President Loreman’s report to GFC, April 13, 2018Posted on: Apr 13, 2018
As previously reported our budget for 2018-19 was predicated on a 2% cut to our Government of Alberta capital grant, amongst other things. Not only did this cut not transpire, but we have been notified that pending budget approval in the legislature we will be receiving a 2% increase. We are, however, once again not eligible for the tuition backfill that public institutions can expect. Nevertheless, this is good news. We have had preliminary discussions with students and various members of our administration with respect to how the 2% increase might be most usefully allocated if we find ourselves in a position to do so. However, before moving forward we need to review the entire budget to make sure that we have no unanticipated issues or expenses to account for.
Vice-President Finance and Operations
Richard Currie retires on May 31. As previously expressed in an email, I think very highly of Richard, a sentiment that I believe is shared by the vast majority of colleagues across the institution. He has been a solid and reliable leader in Finance and Operations through a variety of challenging times over the years, a mentor and friend to two presidents (including myself), and a gentle and thoughtful guide. Richard addressed many challenges during his time at CUE, and set us on the sustainable and financially sound course that we are now on. We are currently in the midst of a search for his successor.
We will be sending our largest cohort ever for study abroad: 8 students from all faculties will spend 3 weeks in a special program of classes, field trips, and cultural activities with 3 of our South Brazil partners in May.
We are preparing to sign an MOU and exchange agreement with the Dutch Avans University of Applied Sciences, who visited us in March. There are strong cooperation areas in business, public health and industry connection. We are also preparing to sign two cooperation agreements with Brazilian universities: Federal University of the city of Rio Grande for cooperation in environmental and marine biology and Bahiana School of Medicine, Salvador, Bahia for cooperation in early childhood and psychology. These new agreements fall within two of our three strategic regions of Western Europe, Brazil, and China.
The true cost of events and programs
Some questions were raised at our last GFC meeting about our new approach of including facilities charges when calculating the cost of various events and programs such as conferences, summer community programs, etc. Up until now we have rarely considered the indirect costs associated with our various activities, but these are substantial. When running an event or program we must consider more than the cost of staff and instructors, but also other costs such as security, cleaning, maintenance, IT, utilities, administration, lost opportunity costs, etc. If we know the full scope of these costs CUE is then in a better position to decide whether or not we want to subsidize an event or program by donating our facilities and services in-kind. Our Plant Operations department, working with Finance and Operations, is currently in the process of surveying other institutions, along with our actual costs, to ascertain what makes sense for us in terms of charges for facilities and services.
First Nations, Metis, and Inuit collaborations
Last week our VP Student Life and Learning, Dr. Barb van Ingen and I, met with representatives of the Metis Nation of Alberta. We discussed the signing of an MOU that would commit and assist us to further our work at Concordia with Metis students. We also discussed the possibility of an endowment to provide Scholar Awards to Metis students.
Yesterday Dr. van Ingen and I visited the Cold Lake First Nations Chief and Council in Cold Lake. This was an outreach activity to let them know that Concordia has a lot to offer Indigenous students, and that we would like to become their university of choice.
The CUE Commitment
With thanks to Sonja Schwake in Student Life and Learning for her assistance with this initiative, I am pleased to announce a new extra-curricular program for our students that we are calling ‘The CUE Commitment’. Based on a successful program at the University of Regina, the CUE Commitment Program will support students throughout their university experience and beyond, to successful employment or graduate study. The CUE Commitment program requires students to register and participate in a series of ‘value added’ features aimed at enriching their university experience while they are at CUE, and then supporting them through to successful employment or further study following graduation.
The CUE Commitment is as follows: If a student completes all elements of the CUE Commitment program, has a 2.0 GPA for the first two years of their program, and a 2.3 GPA for the final year or years of their program (depending on degree length), and does not secure career-related employment within six months of graduation, or move on to graduate studies, they will be eligible to return for another year of undergraduate classes free of charge (tuition and course fees, maximum 30 credits to be taken within a single calendar year). It is, however, highly unlikely that this will be necessary. Experience at the U of R shows that the return rate is very low because this sort of program does what it promises – sets students up for success. The program has five elements:
Each participant in the CUE Commitment program will be connected with an advisor to support them on their journey, meeting a minimum of twice per semester.
The program assists students during transition to university undergraduate studies, by participating in relevant academic workshops, and providing peer-mentor support. Students will attend a minimum of two seminars per semester in their first year.
Students will have opportunities for service and leadership experience that is both rewarding on a personal level but also builds their resume. These opportunities will occur throughout the duration of a student’s degree and will be negotiated with the student’s advisor.
All CUE Commitment students will attend the yearly CUE Commitment Lecture where speakers will address the entire cohort of participants in the program.
Students will also be invited to participate in value-added scholarly seminars and presentations that take place in addition to their degree program. Students will attend a minimum of two seminars or presentations per semester during their 2nd and 3rd years (second year only for those taking 3-year degrees).
Experiences in and assistance with resume writing, interview skills training, career counselling, attending career fairs, and participating in networking opportunities. Students will attend a minimum of two sessions per semester during their 4th year (or 3rd year for those taking 3-year degrees).
Students in all years of their degree program will be offered support and information regarding participation in work integrated learning opportunities such as cooperative work placements or internships. This is a voluntary support component of the program, not a mandatory requirement.
- 3 or 4-year degree program (Depending on degree duration).
- Attendance at all regular meetings with program advisor (minimum 2 per semester).
- Attendance at the annual CUE Commitment Lecture.
- Completion of student engagement activities (negotiated with advisor) throughout entire duration of degree program.
- Completion of scheduled development opportunities within each year of the program:
- Year 1: Transition: 2 seminars per semester.
- Years 2/3: Intellectual enrichment: 2 seminars/presentations per semester.
- Year 3 or 4: Career development: 2 seminars per semester.
Students are eligible to return to CUE for one undergraduate year for free (30 credits maximum to be taken within a single calendar year) if they:
- Complete all 3 or 4 years of the CUE Commitment program (depending on degree duration).
- Graduate with 2.3 GPA or above.
- Illustrate active pursuit of employment with a monthly log of activities, and document attempts at obtaining employment.
- Check in monthly after graduation to discuss steps taken to obtain employment.
- Are unable to find secure career-related employment or a suitable graduate program within 6 months of graduation.
- Are no more than 1 calendar year out from graduation.
Program schedule: Begins Fall 2018 for students starting Year One of their degree.