The success of the university will depend upon our ability to reliably plan for future and for reaching our goals. As a university, enrolment is the primary driver for the operating budget, and the health of the operating budget influences so many of the things that can affect quality and reputation. Strong enrolment at the undergraduate and graduate level, both of domestic and international students, will be central to continue to enhance the reputation of the University of Windsor. At the same time, our reputation is strongly influenced by the research and scholarly accomplishments of our faculty, and planning for the future must continue to encourage such accomplishments.
Strong enrolment and productive faculty and staff will also be made much more achievable through an on-going process to modernize those areas of the campus that most need it. A capital plan is an essential part of ensuring long term continuing growth and success.
Although there are significant uncertainties in planning assumptions, particularly in relation to government funding (which we assume at best will be flat for the foreseeable future) and tuition (a new long term framework is yet to be released by the province), the fact is, and will remain so, that more than ninety-five percent of our operating budget is derived from government and tuition sources. The trends of recent years point to one conclusion. We must reduce the rate of increase in overall expenditures per student from 4-5% annually per student to 2-3% annually, and increase the revenue base to a level which generates annual increments that can offset those costs. It will have to be through a combination of lowering cost escalation, greater enrolment management, and ever more efficient use of resources that we can best position the University of Windsor for the future. Without stability in the budget, it will be difficult to maintain our university’s commitment to protecting a truly student-centred experience.
There has been a strong repositioning of the student recruitment efforts of the university, and recruitment and marketing of programs will continue to be a top priority. The province is projecting that there will be sixty thousand more spaces in the postsecondary sector over the next five years, and it is critical that the University of Windsor be a participant in that growth.
1. Increase the number of students who see the University of Windsor as a preferred destination place:
a. Ensure that there is strong recruitment and marketing plan that reaches to key market segments across southwestern Ontario and the GTA
b. Conduct a review of all scholarship offerings at the University and develop a plan that articulates how these resources are being best used for the purposes of recruitment and retention of students
c. Ensure that each Faculty has a strategic plan that addresses its strengths and capacity, and that can support outreach to potential undergraduate and graduate students
d. Continue to move toward a full activity-based budgeting model (ABB) and a more vigorous enrolment planning process with the provost and deans, to increase enrolment to a level that can provide a more stable financial base for the institution:
i. Grow the full time undergraduate student body to increase first year undergraduate enrolment by approximately one hundred (100) domestic students per year over each of the next three years. This would see an increase in the student body of approximately twelve hundred (1200), to just over fourteen thousand (14,000) by 2015
ii. Grow the full time graduate student body by approximately twenty-five (25) domestic students per year over each of the next three years. This would see an increase of just over two hundred (200), to approximately fifteen hundred (1,500) by 2015
iii. Cancel our decade-long exclusive international student recruitment agreement with Higher Edge, and develop and implement an international recruitment strategy based on non-exclusive arrangements with selected recruitment specialists in key market areas including India, China, Africa and the Middle East
iv. Grow the international student body (undergraduate and graduate) by approximately one hundred (100) students per year over each of the next three years, bringing it to two thousand (2,000) by 2015
2. Continue to place an emphasis on Strategic Priority Fund investments that support our actions and commitment to the best undergraduate experience and to growing graduate education and research in areas where we have strengths.
3. Strive to achieve retention rates that are at least as good as the provincial average.
Employee costs comprise close to 80% of the budget. Since there are no collective bargaining agreements under negotiation in 2012/13, compensation increases for all unionized employees are known, and compensation increases for non-unionized employees are directed as per legislation in the provincial budget of March 27, 2012. Thus there are limited options for passive expenditure reduction, but much of what occurs in 2012/13 will set the stage for resumption of bargaining in 2013/14. Those rounds of bargaining will have a long term impact on our cost trajectory and will be critical if we are to achieve cost escalation in the range of 2-3% annually.
1. Ensure that resources continue to be used as efficiently as possible, and stay on a planning track for continuation of a balanced operating budget in 2013/14
2. Continue to plan for and communicate budget adjustments that reflect enrolment, special payments to pension plans, and activity based budgeting. The 2012/13 realignment plan was communicated as follows, and will be the plan that will be followed
Research and scholarly activities are playing a vital role in the ability of the University of Windsor to achieve the greater good for society. Research attracts and supports many graduate students. It is through research and scholarly work that the university forges partnerships with community organizations, industry, and government organizations. Particularly with the CEI opening and the Innovation Centre being developed, there is an opportunity to build on our strengths in engineering and business. Both provincially and federally, universities are being encouraged to a greater and greater extent to align with strategic partners to help drive innovation and promote wealth creation and economic diversification.
1. Complete the search for a new Vice-President, Research, to continue to enhance the ability of the University of Windsor to be nationally competitive for research funds and to work effectively with industry and external partners
2. Refocus resources currently going in support of research into areas that support the strategic research plan
3. Build a stronger presence on research and alliances related to areas of recognized strength. Included in these are attracting companies to the industrial courtyard in CEI, and pursuing opportunities to build on our strategic location to address issues of border logistics and security, something that is a national priority
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.
1. Commence construction of the downtown campus for music, visual arts, film production, social work, and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education
2. Finalize plans and commence renovations of the Odette School of Business
3. Complete plans for, and commence construction of, a welcome centre for the university
4. Develop a plan for the eventual use of Essex Hall
5. Determine the remaining priority capital needs for the campus
6. Complete a campus master plan that incorporates the capital plan, city plans for campus roads, and the demolition of many old and non-serviceable buildings