Budget 2015-16 update: Engagement with University community ongoing
University of Manitoba faculty, staff and students continue to take part in important discussions focused on the university’s current budget challenges and plans for ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the institution into the future.
Two meetings were held on Feb. 26 as part of an ongoing commitment to openness and transparency around the university’s financial situation. At both, senior university administrators presented detailed information around the budget and outlined plans for addressing the challenges going forward. Attendees were encouraged to ask questions, provide feedback and share ideas.
“The hard work of preparing a budget for the University of Manitoba to take forward to the Board of Governors continues at a number of different levels,’’ said Paul Kochan, Vice-President (Administration). “We have been holding budget information and feedback sessions with numerous groups and on both campuses in the ongoing effort to be as open, responsive and transparent as possible.”
President’s Presentation to University Leaders
On Feb. 26, President David Barnard, along with Joanne Keselman, Vice-President (Academic) and Provost; and Paul Kochan, Vice-President (Administration) hosted an information session for Deans and Directors, Associate Deans, Department Heads and senior administrative leaders. The meeting included a detailed presentation on the university’s financial situation and included a question and answer session. About 80 people attended the session. A second session is planned for March 4 at 9:30 a.m. The meeting will be held in Theatre B in the Basic Medical Sciences Building on the Bannatyne Campus.
Budget Advisory Committee
Later in the day, the first meeting of the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) was held which included a comprehensive presentation outlining details of the financial realities at the University of Manitoba. The BAC acts as an advisory group to the President. Members advise on how best to allocate funds in order to meet the University’s strategic objectives and review the draft budget and financial plans. This group is scheduled to meet two more times in April. Membership includes senior administrators, faculty members, Board of Governors representatives, support staff, University of Manitoba Students’ Union representatives, a University of Manitoba Faculty Association assessor and other resource supports. The question period after the presentation provided an opportunity for all committee members to ask questions and obtain clarification around the budget process, proposed plans and next steps.
These meetings follow similar presentations made by the President and senior administrators at Senate and at a recent President’s Town Hall. Four brown bag info sessions have also been conducted for staff at both the Fort Garry and Bannatyne Campuses.
Throughout the budget process, University of Manitoba staff and students have been asked to provide their input and recommendations on how the institution should address the budgetary challenges. Some of the recommendations received include:
- Ensure comprehensive and proactive communications on all budget decisions;
- Develop a comprehensive strategy for working with the government to increase provincial support;
- Provide units with potential to grow their own revenue;
- Continue to enhance donor relations and philanthropic efforts;
- Identify new revenue streams;
- Rationalize and streamline suite of academic programs;
- Review international and program fees;
- Recognize unit expertise and discourage duplication of functions.
- Improve the Budget/Resource allocation process;
- In parallel with reduction in number of faculties, enlarge/consolidate departments to house several programs;
- Create administrative hubs/share administrative support between faculties/departments;
“The University community has advanced ideas and suggestions that will help inform decisions,’’ said Mr. Kochan. “We are committed to engaging the entire university community in this important conversation as we take the steps necessary to build a sustainable financial future for the University of Manitoba.”