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President Loreman’s report to GFC, November 8, 2019

Posted on: Nov 8, 2019

Fallout from a 0% budget cut:

The retroactive 2019-20 Alberta budget did not provide us with an increase, but neither did it provide us with a cut as was the case for many institutions across Alberta. The Minister justified this decision with the accurate observation that Independent Academic Institutions already receive 35% less funding than our public counterparts, and we could not withstand the cut. I would add that under the NDP government we fell 5.1% further behind our public counterparts when we were not provided with tuition backfill despite having frozen our tuition. Unfortunately, misleading reports in the mainstream media, including the CBC, combined with negative and erroneous comments on social media to make more of this issue than was necessary, requiring the Minister to defend the decision in the public sphere.

On November 1 Board Chair Russ Morrow and I attended a budget meeting in Calgary involving Premier Kenney, Minister Nicolaides, and all Alberta post-secondary Presidents and Board Chairs. This meeting provided us with an opportunity for clarification and feedback regarding the budget. Significant budget cuts to post-secondary education are planned over the next 4 years.

It is impossible to predict what our budget for 2020-2021 will look like. However, as we move into our planning cycle, I can say that it will reflect austerity and an attempt to reduce our costs without impacting front-line services to students or unduly increasing tuition.

Provincial government Lobby Days:

Between November 6-8 Concordia’s senior administration, along with some Board members, engaged in lobbying the Government of Alberta at the Legislature. The focus of our lobbying efforts revolved around two requests. The first was to help us to educate the public on the important role we play in the AB post-secondary system, and the value we provide the taxpayer. The second was to help us to provide the facilities our growing student population require. I met individually with Deputy Minister of Treasury Board and Finance, Athana Mentzelopoulos and Chief of Staff to Minister of Advanced Education, Jesse Robertson. Most significantly, yesterday we hosted a ‘Lunch and Learn’ for the UCP Caucus at the Royal Glenora Club where I had the opportunity to present on CUE and how the government can help us. This afternoon I meet with MLA for Edmonton Calder and Opposition Critic for Advanced Education, David Eggen, and MLA for Highlands and Norwood, Janis Irwin. In addition, I will meet with Associate Minister for Red Tape Reduction, Grant Hunter, on November 20, and Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jason Luan, on a date to be determined. A meeting with Deputy Minister of Advanced Education, Rod Skura, is being scheduled.

October meetings in Ottawa:

At the end of October I attended the annual Universities Canada meeting in Ottawa. In and around this 3-day event I scheduled a number of additional meetings. I met with Karin McCrimmon (Liberal MP for Kanata-Carleton), Cam McNeil (CUE Alum), and Bill Eggerston (Canadian Association for Renewable Energies) to discuss their idea of the establishment of a Centre for Renewable Energy at CUE, an idea that we are currently still considering. I attended a one-on-one meeting with Phillip Landon from Universities Canada regarding the national internationalization diversification strategy.  Facilitated by CUE’s Alison Yacyshyn, I met with Mike Racicot, Manager of Numismatic Sales, and Jarrod Roy, Director of Sales, at the Royal Canadian Mint to discuss the potential of having a CUE coin struck for our 100th anniversary. Finally, I hosted a dinner with a number of alumni, continuing to enhance our alumni engagement across Canada and the world.

CUE Leadership Course commences:

            In 2018 the Board raised questions about succession planning with respect to leadership at CUE. In response, a succession policy has been developed and Concordia’s senior administrators developed and a leadership program, open to all employees. I presented the first module in October, and our VPs along with our Dean of Education will deliver modules throughout the year. I will deliver the final module in April or May of 2020. The program involves classroom work, readings, online support, and regular focused discussions about case studies in small groups throughout the year. A total of 34 employees are taking the CUE Leadership Program.

CUE hosts CCAA Women’s National Soccer Championships:

            Following the success of our hosting of the CCAA Badminton National Championships last year we were awarded the opportunity to host the CCAA Women’s National Soccer Championships this year, which are currently taking place. This event provides us with a stronger national profile in athletics. Thank you to all members of our Athletics Department and everyone else who worked hard to make the evening a success.

International update:

Our International Office visited high schools in Spruce Grove twice to promote our UBS Dual Degrees (French) program. It also attended the OWL meeting (a German university partner consortium with 4 PSIs in AB) to discuss how to further cooperation and increase uptake in internship placements.

There are several open Erasmus+ calls. See Amanda Thorson, Manager, International Relations, if you are interested or have questions. We have also been approached by a staff member from UPORTO who is interested in visiting us through Erasmus+.