Did you consider ‘Faculty of Health Sciences’ as an option?

Yes, it was one of the options we considered closely. Ultimately, though, we think ‘Faculty of Health’ better encompasses the different types of degrees in our Faculty – that is, both Arts and Sciences. Also, because it is more broad, it should provide a bigger umbrella for more disciplines to fall under. We recognize that we may never find a name that encompasses all our research areas, but we think ‘Health’ comes closest.

How does Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) fit into ‘Health?’

Many, if not most, areas of this department should fit into the definition of health that alludes to wellness. Even tourism, sports and park recreation fit into the concept of health, whether it refers to the sustainability of our environment and how we relate to it, or the act of finding health and wellness in activities such as sport, leisure and social justice. As in the question above, it may not be the perfect name, but it is probably more inclusive of RLS than the current name.

Doesn’t ‘Health’ sound like it is just referring to students in the School of Public Health and Health Systems?

It’s true that students in the School might say they study health when they are referring to public health or health studies, but we don’t think that means no one else can say they study in the Faculty of Health. We believe it would not be a hard transition to make, seeing as how students in Kinesiology and Recreation and Leisure Studies also study health from different perspectives.

What would the name change mean for my degree? How will it affect my chances for receiving funding, or marketability in the job market or academia?

The name change should not have any negative effect on your degree or marketability because it is not normally used when displaying or talking about your degree. When you graduate from this Faculty, you graduate with a BA, BSc, BPH, MA, MSc, MPH, MHI, MHE or PhD in your program, whatever that may be.

If you were studying at a different university, your program might be found in a totally different Faculty, so it really should not have any bearing on your marketability. What counts for more is what you studied and learned, where you studied, and how well you showcase your knowledge and attitude in interviews or applications.

Conversely, the Faculty name can make a difference in student and faculty recruitment, since a broad name can expand our applicant pool and reach candidates that may otherwise not consider applying.

Is my academic unit also considering changing its name?

The academic units often evaluate the suitability of their names, and a time such as this would no doubt be a catalyst for these types of discussions. However, at this time, no final decisions have been made in this regard.

What if the Faculty name doesn’t represent what I’m studying or the research that I do? Will it hurt my chances of receiving funding?

When you apply for funding, what matters is the strength of your application to the funding body, not the name of the Faculty. The Faculty name has more to do with brand, and in this respect, while it tries to represent all fields of study within it, it also has to weigh the importance of including them all versus having the name be easily recognizable, understandable and memorable.

What happens to AHSUM and AHSSIE and all the things we love about the AHS name?

We love those puns and our kangaroo as well, and we would love for that not to change. In the end, though, what happens to the undergraduate student association name is up to students. We think it is feasible to retain some sort of AHS acronym, either as a legacy piece, or as part of a new identity (e.g., Association of Health Students). We know that our students are clever and fun, and that they can steer the branding in a cool direction if they want to. The teal colour will still be there, and ideally, so will AHSSIE.

Is rebranding a good use of our funds right now?

Rebranding is a huge endeavour with many components, and often, significant costs are attached to it. In our case, our visual identity (colour, font, etc.) will not change because our marketing is coordinated with the rest of the university. Recruitment brochures are also coordinated centrally, and they would be done according to the normal cycle and should not incur extra costs. Items such as letterhead are available online and business cards, if they are used at all, can be used up in the year or two it takes to fully transition. What will entail a cost is new signage, but the University is finalizing a wayfinding process right now so it is possible we might be able to coordinate with that project. Websites and other online assets will require human resources, but not extra funds that could better be spent elsewhere. The Faculty strives to be financially responsible, and believes that the costs for a name change would not be onerous, especially since the transition will occur over time.

Is the name change part of the AHS Strategic Plan 2020-25?

Yes, it is one of the Objectives in the proposed plan, under the Internal and External Community Engagement Priority. However, because the name affects other areas of the University, it needs to be treated differently than the rest of the plan and must go through the University approval process, including Senate and the Board of Governors. The rest of the AHS Strategic Plan needs to be approved by the bodies within AHS, such as Faculty Council. That is why the name change Is on a different timeline than the rest of the plan.

When would the name change take effect?

Assuming it goes through the approval process in the coming months and gets on the agenda for Board of Governors in November, then we could be ready to implement it by January 2021. However, it will take about a year for the name change to be fully integrated into the normal cycle of recruitment and registrar materials, and for us to turn over all our website and social media assets. The idea is that it would be fully in effect for Fall 2022.

How were students able to show their feedback?

We started consulting with student representatives in winter 2020, although we did have some less formal opportunities going back to last year. Of course, students have been sitting on the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, and were also invited to send comments to members of the Advisory Committee or to the Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications (which some students have done). Students were also interested in participating in a poll, so one was distributed to graduate students by the graduate student representatives, and another was distributed the first week of June to undergraduates. Both surveys had great engagement. See the undergraduate results here.

If you have any other questions, please email Eugenia Xenos Anderson.