mohana MukherjeeFaculty of Arts
Henrique Gabriel Gularte PereiraFaculty of Science
Meghan SharpFaculty of Science
Lareeb UmerFaculty of Science
Teaching Excellence Awards - Honourable Mention
Eleonora BuonocoreFaculty of Arts
Edwin CeyFaculty of Science
Corey FlynnFaculty of Science
Tiffany GloecklerFaculty of Social Work
Barbara MartinWerklund School of Education
Steven PagetHaskayne School of Business
Nigel ShriveSchulich School of Engineering
Richard ZachFaculty of Arts
Teaching Excellence Awards
Ebba KurzCumming School of Medicine
Derritt MasonFaculty of Arts
Craig MaynesFaculty of Arts
Mary Grantham O'BrienFaculty of Arts
Annette TézliFaculty of Arts
Carol A. Gibbons KroekerFaculty of Kinesiology
Dr. Fenner StewartFaculty of Law
Krista WollnyFaculty of Nursing
Ryan HenryFaculty of Science
Sean StotynFaculty of Science
Mindi SummersFaculty of Science
Lola EmikoFaculty of Social Work
Søren R. BoysenFaculty of Veterinary Medicine
Justin KnibbeHaskayne School of Business
Ayesha MalhotraHaskayne School of Business
Alexander Mark BrutonSchulich School of Engineering
Yves PauchardSchulich School of Engineering
Miwa A.TakeuchiWerklund School of Education
Hall of Fame
Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio, PhDCumming School of Medicine
Cari DinFaculty of Kinesiology

Media Contact:

Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist
403-560-0577 /

News Release: Students head towards another jobless summer

News Release: Students head towards another jobless summer 150 150 Michael Brown

Calgary – University of Calgary students are finished their classes and writing their exams but don’t yet know what the next few months hold for them as they prepare for the summer. Many students work through the summer to save money for tuition, textbooks, and their living expenses. However, this year the pandemic and a lack of support from the provincial government once again means many won’t find work and will go further into debt.


Last summer nearly one-third of UCalgary students surveyed said they couldn’t find work at all, with another twelve per cent saying they had opportunities cancelled at the last minute due to the pandemic. This scenario is very likely to repeat itself this summer unless the UCP government steps up.


“In less than two weeks students will be done exams. Students want to work and we know many employers want to hire, both sides just need a little help. At a time when students are paying more thanks to provincial cuts and resulting skyrocketing tuition, students are also being left out in the cold when it comes to finding a job.” – Frank Finley, SU President


For the last year, the Students’ Union has called on the provincial government to implement a student-focused job program to support both students and employers. These calls have fallen on deaf ears. No provincial support for students was identified in the Alberta budget and federal support for student jobs is very limited. Many employers simply can’t afford to hire summer students or new grads thanks to the pandemic, but that could change with provincial financial support.


The Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) was cancelled by the UCP government in 2019. STEP provided a wage subsidy to employers to incentivize the hiring of students or new grads for the summer months. This program supported thousands of students to work, pay their bills, and gain skills and work experience they need for after graduation.


The SU has called for STEP to be re-implemented or a similar program created. The SU has called on both Labour and Immigration Minister Jason Copping and Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides to bring in a program.


The SU renews its call on the UCP government to take action on the student jobs crisis. Students can’t afford two consecutive summers without work.


Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577


Bookstore Privatization – Meeting with Administration

Bookstore Privatization – Meeting with Administration 150 150 Michael Brown

SU President Frank Finley and VP Operations and Finance Mohammad Ali met with university administration yesterday evening on the topic of the privatization of the campus bookstore.

Going into the meeting, the SU was concerned about increased costs on students not only for textbooks but for supplies and apparel that are sold at the bookstore. In addition, programs like the Book Loan Program and even student ability to shop around to find the best price on textbooks could be at risk.

The university informed the SU that they are considering all options. However, when asked about considering a partnership with the SU or allowing the SU to run the bookstore itself, university administration said they would not consider this option, despite the SU successfully running Bound & Copied and several other Mac Hall businesses.

However, the SU did receive several important verbal commitments from the university:


  • Students will not be forced to purchase from the bookstore
  • Students will be able to purchase second-hand books from Bound & Copied or elsewhere
  • The Book Loan Program and the Book Buyback Program will be maintained
  • Costs for other materials sold at the bookstore will not rise unreasonably


The university has previously committed to not allow textbook markups to increase and will include that in any contract signed with Follett or another vendor.

While this is positive, it remains unclear how the university would enforce these commitments and it’s worth asking why this hasn’t occurred at other institutions with Follett bookstores. In many cases, other institutions realize very quickly that making a deal with Follett is a mistake and try to exit the contract. By this point, however, the damage is done.

It still remains unclear at this point what will happen to current bookstore staff, including student employees who work there. This is concerning.

The university is planning to survey students and the university community. The university did not commit to share the survey results with the SU or make them public. In order to understand student concerns better, the SU will be putting out a survey on the bookstore as soon as possible.

The SU will continue to hold the university to account and press the university to demonstrate the benefit to the institution but also, more importantly, how students will benefit from any agreement with Follett or another provider.

SU Survey: U of C Bookstore Privatization

SU Survey: U of C Bookstore Privatization 150 150 Gene Baines

Hello UCalgary,

President Frank here, asking for your input on the issue of campus bookstore privatization.

The University of Calgary is currently considering the privatization of operations for the campus bookstore. Currently, the campus bookstore is run by the University and is not a for-profit enterprise. However, the University has now approached Follett, an American company that runs many campus bookstores across North America under a for-profit model. No contract has been signed at this time. Regardless of whether this company is brought onto campus or not, changing the business model of the campus bookstore will impact students.

To date, the University of Calgary has made several verbal assurances: that students will not be forced to purchase from the bookstore, textbook markups will not increase, and that students will still be able to purchase second-hand books from Bound & Copied, for example. We will be fighting to have these assurances written in enforceable contracts, and although we have many concerns, these are nonetheless positive steps that have resulted directly from the advocacy of your SU. However, we the SU still have many other concerns related to the privatization of bookstore operations, such as the fate of student employees, a decrease in the quality of service, or other increases in costs.

As the SU continues to advocate for the best interests of undergraduate students, we wanted to better understand student perspectives on the bookstore issue. Please take five minutes to fill out this survey to help the SU better represent student perspectives through advocacy efforts on campus. The survey will be open until 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 7.

Thank you,

Frank Finley

[button link=”″]Begin Survey[/button]

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Further Update – Campus Bookstore Privatization

Further Update – Campus Bookstore Privatization 150 150 Michael Brown

Students stood up and the university took notice. Today the university has agreed to meet with SU representatives to discuss the bookstore and will be launching a survey on the bookstore in the coming days. This is thanks to unrelenting student pressure since the bookstore privatization plan broke nearly two weeks ago.


While this is good news, the fight is not over.


SU President Frank Finley and Operations and Finance VP Mohammad Ali will meet with university VP Finance and Services Linda Dalgetty tomorrow, April 15.


In a public statement today, Ms. Dalgetty confirmed that the university will not sell the bookstore but are still considering privatization of operations with Follett or another company. While this privatization will include university oversight, questions remain. The statement also committed to no increase in the current markup of textbooks.


This is good news. After first declining a meeting with student leaders until a path had been chosen, the university is sitting down with the SU sooner than expected. The university actively seeking student feedback through a survey is also a new development and is unlikely to have happened without student pressure on the university.


There is still much more work to do if we are to save the bookstore from privatization and inevitable increased costs on students. While textbooks may not increase in mark-up, what does this mean for other products the bookstore sells like apparel and school supplies such as notebooks, pens, and pencils? Will students still be able to purchase textbooks from wherever they want including online or second hand?


A number of questions remain and these will be asked of Ms. Dalgetty at this meeting. The SU does not believe that an institution that considers itself an entrepreneurial university should throw up its hands and outsource operations to a billion-dollar American company. What risk to the university’s reputation does such a decision carry with it?


These concerns will be raised at this meeting and students can expect a further update from the SU on Friday.