Senate Agenda - Report of the President - October 19, 2001

The President's Priorities for 2001-02, detailed below, were approved by the Board of Governors on June 28, 2001.


To: Senior Operations Committee

From: Dr. Paul Davenport

Date: June 13, 2001

Subject: President's Priorities for 2001-2002

Each year in year in the spring I submit for approval to the Board my priorities for the coming year, which are considered by the Board in June and then discussed with Senate in the fall. My overall priorities for the coming year will be set by Western's 1995 Strategic Plan, Leadership in Learning, which was approved by the Senate and Board in the fall of 1995, as well as by Senate and Board resolutions which have been approved in the subsequent four years. In late June we will distribute the draft report of the 2001 Strategic Planning Task Force for consideration by Western's community. My priorities will be respond to those initiatives endorsed by the Senate and Board when the Task Force Report receives formal consideration in the fall of 2001.

In setting out priorities for 2001-02, I use the same broad categories as in previous years: Setting Directions; Keeping Academic Priorities First; Ensuring Open Administration and Effective Communication; and Strengthening Ties with the External Community. Most of the specific priorities were also contained in last year's report: for example, faculty, staff, and student recruitment will undoubtedly be priorities throughout my term as President, although the specific actions taken in support of those priorities will vary from year to year. While I present these as presidential priorities, accomplishing them will require effort by all in our campus community, as well as determined leadership by Vice-Presidents, Deans, Chairs, and Directors.

Once again this year, I wish to preface my priorities with a reference to the constraints which arise from a shortage of operating funds. In recent years our Province and the federal government have provided significant increases in research and capital funding, for which the University is grateful. Nonetheless, the chronic public underfunding of operating funds has been the greatest barrier to realizing our objectives as a leading university. While some progress was made in the May 9, 2001, Provincial Budget, which provided funding for future enrolment increases, even with that announcement we remain significantly below other Canadian Provinces in public funding per student and above the other Provinces in our student-faculty ratio. The gaps in this regard between Ontario and the average of US public universities is even greater.

As in years past, my foremost hope for Western is that we can maintain the sense of common purpose and the commitment to excellence so evident in our successful student and faculty recruitment efforts of recent years. A broadly held spirit of cooperation among our faculty, staff, and students has kept our academic community whole and healthy despite the onerous external budget cuts we have experienced. Our top priority must be to work together in solidarity to preserve and enhance the achievements and values that define Western.

1. Setting Directions: Leadership in Learning

completing the review of our strategic directions begun last November, with a draft Report of the Task Force in June 2001, and formal consideration of the Report by Senate and Board in the fall of 2001.

developing unit-level Academic Plans and Support Unit Plans through consultation in the Faculties, Departments, and Support Units, and using those Plans to identify areas of strength and priority

recruiting a new Vice-President (Research) who will build on the research achievements of all Faculties in recent years

maintaining flexibility in planning so the University can respond quickly to changes in the external environment and new opportunities, such as those afforded by the Canada Research Chairs, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, and the Ontario Investment Trust.

leading a cohesive, mutually supportive senior team, consisting of the President, four Vice-Presidents, and the Vice-Provost, who work together effectively to carry out the Strategic Plan and other University priorities

building a sense of common purpose in difficult times among PVP, Deans, Chairs, Associate Vice-Presidents, Directors, and faculty, staff and students

encouraging strong, effective leadership in support of the Strategic Plan and other University priorities at all levels of Western's administration

2. Putting Academic Priorities First: Supporting Excellence in Teaching and Research

strengthening our recruitment of undergraduate students and the quality of undergraduate education while continuing the upward trend in the average grades of entering students

meeting the targets for undergraduate enrolments from 2001 to 2005 approved by Board and Senate in an increasingly competitive environment

meeting the targets for graduate enrolments from 2001 to 2005 approved by Board and Senate, while seeking to ensure that full Provincial operating funding is available for these students

beginning construction on our first major SuperBuild building adjacent to Engineering Sciences and on a new residence on Western Road near Althouse College and completing those buildings by 2003

carrying out the entire SuperBuild construction program on time and on budget in a manner that best supports our academic objectives and maintains the beauty of our campus

continuing to improve the volume and delivery of student support on campus, matching the size and form of support -- bursaries, loans, and employment opportunities -- to each student's circumstances

expanding student options with regard to four-year undergraduate programs, summer courses, interdisciplinary programs, web-based courses, and collaborative programs with Fanshawe College and other institutions

maintaining a productive and mutually supportive relationship with the Affiliated Colleges

working to ensure that our Continuing Studies program at Galleria Mall is a substantial success

working with the Vice-Presidents and Deans to ensure effective responses to the opportunities afforded by the Canada Research Chairs and the growing volume of external research funding

encouraging collaborative and multi-disciplinary research and teaching among Departments and Faculties at Western, and with other institutions.

maintaining strong, collegial, and mutually supportive relations with our faculty, staff, and student associations

improving development opportunities for our staff, so they can make their full contribution to the University at a time of restructuring and changing career patterns

strengthening the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff

building our reputation in technology transfer and supporting the Research Park in its efforts to increase private sector involvement in the Park and to resolve its financial difficulties

protecting our academic future by increasing annual expenditure on deferred maintenance as set out in Leadership in Learning

3. Ensuring Open Administration and Effective Communication

continuing to visit academic and support units, and holding informal celebrations of excellence in my office, to meet our faculty and staff and to learn first hand of their aspirations

working to ensure that the University community understands that we in senior administration recognize that it is only through the efforts of individuals in the academic and support units that we can achieve our Mission of excellence.

developing performance indicators in order to discuss University progress toward specific goals with Board, Senate, and other groups

celebrating Western's achievements in teaching and research, with such programs as the Pleva Awards and the Hellmuth Prizes

meeting on regular occasions with the leadership of the faculty, staff, and student associations, to discuss strategic issues and promote mutual understanding

maintaining an open approach to the budget process and selective decision-making during a period of severe fiscal restraint

continuing to report to Senate and Board on a regular basis on the major issues facing Western

holding open meetings on campus at appropriate times to discuss key issues and options at Western

improving our communication, both internally and externally, with regard to Western's aspirations and the achievements of our faculty, staff, and students

4. Strengthening Ties with the External Community

keeping Campaign Western ahead of the Board-approved schedule which foresees $270 million in gifts and pledges by April 30, 2004: on April 30, 2001, we had a total of $192 in gifts and pledges, $37 million above the target of $155 million.

building on our relations with alumni in Canada and abroad, and helping alumni take a greater role in such activities as government relations and student recruitment

obtaining better information from alumni and the general community on their views of Western and using it to improve our academic programs and student recruitment

raising external funding for the renovation of the Medical Sciences Building

exercising leadership on the provincial and national levels with regard to such issues as the need for broadly based increases in operating funding, as President of Western, past Chair of AUCC, and past Chair of COU

working with COU, MTCU, and the Province to ensure that quality improvement--in particular, reductions in the student-faculty and student-staff ratios--plays a central role in future public funding decisions

making the case with the provincial and national governments of the importance of university teaching and research to our knowledge-based society

expanding media coverage of Western's academic excellence and community involvement while we continue to strive to be a visible part of the community of London

working with the Vice-Presidents Research and External, and the Director of Government Relations, to establish a better knowledge of Western among cabinet ministers in the provincial and federal governments

building on our strong relationships with the City of London, the London Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, the members of City Council, and the Mayor

working with faculty, staff, and students to host the best Canada Summer Games ever

increasing opportunities for the external community to take advantage of campus facilities and to participate in campus activities

maintaining Western's traditional close ties with local and regional MPs and MPPs, and involving them on a regular basis in University projects and events