President Loreman’s report to GFC, March 9, 2018.Posted on: Mar 9, 2018
At last week’s meeting the Board approved our 2018-19 budget. This has been a challenging year, but the budget is balanced and has been developed predicated on the following main assumptions: A 2% cut to our Government of Alberta capital grant, a 2% tuition increase for local students, a 5% tuition increase for new international students (with a grandfathering tuition-freeze commitment for existing students), a freeze on mandatory student fees, allowances for select required capital costs, a 1% COLA increase for staff, and an adjustment to the practice of not charging students for courses above 5 in one semester or into the spring and summer terms. We have also made allowances for the hiring of 7 new faculty members across the institution that will account for retirements, meeting CAQC program requirements, a new Dean of Management, and replacement for a resignation. We have also approved the hiring of a small number of necessary support staff in various areas of the institution. Our approach to hiring has been very careful, with an eye to long-term sustainability. All hires are now being approved through the President’s Executive Council. Should revenues in Budget 2018-19 be better than expected additional monies will be placed into a contingency fund. In 2018-19 we can expect increased focus on the financial health of our institution, and the introduction of new financial business practices.
In mid-February I had a discussion with Assistant Deputy Minister Peter LeClair regarding our status with respect to remaining an independent institution or becoming a public one. We agreed that both Concordia and the Government of Alberta needed to better understand the implications of such a move. We will, therefore, be scheduling a number of meetings over the next 6 months or so between the Government of Alberta and Concordia’s Board of Governors to resolve this issue and assist us to come to a mutually agreeable solution.
Vice-President Finance and Operations succession process
Our VP Finance and Operations, Mr. Richard Currie, has tendered a flexible retirement date of May 31. He has provided CUE with exceptional leadership for many years, and is a much valued and hard working member of our community. However sad the task might be, we have commenced the search for his successor. A search committee is being developed, and we have a number of outstanding applications for the post from across the country. We hope to have the role filled by the end of April to allow for an adequate transition period.
A delegation from the Avans University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands, is visiting CUE on March 20. They are impressed with CUE’s growing reputation and will extend their trip to Victoria to now include Edmonton to discuss potential partnerships in Business.
Three partner universities in south Brazil (Unilasalle, Univates, Unisc) have prepared a 3-week program for CUE students, 1 week at each place, in May 2018. The program, not for credit, is a mix of classes, field trips, social and cultural activities, and is completely tuition free. We offer 10 places. 11 have already applied.
CUE is ready to sign an MOU, together with the UofA, MacEwan and NAIT, with four universities of the Ostwestfalen Lippe (OWL) region in Germany, which includes the large Universities of Bielefeld and Paderborn. It is an Edmonton-wide cooperation for exchange and internships. This will strengthen our connection to one of our priority regions, West Europe, and will increase the number of our partners in Germany from 3 to 7.
Policy Working Committee
Policy at CUE has reached a tipping point. Our policy as reflected in the Academic Calendar currently meets our needs, but in all other areas our policy requires urgent scrutiny and updating. I have therefore established a Policy Working Committee (PWC) comprised of representatives enlisted from across the institution, including one from the Board where Board levels policies are involved, that I am chairing. This committee will review and draft policy for the entire institution. It is a ‘working’ committee in a very real sense. We are currently reviewing our Faculty Handbook with a view to refreshing all relevant policy it contains. This is a huge undertaking. Currently each member of the PWC has been assigned a section of the Faculty Handbook and a deadline for review. Of course, policy will still be debated and ultimately approved by the appropriate bodies.