REPORT ON MAKING CHOICES, WESTERN’S STRATEGIC
Dr. Paul Davenport
note - supplementary information for each of the
categories below is available by clicking on the
bolded headings. Much of this supplementary information
is still under development and will be posted as
recent employee communication survey, and meetings
with individuals and groups on campus before and
after the survey, indicate a desire for shorter communications
in many areas. In response to those requests, this
year’s update on the Strategic Plan will be
a summary of ten key issues taken from the priorities
of Making Choices: Recruiting and Retaining the Best
People (Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni) and
responding to several key Strategic Issues in support
of those priorities. At one of the sessions, a staff
member told me: “When
you report on the Strategic Plan, do it in two pages,
not twenty.” Here goes.
Faculty Recruitment and Retention. Recruitment
of tenured and probationary faculty continues to be strong, with 64 faculty
hired so far in 2003-04, and searches underway in over 100 additional positions.
Deans and Chairs report that the quality of new appointments is outstanding.
The policy of paying one-half the first-year salary of new women faculty
has been associated with a long desired increase in the percentage of female
appointments (50% so far in 2003-04, as compared to 30% in 2002-03). Following
Provincial cuts, tenured/probationary faculty numbers reached a low point
of 839 in 1996-97; the number is currently at 953. A survey by the Vice-Provost
(Policy, Planning, and Faculty) showed an annual rate of departure from Western
for all reasons other than retirement to be roughly 2% for the period 1999-2000
to 2002-03. Faculty listed a wide variety of reasons for departing. A follow-up
survey is planned.
Recruitment and Development. Recruitment of full-time nonacademic
staff will exceed departures this year for the sixth year in a row. Full-time
staff reached a low point of 1,761 in 1997-98 and is currently at 2,030.
During this period, staff in Faculties increased by 159, while all other
staff increased by 110. Staff development involved a wide range of initiatives,
including a very successful Staff Development Conference in February attended
by over 700 staff members. At a number of events and receptions throughout
the year we were able to acknowledge and celebrate the critical importance
of staff to the attainment of the University’s objectives.
Undergraduate Student Recruitment. Average
entering grades from Ontario high schools rose for the tenth year in a row
to 86.2 % in 2003-04. First-year full-time enrolment was a record 4,830 at
the Constituent University in 2003-04, with an additional 1,795 in the Affiliated
Colleges. The University remains committed to the targets of the Strategic
Plan which will see us reduce first-year enrolment at the Constituent University
to 4,350 in 2005-06. Total FTE Enrolment at Western including the Affiliates
was 31,985 in 2003-04, an increase of 6,844 from the level of 25,141 in 1998-99.
The New Academic Choices program will strengthen our ability to become Canada’s
premier residential university, as will the continuing leadership and volunteer
opportunities for students at Western. The diversity of the student population
has increased markedly over the last two decades.
Graduate Student Recruitment. While
the University set out ambitious targets for graduate enrolment growth in
the Strategic Plan, it has exceeded those targets during the last two years
and expects to do so in the future. Full-time graduate enrolment has increased
by 23.1% over the last five years and is expected to increase by 25.3% over
the next five. A key issue here is full operating funding for additional
graduate students, which will be a top priority for Western in our advocacy
with the Province.
Alumni and Community Relations. The
University has instituted programs to help strengthen the links between Western
and its 200,000 alumni, including those in the London area: the Backpack
2 Briefcase Program initiated in 2002 has had hundreds of student participants;
The Alumni Association and Western have launched the London Young Alumni
Careers project with federal funding; the Alumni Association is working to
establish Faculty-specific Alumni organizations; the Libraries have facilitated
access to selected electronic resources for alumni, from both on- and off-campus
locations. Western continues to work on improving the Alumni Gazette, the
Purple Flash, and the Alumni page on the Western website as means of communicating
effectively with alumni. University faculty, staff, and students continue
to play leadership roles in a wide variety of agencies in the city, working
to strengthen the town-gown connection.
Making Choices for a Research-Intensive University. In
line with the Strategic Plan, the University has sharpened its tools for
identifying academic priorities through the University-wide Strategic Research
Plan, the Academic Plans in each Faculty, and the four-year Budget plan introduced
this year, which sets out priority areas for hiring faculty members for the
next four years. The University Priorities Investment Fund draws a clear
link between priorities in Faculties and Support Units identified during
the planning process and UPIF budgetary allocations over the next four years.
Leadership and Communications Initiatives. Three years ago
the University initiated a leader development program and began regular
meetings of academic and administrative leader to discuss leadership and
performance, and how Western’s
workplace culture could better support both individual and University objectives.
survey completed by over 760 employees showed a number of areas where improvement
is required. The University is also following up on a web-based communications
survey which showed a strong desire among Western employees for improved
communications. One important result of the survey is that many Western employees
feel they know little about how the Strategic Plan affects them and applies
to their work.
Accessibility and Student Aid. The University continued
to honor the Western guarantee that no undergraduate student will be unable
to attend Western or be required to withdraw for financial reasons. At the
graduate level, the University set a minimum support package of $17,000 for
all doctoral students; the average level of support from all sources for
fundable students at the doctoral level in 2003 was $23,557. Total student
support in the central operating budget was $36.5 million, an increase of
11.9% from the previous year.
Collaboration and Technology Transfer. Western continues
to build on a strong tradition of interdisciplinary work and collaboration
with other universities. London’s outstanding success in two recent
grant competitions ($11 million from CIHR and $34 million from CFI) result
in large part from the ability of our faculty to work across disciplines
and with partners from other institutions in London, Canada, and foreign
countries. The Technology Transfer Advisory Council and the new Technology
Transfer Fund are designed to help us improve performance in this important
Campaign Western. Phase
1 of our fundraising campaign concludes on April 30, 2004, having raised
over $300 million in private support of
faculty recruitment and retention, student aid, matching grants for research,
construction and renovation of academic space, and other University priorities.
These funds have in turn helped to generate over $150 million in additional
funding for programs which support bursaries, graduate scholarships, research,
and research chairs.