TO: Senate, Board of Governors

FROM: Greg Moran, Provost and Acting President

DATE: May 1999


Leadership in Learning: Strategic Plan Update, May 1999

Leadership in Learning: Western's Strategic Plan, approved in the fall of 1995 by Senate and the Board of Governors, required that updates outlining progress toward fulfilment of the recommendations advanced in the plan be submitted to the Senate and Board in May and November of each year. This is the eighth such report, and it will follow the abbreviated format introduced in November 1998, outlining major developments in each of the major areas addressed in Leadership in Learning.

1. Undergraduate Students and Programs

Aggressive recruitment and the perceived quality of Western's programs have increased both the numbers and the quality of applicants. Average entering grades have steadily risen, and the policy of 75% minimum entrance requirement across programs not having a significant performance component has been reaffirmed by the Subcommittee on Enrolment Planning and Policy (SUEPP).

The Ontario Government's Access to Opportunities Program (ATOP) will bring a doubling of enrolment in the software engineering area of Computer Science and in the undergraduate Electrical/Computer/Software Engineering program in Engineering Science over the course of the next four years.

Significant expansions are projected in Nursing (from 72 to 88 entering students) and in the BEd program in Education (an increase of 150 over two years); an additional section of 72 students is being created in the HBA program in the fall of 1999.

The Senate Committee on Academic Programs and Admission (SCAPA) is working to foster new four-year undergraduate programs and a number have been brought forward for Senate approval, most recently in Arts, with a broad humanities program and discipline-focussed programs in French and Philosophy. The new Aviation Management program, offered through ACS in the Faculty of Social Science, has received much public attention for its innovation.

Curriculum re-examination, particularly in first-year courses, will likely be necessitated by changes in the secondary school curriculum currently under development by the Ministry of Education and Training. Many members of Western's faculty are actively engaged in the secondary school curriculum validation project, coordinated through the Office of the Provost.

Western was visited by the Undergraduate Program Review Audit Committee, representing the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents, in May 1998. A draft report of that audit has been received by the University and will be brought forward to OCAV in the fall. It is very supportive of Western's new and evolving program review process and contains several substantial recommendations for its improvement.

Total funding for needs-based undergraduate student support, including the very successful work/study bursary program, is expected to exceed $9 million in 1999-2000. This includes funds derived from the 30% tuition set-aside and the OSOTF matching program. Special bursary programs are in place for students in high-tuition programs in Business, Medicine, and Dentistry. Western has joined other Ontario universities in a study monitoring the financial situation of students entering all programs, and a special working group is being established by the Senate Committee on University Planning (SCUP) to study enrolment and tuition fee issues.

Additional funding has been provided in the 1999-2000 University Budget to support the Scholar's Elective program in the Educational Development Office and the Effective Writing Program.

Western's newest residence facility, Elgin Hall on University Drive, is projected to be open for new students in September 1999. Guaranteed first-year residence accommodation is an important recruitment advantage for Western.

New initiatives to improve both access and delivery of academic programs are underway in the Centre for Continuing Studies and in Distance Studies, preserving Western's role in the broader community and with non-traditional learners.

Course and faculty evaluations are administered at the end of each academic year and are published and available on Western's website.

Western is a participant in indicator surveys developed by the Council of Ontario Universities and the Ministry of Education and Training which track graduation rates, student employment and financial data after graduation. This material is also posted on the University website.

2. Graduate Studies

Program developments, including the new programs in Visual Arts and Comparative Literature and conversion of the former BSc in Occupational Therapy to a Masters-level graduate program, have increased overall graduate enrolment. Two new PhD programs, one in Rehabilitation Science and one in Education, have been approved by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies and will begin admitting students in the fall 1999 term. Discussion of new Masters-level programs in the Faculties of Law and of Information and Media Studies is continuing, and a new cross-disciplinary program in Computational Sciences is under active discussion; other established graduate programs, such as those in Engineering, are anticipating significant enrolment increases.

Changing patterns of undergraduate enrolment and the development of new programs in the major teaching Faculties could bring about some realignment of Teaching Assistantships administered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

A mechanism for needs-based graduate student funding is being implemented. The policy of allocating 75% of graduate tuition revenue to student assistance has been maintained; total graduate student support currently exceeds $22 million, of which approximately half is administered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. In addition, starting in 1999, $1 million of additional funding is flowing annually to graduate students through the Ontario Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology.

Core faculty in the graduate programs are periodically reviewed by the Credentials Committee of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Graduate student recruitment is being vigorously addressed through new promotional material, financial support information package, and an updated Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

3. Research

In 1997-98 total research revenues exceeded $84.3 million, up over a million from the year before. Western is reasserting its research profile through expansion in collaborative areas and has been notably successful in national and provincial competitions for the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research & Development Challenge Fund. A team led by Dr. Fred Keenan has assembled outstanding applications in the Institutional Initiative Fund of the CFI, and many individual faculty members have been recognized through the CFI's New Opportunities grants and Ontario's Premier's Research Excellence Awards. The sum of all awards made to Western under these new programs currently exceeds $24 million.

In April, the establishment of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction was announced, involving collaboration with the Insurance Bureau of Canada and an investment of $1.2 million from the Government of Ontario's OCF. This is the latest instance of the "partnering" initiatives which Western is vigorously pursuing as part of our CFI/OCF project strategy and for applied research in all areas.

Douglas Gill has been named Western's Director of Industry Liaison, and under his leadership the Industry Liaison Office has been awarded an NSERC Intellectual Property Management grant of $521,000 over three years.

The February 1999 federal budget announced funding for the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which Western has been instrumental in promoting on the basis of active partnership among the City of London; the Chamber of Commerce; London Economic Development Corporation; Robarts, Lawson and Siebens-Drake Research Institutes; the St. Joseph's Health Centre; and the London Health Sciences Centre. Western has led a city-wide initiative directed toward the establishment of a Biotechnology Incubator facility in the University Research Park.

The Research Ethics Boards have been placed under the portfolio of the Vice-President (Research). This restructuring should expedite procedures required by the recent Tri-Council Guidelines for the Conduct of Research Involving Human Subjects and the approval processes for clinical trials.

4. Faculty Development

Negotiation is underway with the UWO Faculty Association toward the achievement of a first contract within the newly-certified environment.

New Conditions of Appointment for Physicians Appointed in Clinical Departments and Clinical Divisions of Basic Science Departments was approved by faculty in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and by the Board of Governors in March 1999.

Over 50 tenure-track appointments have been approved for the coming year. During 1998-99 Western appointed 37 new tenure-track faculty which, net of retirements, increased total faculty complement by 8 positions. In the 1998-99 University Budget, 8 new positions were authorized, focussing on areas central to Western's CFI/OCF project development; in the 1999-2000 University Budget, faculty renewal is the focus in areas of program expansion, such as Computer Science and Engineering, and in the investment strategies advanced in Business, Medicine and Dentistry.

Western continues vigorous advocacy, through the Council of Ontario Universities and independently, of reinvestment by the government in higher education, including restoration of faculty positions which have brought Ontario's student:faculty ratio to the highest in the country. Additional faculty appointments are essential to ensure the quality of education in the province and to meet the challenges of demographic and double-cohort related enrolment pressures.

5. Institutional Restructuring and Planning

The three merged Faculties of Health Sciences, Information and Media Studies, and Medicine & Dentistry continue the consolidation process. In the Faculty of Health Sciences, the BHSc is undergoing constant refinement and the PhD program has been approved by OCGS and will commence in fall 1999. The Faculty of Information and Media Studies has developed considerable student interest in the MIT program and is considering a Masters-level program to complement its professional graduate programs in Journalism and Library and Information Science. New facilities are planned for the School of Dentistry, and the reinvestment plans in Dentistry and Medicine have a significant facilities renewal component. The Medical Sciences Building renovation project is at the top of Western's list for provincial capital funding.

Success in the most recent rounds of CFI/OCF competition illustrate the value of inter-Faculty collaboration and research cooperation, most particularly in the biosciences, science and engineering. Program development initiatives in Arts have also brought discipline areas together, and the BACS program draws from departments in the Social Sciences. Cross-Faculty appointments through the Strategic Faculty Renewal Initiative have been extremely successful in promoting interdisciplinary approaches in exciting new areas and have brought faculty to the campus who might not have come to Western under a rigid departmentally-based appointment structure.

The PeopleSoft Resource Group (PSRG) has been formed, involving technical staff from ITS and from the Registrar's Office, Finance, Human Resources, Advancement Services, and Institutional Planning & Budgeting. The PSRG will be housed in the Office of Institutional Planning & Budgeting and will be led by Gerry Growden, Western's PeopleSoft project coordinator.

Classroom and equipment upgrades are ongoing in all campus instructional buildings; new classroom facilities will be available in Somerville House, Elborn College, and Talbot College for fall 1999, and a further new large-classroom facility is in the planning stage.

6. Staff and Administration

Negotiation is underway with the UWO Staff Association toward the achievement of a first contract within the newly-certified environment.

The PMA performance appraisal process instituted last year is proceeding during the current cycle, with documentation updated in response to a survey taken among both staff and supervisors. Issues surrounding job evaluation continue to be addressed, reflecting concerns which emerged during the MOAT process. Negotiations between the University and PMA are ongoing.

The 1999-2000 University Budget designates $100,000 to be used to address professional development opportunities for staff through training programs and supervisory training.

The PeopleSoft project is now focussed on development of the Student Records component, with the HR and Financial components proceeding toward equilibrium in the new systems environment. Consolidation of the PeopleSoft Resource Group through the Office of Institutional Planning and Budgeting should ultimately integrate the various components of the system across central administrative processes.

A Y2K Contingency Planning Committee has been established, chaired by Orlando Zamprogna and drawing its membership from key administrative and academic areas, to oversee Western's preparedness for eventualities occasioned by the Year 2000. The University held a Y2K Awareness Week in early May to focus attention on the potential disruptions coincident with the arrival of Year 2000 and individual/unit responsibilities for developing contingency plans.

7. Community Relations, Western's Alumni, and Private Giving

In April, the Senate and Board of Governors approved the 125th Anniversary Campaign priorities, as identified through extensive consultation with departments and Faculties. The Campaign will focus primarily on six areas: recruiting and retaining top faculty through the establishment of Chairs and Professorships; attracting and recruiting the best students through student awards, research funds, and internships; expanding our research capacity through infrastructure improvements, research fellowships and new research centres; ensuring superior academic programs through curriculum enhancement, teaching infrastructure and library upgrades; enriching the campus and community environment through outreach activities such as those centering in the McIntosh Gallery and the 2001 Canada Games stadium project; and generating unrestricted support to provide institutional flexibility in responding to new opportunities. The total Campaign target is $270 million, with $86 million raised to date.

On May 7, a ceremony was held to celebrate the renovations of The D.B. Weldon Library. This upgraded facility includes the Sun Microsystems Java Knowledge Centre (the "Sun Room"), with 250 JavaStation network computers provided by Sun Microsystems, and the new David B. Weldon Reference Hall, recognizing the lead gift from the Weldon Family. Library Campaign Chair Claude Pensa also acknowledged participation in the campaign by the Ontario government, library staff and members of the community.

Western's Annual Community Meeting, held at the London Convention Centre on March 25, brought several hundred community leaders together with representatives from Western to demonstrate the interaction between the University and the larger community. The meeting was hosted by Board of Governors Chair Bill Peel and featured presentations by President Paul Davenport and Professors Rebecca Coulter (Education), Ravi Menon (Medicine), and Bob Young (Political Science).

Western's Alumni Association is active in both Alumni and Senior Alumni areas, and Halfdan Kelly (MEd '88, MBA '98) has been elected the Association's new President, succeeding Helen MacKenzie (BA '60, MA '83). On March 26, the Bank of Montreal Alumni Western Centre was inaugurated in its facilities just north of the University gates on Richmond Street.

Western continues a process of ongoing communication with members of the community through quarterly dinner meetings with the leaders of Neighbourhood Associations surrounding the University, hosted by the Vice-President (Administration) and General Counsel, and also attended by the Senior Directors of Housing and Food Services and Physical Plant and Capital Planning.

Discussions are ongoing with regard to collaboration in academic programs with Fanshawe College and other educational institutions at the college and university level. Examples include an agreement through which graduates of the Early Childhood Education diploma program at Fanshawe receive advanced standing toward baccalaureate credit at Western, the joint 3-year BSc Physics/Diploma in Electronic Engineering Technology or Control Engineering Technology program, and four first-year Western courses offered at Fanshawe College: English 024E, Sociology 020, Philosophy 020, and Women's Studies 020.

8. Operating and Capital Budgets

On March 31, the Council of Ontario Universities released three interconnected documents under the collective title Meeting Expectations. The first component, Meeting Expectations Project, contains a survey of the Ontario public's perception of the values and need for strategic investment in university education, prepared by the Angus Reid Group. The second, Will there be room for me? prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, is a report on university capacity in meeting the challenges of student demand, the demographic bulge in the university-aged population, and the "double-cohort" resultant from changes in the Ontario secondary school curriculum. The third component, Ontario's Students, Ontario's Future, outlines the investment in higher education which will be imperative if Ontario is to be a leader in the knowledge-based economy of the next century.

In the context of a provincial election campaign, Western is working hard to keep university issues before the political parties, the individual candidates, and the electorate.

University budgetary priorities have consistently reflected the need to maintain academic quality through investment in teaching and research. Funds have been employed as judiciously as possible to support new faculty appointments, facilities and equipment upgrades, and library and computing resources. Student assistance is a second major investment component in University budgeting, and total student aid has reached $22 million in the 1999-2000 University Budget.

Addressing Western's deferred maintenance needs remains a major component of budget planning. The mandated $750,000 annual contribution from operating funds has been maintained since the approval of Leadership in Learning in 1995, and a strong case has been made to the provincial government for special additional funding for the Medical Sciences Building renovation project.

Nearly $3.5 million has been designated in the 1999-2000 University Budget to address technology initiatives, instructional facilities, course development and other academic support activities through the Provost's Academic Support Fund.

The 1999-2000 University Budgets integrates the Operating Budget and Capital Budget, as recommended in Leadership in Learning, and also contains the University's "Quality Improvement Plan," mandated by the Ministry of Education and Training, which identifies specific areas of reinvestment of tuition revenues derived from "deregulated" fees. The QIP for 1998-99 details expenditures of funds during the current academic year, and the Plan for 1999-2000 outlines commitments for institutional expenditure of revenues for the coming year.