This Calendar is effective September 1, 2001 - August 31, 2002
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1. Athabasca University Mission, History, and Governance

Athabasca University is dedicated to the removal of barriers that traditionally restrict access to and success in university-level studies and to increasing equality of educational opportunity for all adult Canadians regardless of their geographical location and prior academic credentials. In common with all universities, Athabasca University is committed to excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and to being of service to the general public.

Athabasca University Mission Statement, May 1985

1.1. About Athabasca University


The need for a fourth Alberta university became evident in the 1960s when university enrolments rose sharply. In response, Athabasca University was created in 1970 by an order in council of the government of Alberta. Soon after, however, enrolments took a downturn halting the development of another campus-based university. Instead, a pilot project was initiated to study new teaching and learning strategies for post-secondary students that would enable students to pursue their educational goals without leaving their homes, jobs or families.

The result was Athabasca University, a distance learning centre without a campus that would specialize in the delivery of distance education courses and programs. Six hundred and fifty students enrolled in the pilot project between 1972 and 1975. Athabasca University held its first convocation ceremony for two graduates in 1977.

Athabasca University's future was ensured in 1978 when a revision of the Alberta Universities Act granted the University permanent, self-governing status (approval in principle was given in 1975).

In 1984 Athabasca University moved its location from Edmonton to the town of Athabasca, 145 kilometres north. Satellite learning centres were then established in Calgary and Edmonton. They provide another educational link to students by offering many services.

In 1985 the mission statement was adopted to reflect the University's commitment to innovation, flexibility, excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and service in the community. Emphasis has also been placed on international development and building a base for public trust and private support.

Authority to Grant Degrees

Athabasca University is a publicly funded institution of the Province of Alberta that reports to the government through the Minister of Alberta Learning. Through the Universities Act, the government authorizes Athabasca University Governing Council to grant degrees and govern its own affairs. Members of Athabasca University Governing Council are appointed under orders in council of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.


Athabasca University operates with a unicameral governance system. Athabasca University Governing Council incorporates the full responsibilities of a traditional board of governors (the overall policy committee), a general faculties council (responsible for academic policy), and a senate (fulfills the role of community liaison).

Athabasca University Governing Council members are appointed by the Government of Alberta. Its membership consists of one chairperson, up to eight public members, two academic staff, one student, one tutor, and one non-academic staff.


Athabasca University is a full member of the

1.2.  Important Changes

Section 10 Student Support Services has important URLs where students can find expanded information on subjects or departments at Athabasca University. Section 2 An Overview, comprises course delivery definitions for delivery modes noted in Section 3 Undergraduate Courses. Each course is linked to its online syllabus that provides course content and evaluation information.

1.2.1. Protection of Privacy

Athabasca University became subject to Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act on September 1, 1999. The purpose of the Act is to make all public bodies, including universities, more open, accessible and accountable to the public and at the same time protect the privacy of individuals.

Athabasca University collects and maintains information for the purposes of admissions, registrations, and other activities directly related to you being a member of the Athabasca University community and its education programs, and attending a public post-secondary institution of the Province of Alberta. Applicants are advised that the information they provide, and any other information placed into the student record, will be protected and used in compliance with Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

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