"This mandate statement has been developed by the University of Lethbridge in consultation with the Minister of Advanced Education pursuant to Section 78 of the Post-secondary Learning Act (PSLA). 

1. Type of Institution, Sector, and Governance

The University of Lethbridge is a board-governed public post-secondary institution operating in Alberta as a comprehensive academic and research university under the authority of the PSLA.

2. Outcomes

Located in the heart of traditional Blackfoot Confederacy territory, the University of Lethbridge serves the people of southern Alberta through programs, research and creative activity that contribute to economic and social prosperity locally and globally. Founded on the principles of liberal education, the University of Lethbridge is broad in scope while promoting excellence in undergraduate and graduate education that prepares students to understand and address an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The University fosters a learning community that meets the educational and personal growth needs of its students by offering a learning community emphasizing teaching excellence; exposure to research; information literacy; interaction with professors and instructors; effective academic advising, applied learning opportunities, and career counselling; and a spectrum of cultural, recreational, and extracurricular opportunities.

Through high quality academic programming, and access to research, and to work-integrated learning, the University prepares graduates to contribute meaningfully to the economic, social, and cultural progress of Alberta, Canada, and the world. The University’s liberal education foundation ensures a commonality in students’ skillsets while discipline-specific study leads to the diversity of perspectives crucial to developing an engaged citizenry and a skilled and resilient workforce prepared for a future of unknown challenges and opportunities. Facilities and services, such as the University Library, Agility Innovation Zone, student residences, health services, theatres and other performance spaces, and sports and recreation facilities support and enrich the student experience and the lives of community members while respecting environmental sustainability.

Core to our research philosophy are commitments to both pure and applied research, community outreach and engagement, and cross-sector industry and community partnerships for knowledge mobilization. The University of Lethbridge fosters an environment that prioritizes student engagement in pure and applied research in all disciplines and levels of instruction, from undergraduate to graduate studies. Through intentional engagement and collaboration, the University of Lethbridge creates ongoing and expanded opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows to engage in research and innovation activities that provide them with real-world, collaborative experience as part of their academic training that addresses the needs and challenges of the region in which we operate.

The University builds mutually supportive relationships and partnerships, addresses the cultural and societal needs of the communities it touches, and advocates for the critical role that education plays in the growth and well-being of an informed society. A strong commitment to offering accessible and affordable academic programming and research opportunities guides the provision of multiple educational pathways, and academic, financial, and personal well-being supports to enable students to progress towards graduation and employment. The University further contributes to society by discovering, preserving, synthesizing, and disseminating knowledge for the benefit of all.

3. Clients/Students

The University of Lethbridge serves a variety of student groups: undergraduate and graduate students; transfer students including dual admission and dual enrolment students; dual credit and high school graduates; Indigenous students; students with disabilities; international students; adult learners; and immigrants.

4. Geographic Service Area and Type of Delivery

The University of Lethbridge serves students in Lethbridge, Calgary, and through distance learning technology, students across the province, the country, and the world. Although most learning, research and creative activity takes place face-to-face on the two campuses, programming is also offered through online and blended delivery. The University strives to make university-level education available to all Albertans, including those living outside major urban centres, those who have traditionally not sought university education, and, through its Calgary campus, adult working learners seeking university programming. Students have access to work integrated learning experiences locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally through co-operative education, practicum placements, applied and independent studies, interdisciplinary research, exchange programs, and recognition for volunteer activity.

5. Program Mandates and Credentials Offering

The University of Lethbridge provides undergraduate and graduate programs in education, fine arts, health sciences, humanities, management/business, nursing, sciences, and social sciences, leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The University also provides specialized certificate and diploma programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, and programs and degrees that lead to professional specialization. Continuing Education programming and open studies courses in Calgary and Lethbridge uphold our commitment to community engagement and serve the lifelong learning needs of our community members.

6. Special Program Areas/Areas of Specialization

The University of Lethbridge’s focus on liberal education as a foundational teaching and learning philosophy sets it apart from other universities in Alberta. The School of Liberal Education was established in 2017 to further develop the University’s historic commitment to liberal education and to ensure all programming and supports help students become global, engagedcitizens who think critically, communicate effectively, respect creativity and contribute to the world around them. These higher-level skills prepare students to embrace complexity, diversity and change to become innovative leaders in an evolving knowledge economy and to address issues and problems of the future.

Our strong partnership with the Blackfoot Confederacy is crucial to developing appropriate programming, supports, and services for Indigenous students. We strive for an inclusive and supportive environment to enable these students to succeed in their chosen pathways.

The University of Lethbridge offers programs unique in both content area and in delivery. Situated in southern Alberta, we seek to integrate and respond to the landscape and communities that surround us. We create and deliver programming that supports the needs of the surrounding economy, such as agricultural studies, technology, and business; environmental sciences; and computer and geographical systems. We also deliver programming that supports the social and cultural needs of our communities, with unique program offerings in addictions counselling; therapeutic recreation; Indigenous studies, and the creative arts. We are known for delivering traditional undergraduate and graduate programs with robust experiential learning opportunities. Undergraduate and graduate students alike can engage in hands-on research and projects with faculty, the community, and industry partners. Work-integrated learning opportunities are available throughout all our programming, including the social sciences and humanities. The University’s education program is uniquely known for the length and depth of experience students acquire in their practicum placements, and the digital audio arts major is the most comprehensive degree program of its kind in Western Canada. With one of the largest art collections in Canada, the University provides students with unparalleled access to creative materials, especially in Indigenous art. The opening of the Science Commons research and teaching facility heralds our commitment to the future of scientific thought and innovation, where students, researchers, community members, entrepreneurs and business leaders can converge to bring new discoveries, both pure and applied, to light across the natural sciences, life sciences, and neuroscience.

Diploma and certificate programs that can ladder into degrees provide students with flexible options and different pathways to earn university credentials. The University strives to develop programming that is responsive to changing student and societal needs and that, through liberal education requirements and work-integrated learning opportunities, provides students with the vital skills and perspectives necessary to succeed in and make meaningful contributions to the twenty-first century.

7. System Collaboration and Partnerships 

In support of Campus Alberta, the University of Lethbridge collaborates with other institutions to ensure transferability within the province’s post-secondary education system and deliver seamless learning opportunities. As part of this commitment, the University works with other institutions to provide degree completion opportunities for university transfer students and dual admission students and diploma graduates. We establish strategic partnerships with other institutions and organizations to enhance student learning, operational efficiencies, and to co-operate on provincial and national priorities such as students’ mental health supports, and equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives. For example, the University of Lethbridge has formalized its commitment to collaboration with the establishment of a common vision and principles with partner institutions Lethbridge College and Medicine Hat College. This partnership solidifies our common goals of increasing access to post-secondary education in southern Alberta, while harnessing our resources and leveraging our complementary efforts and expertise to meet the needs of our shared communities and economy more efficiently and effectively within the provincial landscape.

Across the spectrum of intellectual pursuit, the University continually develops innovative programs and research in existing and emerging disciplines to meet the needs of students, society, and the economy. This includes collaborating with Indigenous peoples to develop programs and research that are relevant and accessible to them.

8. Research and Scholarly Activities

The University of Lethbridge conducts pure and applied research and establishes and sustains programs for pursuing original research. The University develops centres of research excellence in areas in which it has special expertise or that have particular relevance to the region or province. These centres and institutes transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries to address a wide range of complex scientific, environmental, social, health, and economic issues that require creative but practical solutions. Programs of creative activity, research and scholarship also include the study of fundamental issues for their intrinsic intellectual, aesthetic, or philosophical interest, and of practical challenges of direct importance for social, cultural, economic, or environmental well-being. Student participation in research and creative activity at the undergraduate and graduate level allows them to contribute to knowledge development and to develop skills applicable to their career success. Partnerships with industry, organizations, and communities to collaborate on research and development of creative expression benefit the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the communities we serve. The University protects free inquiry and scholarship, facilitates access to scholarly resources, and supports artistic expression and the free and open scholarly discussion of issues.

9. System Mandate

The University of Lethbridge engages in partnerships with local, provincial, and national organizations to extend the benefits of high quality post-secondary learning beyond the classroom or laboratory. A wide range of youth programming exposes K – 12 students to elements of post-secondary learning. The University also develops external partnerships to significantly expand programming, supports and opportunities specifically for Indigenous youth and Indigenous post-secondary students to encourage their participation and success in completing degrees, certificates and diplomas that will enable them to become leaders in their communities and in southern Alberta.

The University maintains an innovation ecosystem that encourages transdisciplinary innovation, including social innovation, for students and faculty. A range of programs and partnerships foster the development of ideas, collaboration with industry and agencies, knowledge transfers, practical application of research ideas and solutions, and entrepreneurship.

Partnerships with international post-secondary institutions provide pathways for international students to attend the University of Lethbridge and for Alberta students to gain valuable international experience. Programs supporting English skill development for academic purposes equip students with language skills to be successful in their academic programs and careers.

Public speaker series and events engage, enrich, and challenge the surrounding communities through individual guest speakers, frequently faculty members, who present their research and invite discussion on important issues. Speaker series and events occur on both campuses, in off-site University spaces, and in community spaces. Fine Arts programming in music, drama and art offered on campus, in Lethbridge and rural southern Alberta communities contributes to the cultural richness of the area."

- Approved by the UofL Board of Governors, May 28, 2021 and Minister of Advanced Education June 14, 2021 (Investment Management Agreement)

Additionally, the Mandate and Roles document for the University of Lethbridge has been developed collaboratively between the Minister responsible for Advanced Education and the University to reflect a common understanding of respective roles and responsibilities.