The challenge of planning remains foremost for the administration. It is a challenge made more difficult by the uncertain political environment within Ontario, by the recent announcement of a reduction in the tuition fee framework from 5% to 3% annual increases, and by the ways in which technological changes are having an impact on everything from how courses are taught to what students expect.
Superimposed on all of this is the need to navigate collective bargaining at a time when cost escalation is out of alignment with fiscal realities.
Enrolment, capital renewal, and cost containment will continue to be priorities going forward.
Enrolment continues to grow across Ontario, and without some enrolment growth at the University of Windsor, we will have a declining share of the provincial enrolment and the resources that flow in support of it.
- Ensure that there is strong recruitment and marketing plan that reaches to key market segments across southwestern Ontario and the GTA.
- Complete the review of scholarship offerings and assess how they are being used to maximize recruitment and retention of students.
- Strive to continue growth in first year intake of undergraduate students by 150 domestic students and 50 international students, and intake of graduate students by 25 domestic students and 100 graduate students. This growth, over a five year period, would move us to a situation where we have a total of close to twenty thousand students, of which about twenty-five hundred are international. Assuming that cost growth can be contained, this would represent a more vibrant and sustainable size for the institution.
- Move to full implementation of our new international student recruitment model.
The unexpected introduction of a tuition framework that has reduced annual increases has placed a new pressure on the 2013/14 operating budget, and we anticipate that it will result in a $2M shortfall that will have to be addressed on a one-time basis until such time as it can be realigned. This will influence our ability to provide any incentives through collective bargaining with our staff groups, and it remains to be seen how unions will react. Employee costs comprise close to 80% of the budget.
- Ensure that resources continue to be used as efficiently as possible, and stay on a planning track for restoration of a balanced operating budget in 2014/15. The outcome of bargaining with staff groups will have an impact on how we realign the budget to the new tuition reality.
- Continue to communicate widely to all stakeholders about the challenges we face, and to strive to maintain as positive environment as possible as pressures on the operating budget continue.
- The delivery of academic programs remains one of the largest cost centres in the university, and the core of its function. Over the coming year there will need to be continual dialogue with faculty about how to deliver academic programs more productively and efficiently, recognizing that there is no expectation that we will be increasing faculty numbers. The discourse about how to utilize human resources more effectively, and take advantage of on-line and other technologies, will be a dominant one at our university and at others.
- The outcomes of the dialogue “Let’s Talk About the Future” will undoubtedly point to some actions that will need to be undertaken, and it will be a priority to take measures that can help us be more efficient with flat-lined resources.
The capital renewal of the University is a priority. The capital plan that has been discussed with the Board and in the community will serve as the template for capital planning.
- Continue to provide oversight on the development of the downtown campus, welcome centre, innovation centre/parking garage, and other capital projects underway.
- Finalize development of the innovation centre into an entity that will help elevate the University’s profile in the region and beyond.
- Continue the assessment of the needs of the Faculty of Law, Athletics, and Science in relation to future capital needs in Phase II. It is hoped that by the end of the 2013/14 year the best options will have been developed.