Data published by the Council of Financial Officers-Universities of Ontario (COFO-UO) defines the category of expenditures on "all support areas" as those which exclude expenditures on instruction and research and expenditures on "administration" as a subset of expenditures on "support areas," which include areas such as Office of the President and Vice-Presidents, Finance, Personnel, and Board and Senate Secretariat. Of the 21 Ontario institutions, Western is the third lowest in terms of the proportion of expenditures on support areas, and the fourth lowest in terms of the proportion of expenditures on administration.
Regular reviews of performance and the exploration of alternative service delivery modes are essential for our support units to remain efficient and supportive of the University's Mission and Vision. Individual performance reviews should be rigorous, and the largest portion of annual salary increments should be differential and based on performance.
Improved communication is important to efficiency and morale in the support areas. Greater use should be made of Western News, as opposed to separate newsletters or bulletins, to convey information which is of importance to the entire University community. Electronic communication among faculty and staff should be encouraged. The University should also consider the use of Administrative Officers (or equivalents) to communicate important changes in policies and procedures to faculty and staff members.
The Task Force supports the affirmation, articulated in Western's personnel policies, that every individual has the right to be treated with respect. These policies should be made more widely known. The Western Business School and Department of Geography, for example, have implemented standards of behaviour within their academic and administrative areas. Other units on campus may wish to consider whether or not specific codes of conduct are appropriate to their circumstances.
6.2 Staff salary structures should recognize individual performance in relation to the unit's and the University's mission. An ideal salary structure would address a number of vital goals in the area of staff development: the largest portion of annual salary increments would be selective and based on performance. Merit-based salary increases would be assigned according to a distribution that results in meaningful distinctions between members of staff. The current emphasis on "across-the-board" salary increases would be eliminated.
6.3 The Vice-President (Administration) should continue to seek improvements and explore alternative service delivery modes for all support operations to ensure that the University can continue to allocate maximum resources to its primary mission of teaching and research. An objective should be to streamline and economize administrative processes, relying in large part on the suggestions of staff whose perspectives of those processes is based on direct experience.
6.4 Given the significant role of part-time staff at Western, the Vice-President (Administration) should review the University's part-time employment policies and practices with regard to staff members.
6.5 A communication strategy should be developed by the Vice-President (External) to ensure that individuals within the Western community are aware of the academic successes of our faculty and staff and major issues facing the University. All major administrative documents and policies should be readily available electronically.