What’s being done with expected funding from the Province?
On June 24, I reported to Senate on what the increased funding announced in the May Provincial Budget will mean for Western in the coming academic year, and I would like to share those details here.
In April, our Board of Governors had approved 2005-06 operating revenues at $435.9 million, which anticipated the inclusion of $4 million in “new” government funding in support of graduate enrolment expansion. That changed substantially for the better in May, however, with the release of the Provincial Budget. Responding positively to the recommendations outlined in Bob Rae’s review of post-secondary education, the McGuinty government announced a total of $160 million in “incremental” operating funds for all Ontario universities.
While this new money has not yet arrived, Western’s share of this increase is anticipated to be $14 million. That figure includes the $4 million previously anticipated, plus an additional $2 million for medical and clinical programs, and $8 million for discretionary allocation.
With $8 million in new discretionary funds, our Board has authorized $1 million to hire 60 new faculty members for 2005-2007. Deans and Chairs responded quickly to a call in July for new faculty proposals and we were pleased to approve about a dozen new positions in August. While only 10 of these new positions are expected to be filled in the current academic year, planning is well underway on how to fill the remaining 50 positions in 2006-07. Additionally, the Board approved $1.5 million to hire 25 new staff positions during 2005-06.
With the remainder of the expected funding, we are focusing on investments that enhance the quality of the student experience at Western. The approved expenditures for 2005-06 include:
- $1.15 million for graduate enrolment expansion (space and recruitment initiatives)
- $1 million for lab equipment upgrades
- $1 million for library enhancements
- $250,000 for research support (upgrades to IT infrastructure)
- $200,000 for improved custodial services
Proposals for the remaining $1.9 million balance of these new funds will be brought forward for Board consideration this fall.