More Initiatives Funded through the Horizons Project

Learn more below.

In addition to the Administrative Services Renewal and Integrated Services Renewal Initiatives, the following 24 initiatives have received funding through the Horizons Project, as part of the Government of Saskatchewan's one-time $31-million investment in the University of Saskatchewan.

Post-doctoral fellows (PDFs) are the research engine for research-intensive universities and the number of PDFs is often correlated with the quality and quantity of research productivity. Currently, USask has comparatively low numbers of PDFs compared to other U15 institutions, which hampers the growth of our research enterprise and particularly affects our success in CIHR grant competitions.

To be the university the world needs, USask needs to support and enhance funding to recruit and secure more PDFs. This upfront investment will improve our research grant outcomes and attract increased research funding to the institution.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Baljit Singh (PhD), USask Vice-President Research  
Project Lead:
 Tonya Wirechenko, Manager, Executive Initiatives and Projects, Office of the Vice-President Research

Comprehensive Campaign Accelerator Project

The University of Saskatchewan's comprehensive campaign is a coordinated campus-wide initiative that combines donor-driven interests with the areas of greatest institutional priority. USask’s $500-million campaign requires the collective efforts of the university community—shared vision, shared leadership, and shared investment. As it builds support from donors, government, and community, it is a critical component of our intent to be the university the world needs.

This initiative will accelerate the success of the USask Comprehensive Campaign by supporting strategic, campaign-specific programming over the next two years. An effectively executed campaign can re-position the university among its peers, build support and advocacy, and have a positive impact on faculty, students, and staff for decades into the future.

Executive Sponsor: Cheryl Hamelin, USask Vice-President University Relations
Project Lead: Roxanne McHattie, Campaign Director and Executive Officer to the Associate Vice President, Advancement

The goal of this initiative was to establish an Entrepreneurship and Startup Incubator at USask that would strategically complement and collaborate with existing incubators such as Co.Labs, Cultivator, Ideas Inc., and SIIT’s new incubator, the SIIT Centre for Innovation.

Launched in 2023, Opus is a pre-accelerator that provides aspiring entrepreneurs from USask with the tools needed to build successful ventures on campus. It is part of answering the call to Be What the World Needs.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Baljit Singh (PhD), USask Vice-President Research  
Project Leads:
Alix Hayden, Director of Research Excellence and Innovation, Office of the Vice President Research; and Julian Demkiw, University Secretary and Chief Governance Officer

This initiative includes the negotiation of incentives to assist the university in managing increasing retirements over a short-term and steady uptake in the medium to long term, leading to the effective ongoing renewal of the faculty complement.

With regular renewal, USask will experience a more predictable turnover of the faculty complement.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Lead:
 Dr. Patti McDougall (PhD), USask Deputy Provost

Investment in this initiative will provide flexibility during negotiations leading to permanent savings and/or avoiding permanent cost increases. Given ongoing union negotiations, additional details cannot be provided at this time to protect the negotiation process and other bargaining tables.

Executive Sponsor: Greg Fowler, USask Vice-President Administration and Chief Operating Officer
Project Leads:
 Wade Epp, Interim Associate Vice-President Human Resources; and Colin Weimer, Director, Employee and Labour Relations

USask is committed to the continuous improvement of our services—and the UniForum Benchmarking Project is helping us make data-based decisions to find efficiencies and opportunities for improvement as part of our commitment to being one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities.

In 2021, USask launched the UniForum Benchmarking Project, an initiative to identify administrative services that support teaching and research at USask. The review looks at where those services are located, the efficiency and effectiveness of the services, and how the university’s results compare to other universities in Canada and internationally.

With help from the campus community, USask through the UniForum program is about to enter our second year of data collection. The results of the data collection and feedback from community members through the two-part service effectiveness survey, along with benchmarking USask's results against other Canadian and international universities using data from Cuban Consulting, indicate there are areas to create efficiencies and more effective ways of delivering services to enhance the overall experience for students, faculty and staff. 

This foundational work funded through the Horizons Project is now complete, and has led to an ongoing four-year commitment with Cubane Consulting.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Peter Stoicheff (PhD), USask President and Vice-Chancellor
Project Leads: Chris Gaschler, Interim Associate Vice-President and Chief Information Officer, and Troy Harkot, Senior Director, Assessment & Analytics

Building demand for a different learning format to address future work needs (e.g. disruption, rapid change, new skills focus) has resulted in higher education institutions providing academic programming in different formats and with different areas of focus. Across Canada, education sectors are responding to this through the creation of more flexible programming, including micro-credentials.

Through this initiative, USask will:

  1. learn from several pilots that will inform the requirements to scale micro-credentials across campus.
  2. invest in central resources (staffing and IT infrastructure) so the colleges can implement and grow micro-credentials in an organized structure.
  3. focus on learning outcomes and engagement by seeking feedback from program participants, community partners, and internal colleges and schools.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Leads:
Dr. Patti McDougall (PhD), Deputy Provost; and Dr. Nancy Turner (PhD), Senior Director, Teaching and Learning Enhancement

University rankings, awards, and recognitions are valuable sources of comparative information and help us tell our story to the world. They provide an affirmation of the excellent work occurring across the USask campus and help reinforce our goal to be what the world needs.

They influence enrolment decisions made by prospective students and their parents, affect our ability to attract and retain world-class researchers, faculty, and other highly qualified personnel, and are often cited as indicators of institutional quality.

This initiative is focused on improving the USask's national and international rankings by being intentional about collecting data and sharing the stories that help the university plan for, and achieve, our goals.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic; and Dr. Baljit Singh (PhD), USask Vice-President Research
Project Leads: Dr. Dawn Wallin (PhD), Associate Vice-President Research (Engagement); and Jennifer Drennan, University Rankings Strategist 

The Research Grant Management project is re-constructing post-research award support to enable researchers to spend less time on the administrative requirements of their grant, resulting in greater research productivity. With a focus on just-in-time services, it will help researchers and their teams to manage their grants effectively through faster launch and improved navigation of institutional processes, leading to less overspent funds, fewer extensions and increased applications and engagement in research.

Through stakeholder engagement, the project mapped current post-award services to identify challenges and opportunities for efficiencies. Based on this feedback, the project implemented a new model of post-award support, recruiting a small team of research management professionals who coordinate post-award support for faculty and build capacity amongst researchers and staff.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Baljit Singh (PhD), USask Vice-President Research
Project Leads:
 Laura Zink, Director, Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives

Project Steering Committee:

  • Laura Zink, Director, Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives
  • Dr. Bram Noble (PhD), Vice Dean, Research Scholarly and Artistic Work, College of Arts and Science
  • Tara Hackl, Executive Assistant
  • Trevor Batters, Director, Financial Operations
  • Jae-Anne Peace, ConnectionPoint Director, Services, Finances & Resources
  • Dr. Angela Lieverse (PhD), Professor, Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Leah Johnson, Associate Director, Research Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives
  • Meaghan Risling, Programs Coordinator, Research Acceleration & Strategic Initiatives (Project Manager)
  • Bethany Penn, Research Specialist – Post-Award
  • Ronda Appell, Research Specialist – Post-Award

A significant number of research projects, especially in-person research with human subjects, have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions are increasingly lifted, USask’s Research Ethics office has been overwhelmed with a backlog of ethics applications, resulting in long turnaround times impacting research getting started. This project will assist in strategically supplementing the human resource complement in the research ethics office, targeting the addition of positions that will have the greatest impact on clearing bottlenecks.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Baljit Singh (PhD), USask Vice-President Research
Project Lead:
Dr. Terry Fonstad (PhD), Associate Vice-President Research (Ethics and Infrastructure)

To support our University Plan 2025 commitment to being “The University the World Needs”, USask needs to place a high priority on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Only by addressing the interlinked social, economic and environmental challenges captured by the SDGs will it be possible to tackle climate change and protect the planet, while at the same time creating a prosperous, just and equitable society.

USask plays a vital role in nurturing, empowering, and unleashing the curiousity needed to imagine a brighter and more sustainable future. In support, USask has recently adopted a Sustainability Strategy with the target to reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

Through this multi-phase initiative, USask is engaging external services to lead a detailed process of consultation and technical review to ultimately provide feasibility assessments to meet immediate, medium- and long-term GHG objectives. The feasibility assessment will provide USask with clear, actionable short-term (next 5 years) tactics to reduce GHG emissions, and defined inflection points over the following 10 to 20 years that require advanced planning and decision-making in order to continue towards 2050 targets while minimizing cost impacts. 

Did you know? Eighty-five percent of USask GhG emissions come from the heating, cooling, and electrical requirements of core campus buildings.

Executive Sponsor: Greg Fowler, USask Vice-President Administration and Chief Operating Officer
Project Lead:
 Robert Bierman, Manager, Facilities Sustainability and Engineering

Steering Committee: 

  • Dr. Patti McDougall (PhD), USask Deputy Provost
  • Wade Epp, Associate Vice-President, Services and Interim Associate Vice-President Human Resources
  • Dr. Terry Fonstad (PhD)Associate Vice-President Research (Ethics and Infrastructure)
  • Janelle Hutchinson, Chief Sustainability Officer 
  • Troy Linsley, Director, Facilities 
  • Adam Paulgaard, Capital Projects Analyst

Core Project Team: 

  • Troy Linsley, Director, Facilities 
  • Dwight Grayston, Manager, Utilities
  • Andrew Watson, Heating Plant Manager and Chief Stationary Engineer
  • Bradie Preiss, Manager, Sustainability and Engineering, Facilities 
  • Darrell Solie, Mechanical Engineer, Facilities
  • Danny Baliad, Electrical Engineer, Facilities
  • Dean Bilodeau, Mechanical Technologist 

Three University of Saskatchewan departments—art and art history, drama and music— will form a new academic school within the College of Arts and Science by July 1, 2024.

Coming together under common leadership, the programs in each of these disciplines will continue building on their solid foundations of excellence and will set more expansive goals for attracting students and faculty, research investment, alumni and donor support, and community partners and collaborators. The school will reaffirm and celebrate the essential and distinctive role of the fine and performing arts in connecting the University with the local community, as well as nationally and internationally.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic 
Project Lead:
Dr. Brooke Milne (PhD), Dean, College of Arts & Science

The USask Health Sciences supports the university's vision to become the university the world needs by fostering excellence in interprofessional practices, interdisciplinary life, and health science discovery, and by integrating education, research, policy, and practices to improve health outcomes for all people in Saskatchewan, Canada, and globally.  

The Health Sciences Reorganization project is a multi-phase initiative to develop a creative new academic health sciences model to preserve faculty knowledge and foster the expansion of interdisciplinary research, programming, and community engagement. The project will create administrative cost efficiencies, simplify university academic structures, improve the alignment of academic programs, and increase collaborative research opportunities that support research and academic priorities for faculty, staff, and students in USask health sciences.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Lead:
Dr. Adam Baxter-Jones (PhD), Interim Associate Provost, Health

Project Steering Committee:

  • Dr. Jane Alcorn (PhD), Dean, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
  • Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (PhD), Dean, College of Arts and Science
  • Dr. Walter Siqueira (DMD), Dean, College of Dentistry
  • Dr. Melissa Just (PhD), Dean, Univesity Library
  • Dr. Joel Lanovaz (PhD), Interim Dean, College of Kinesiology
  • Dr. Gillian Muir (PhD), Dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. George Mutwiri, Interim Executive Director, School of Public Health 
  • Dr. Teresa Paslawski (PhD), Associate Dean, School of Rehabilitation Science
  • Dr. Solina Richter (DCur), Dean, College of Nursing
  • Dr. Preston Smith, Dean, College of Medicine
  • Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic

This initiative will lay the foundation for the development of shared course offerings across the health sciences colleges and schools to avoid duplication of courses and realize cost savings related to faculty and staff resources. As part of this project, health sciences will develop a postgraduate certificate program in Indigenous health as a pilot. A short-term project officer has been hired to conduct an environmental scan of current Indigenous health course offerings, conduct consultations to identify shared course opportunities, develop a policy and procedures for shared health science courses, and develop and implement the pilot postgraduate certificate.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Lead:
Dr. Adam Baxter-Jones (PhD), Interim Associate Provost, Health

Project Steering Committee:

  • Dr. Jane Alcorn (PhD), Dean, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
  • Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (PhD), Dean, College of Arts and Science
  • Dr. Walter Siqueira (DMD), Dean, College of Dentistry
  • Dr. Melissa Just (PhD), Dean, Univesity Library
  • Dr. Joel Lanovaz (PhD), Interim Dean, College of Kinesiology
  • Dr. Gillian Muir (PhD), Dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. George Mutwiri, Interim Executive Director, School of Public Health 
  • Dr. Teresa Paslawski (PhD), Associate Dean, School of Rehabilitation Science
  • Dr. Solina Richter (DCur), Dean, College of Nursing
  • Dr. Preston Smith, Dean, College of Medicine
  • Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic

This project is assisting the College of Medicine in developing comprehensive proposals and business plans for discussion with government and health sector partners for new programs within the College of Medicine: (1) an Occupational Therapy (OT) program in the School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS) and (2) a new and enhanced addictions medicine program using expertise from across family medicine, psychiatry, and internal medicine.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Lead:
Dr. Preston Smith, Dean, College of Medicine

Education in health science disciplines requires complex and resource-intensive experiential clinical learning, within a context of patient risk, placement scarcity, and urban centricity. Currently, the College of Nursing (CoN) relies on low to high-fidelity simulated experiences to address these challenges, but these are often costly, institution-based, and minimally address accessibility.

Building on its extensive and leading presence in distributive nursing education, VIRTUALLY THERE, will advance the College's teaching and learning environment using immersive virtual reality (VR) across all programs. This initiative enables the development and delivery of VR experiences for core programs as well as focal and/or contextual contributions (e.g., anti-racism training, mental-health specialization, interprofessional education, virtual globalization exposure).

The project will assist the College in building a palette of micro-credential offerings, such as RN prescribing or VR in the care continuum to enrich health care in Saskatchewan and beyond. 

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Lead:
Dr. Solina Richter (DCur), Dean, College of Nursing

Part of USask’s Sustainability Strategy is to support the integration of sustainability concepts and principles within USask’s curricula. USask ranks high in sustainability-related programming in the QS world university rankings, Shanghai rankings, and our own reputational surveys. With a modest amount of dedicated support, the work of better incorporating sustainability-related programming into our curricula could significantly increase.

This project funded a position to support faculty and the Deputy Provost in integrating sustainability into the curriculum, the establishment of up to five "faculty fellows" to move forward on USask's commitment to the UN's SDGs, and developing community-engaged sustainability projects.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Leads:
Dr. Nancy Turner (PhD), Senior Director, Teaching and Learning Enhancement

USask can respond to an urgent and increasing global need to minimize water use and maximize crop resilience in the face of climate change while increasing revenues and amplifying existing strengths in the Colleges of Agriculture and Bioresources and Engineering and in the Global Institute for Water Security. The province's planned $4B investment in irrigation requires hydrologists, agrologists, and engineers with expertise in sustainable irrigation design.

This initiative will assist USask in developing a suite of online non-degree course materials, intended for both undergraduates and practicing professionals working in irrigation design and management. Learners in the disciplines of engineering, hydrology, and agronomy would be eligible to complete a set of introductory modules, with fast certification in their own area and an in-depth introduction to the complementary disciplines. 

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Leads:
Dr. Carey Simonson (PhD), interim Dean, College of Engineering; Dr. Angela Bedard-Haughn (PhD), Dean, College of Agriculture and Bioresources; and Dr. Terry Fonstad (PhD), Interim Director, Global Institute for Water Security

This initiative will provide strategic funding to Huskie Athletics to help offset revenue losses incurred as a result of the pandemic, and to re-staff back up to a necessary level.

A key revenue source for Huskie Athletics is the Student Athletic Fee that is collected in Term 1 and Term 2. Recognizing the financial pressure many students faced at the onset of the pandemic, the university waived this fee for Term 1 in the 2020-21 academic year, resulting in lost revenue of approximately $680,000.  Additionally, the organization lost revenues typically generated through ticket sales. Huskie Athletics was able to mitigate revenue loss through expense reductions, most notably by eliminating staff. Overall, 10 positions (or about 22% of Huskie Athletics FTE) were eliminated or reduced last year.

This initiative is a necessary investment to meet the minimum requirements of delivering the Huskie Athletics program and return to play for student-athletes. Positions to be hired include a 0.4 FTE physiotherapist to focus on fee-for-service work at the Sports Science & Health Centre in Merlis Belsher Place, a marketing position, administrative support, and a digital coordinator to support game nights, operations, and sponsorship fulfillment. The expectation is that funding for these positions will be covered by incremental revenue once revenue streams for Huskie Athletics return to pre-pandemic levels.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Peter Stoicheff (PhD), USask President and Vice-Chancellor
Project Leads:
 Shannon Chinn, Huskies Chief Athletics Officer

Several USask colleges and units have established separate store operations to support their academic and research missions. Each of these stores is independently staffed and managed, adding complexity and expense, and are not set up to operate in a collaborative or efficient manner.

This initiative will leverage continuous improvement and store best practices in USask’s internal warehousing and distribution system. The goal is to achieve a unified and effective improvement of material management, intuitional inventory management, and improved customer experience across campus.

Executive Sponsor: Greg Fowler, USask Vice-President Administration and Chief Operating Officer
Project Lead:
Chris Gaschler, Interim Associate Vice-President and Chief Information Officer

The pandemic has shown the university the benefits of remote learning, most notably expanded access to education for those who want or need to “learn where they live.”

The wireless network on our campus was not designed to support high-density, high-bandwidth applications, such as having entire classrooms of students participating in hybrid video conferencing. In order to allow for the continued benefits of hybrid and remote learning, classroom and common spaces require stronger wireless coverage.

Through the Wi-Fi enhancement project, USask will be able to better recruit, retain, and support our student body where they are, and provides improved technology‐enabled pedagogy options moving forward. It will ensure classrooms are fitted with remote learning technology and have adequate coverage for hybrid teaching methods.

Executive Sponsor: Greg Fowler, USask Vice-President Administration and Chief Operating Officer
Project Lead:
Chris Gaschler, Interim Associate Vice-President and Chief Information Officer

The College of Dentistry's current dental software system lacks a telehealth function and cannot be adapted for use in multiple remote clinics. The lack of suitable dental management software in community clinics reduces clinic revenue through inefficiencies and increases IT support expenses.

This project will upgrade the College of Dentistry dental software system to ICE Health Systems which can support the college’s network of community dental clinics serving Indigenous communities and patients, and the implementation of this software will increase clinical revenue and decrease expenditures.

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic
Project Lead:
Dr. Douglas Brothwell (DMD), Professor and former Dean, USask College of Dentistry

Please note that this project has been discontinued. Upon further investigation, it was identified that the intended software is not fit for the Canadian market. Funding allocated to this project has been redistributed to other priority projects.

This initiative supports the work of the Horizons Project to determine how one-time funding of $31 million from the Ministry of Advanced Education can support USask's financial sustainability. It includes the short-term hiring of an Interim Associate Provost - Strategic priorities, the secondment of a director of project development, and administrative support to support the work of the Horizons Project. 

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic 
Project Lead:
 Dr. Patti McDougall (PhD), USask Deputy Provost

This initiative supports the hiring of the Director of Provost Communications to provide senior communication support for the university’s financial sustainability and the strategic priorities initiatives that the Office of the Provost is undertaking over the next two years. 

Executive Sponsor: Dr. Airini (PhD), USask Provost and Vice-President Academic