The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is focused on a future of excellence — to be a university that sets the standard in learning, teaching, research, scholarly, and artistic work, and community engagement.

Through the Horizons Project, USask has fully allocated a one-time investment of $31-million to 26 initiatives that will assist in building a foundation for a sustainable future, generating revenue and reducing expenses, growing our research, teaching, and community engagement, and helping our institution recover and transition from COVID-19.

Two of these initiatives — the Health Sciences Shared Courses Initiative and the Health Sciences Reorganization Initiative — have been approved and undertaken by the Health Sciences Deans Committee to help the university build an innovative and financially sustainable future.

Steering Committee

Dr. Jane Alcorn
Dean, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
Dr. Marilyn Baetz
Interim Dean, College of Medicine
Interim Dean, College of Kinesiology
Dean, College of Arts & Science
Dean, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
Executive Director, School of Public Health
Dr. Solina Richter
Dean, College of Nursing
Dean, College of Dentistry
Charlene Sorenson
Interim Dean, University Library
Interim Associate Provost, Health
Provost and Vice-President Academic

The Health Sciences Shared Courses Initiative

The Health Sciences Shared Courses Initiative addressed all project deliverables by May 2023 and was completed well within the Horizon Fund deadline of April 2024. It assessed opportunities to deliver shared health science course offerings to students in the university’s health science colleges and schools and explored the development of any required supporting policies, procedures, and infrastructure to enable these courses.

The initiative worked in partnership with — and benefitted from the momentum built by — a separate tuition bridge-funded project to develop an online introductory professionalism common course for health science students.

The focus of the initiative was to:

  • undertake curriculum mapping of health science courses and identify possible courses that can be shared;
  • identify the academic home for shared courses*;
  • identify revenue sharing model for shared courses*; 
  • seek appropriate academic approval*; and
  • pilot a sharing arrangement for new and existing Indigenous health and wellness courses that uplift Indigenization by promoting Indigenous knowledge and supporting reconciliation and decolonization.

This Health Sciences Shared Courses Initiative was piloted by investigating opportunities to develop a health sciences postgraduate certificate focussed on Indigenous health and wellness. Rather than develop materials from scratch for an additional undertaking that was deemed impractical within most student course loads and degree requirements, the development team reimagined the certificate deliverable. As a result, the online resource “Stepping Stones: Resources for Indigenous Health, Wellness, and Reconciliation” was made available to the public in May 2023 with the intent of providing instructors with a variety of materials that could be selected to augment existing courses or utilized to tailor an Indigenous health and wellness certificate of completion in the future.

Following feedback from stakeholders and consultation with the development team, deliverables also evolved to include the piloting of shared common topic modules for insertion into existing courses. By Fall 2023, four common topics modules (communications, EDI, professionalism, and ethics) and the resources for a certificate of completion (Indigenous health and wellness) were made available to all health science programs.

The interest, uptake, enthusiasm, and energy generated by the development teams, instructor cohorts, and learners indicate that — by working together on modules — the university is creating a culture more ready and with appetite for shared courses.

* Following stakeholder consultations and steering committee deliberations, objectives were re-focussed on the development of shared modules rather than complete courses which were deemed to not be feasible before the completion of the Health Sciences Reorganization Initiative.

The Health Sciences Reorganization Initiative

Launched in late 2021, this initiative included deliverables requiring a review of previous health science change efforts and recommendations at the university, an environmental scan of comparator institutes and internal structures, engagement with internal and external stakeholders, recommendations required for a sustainable future state organizational structure, and development of an implementation plan to achieve the recommended future state.

The most recent report — Recommendations and Operating Model for the Health Sciences Reorganization Initiative — was submitted to the provost and vice-president academic's office for consideration on Jan. 25, 2024. 

Although the Reorganization Initiative was an independent project, substantial overlap and inter-project reliance exist between this project and other Horizons initiatives operating at the same time. The most noteworthy of these is the Administrative Services Renewal (ASR) Initiative.

The focus of the Health Sciences Reorganization Initiative was to:

  • undertake an environmental scan of comparator institutions;
  • map the current state of internal USask structures;
  • engage with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive understanding of what “stands in the way” of collaboration; and
  • develop a proposed “future state” organizational structure and articulate the administrative, governance, and budgetary infrastructure that will be required to facilitate implementation of the future state.

NOTE: The Institutional Context Report released in June 2022 comprises a portion of the deliverables listed above. 


Timeline graphic for the Health Sciences Reorganization Initiative
The health sciences strategic priority initiatives began in November 2021. As of March 2024, the timeline involved the following identified milestones: Create an operational strategy for developing recommendations (September – October 2022); Develop recommendations (October – December 2022); Seek steering committee approval of recommendations (January – July 2023); Present recommendations to faculty (September – November 2023); Submit official recommendations to the provost's office (January 2024); Develop a strategic plan for implementation, evaluation, and monitoring (April 2024).

Stakeholder engagement


USask faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to share suggestions with the Health Sciences Strategic Priority Initiatives Steering Committee.

If you have insights or constructive feedback involving opportunities for the health sciences to connect across boundaries, please share them through the feedback form below.