Revenue Generation Task Force Preliminary Report
...make no mistake, radical changes in the way we do business are needed...We need to come to grips with the financial challenge as a community. Queen's needs ideas and advice from everyone in this place. I'm asking you this afternoon to become engaged in helping us get Queen's on to a sustainable financial track for its future.
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No quick answers - No one big idea will drive enough revenue to solve the University's budget challenges. Instead, there needs to be a significant shift in mindsets, and several incremental ideas will cumulatively make a significant difference to the overall financial picture.
- Incentives are critical - The right incentives, structure and support are essential for success. In particular, the rules of revenue gains must be clear and well-articulated and the unit generating the revenue must retain a significant portion of the gain.
- The culture must change - The challenge is to create an entrepreneurial culture at Queen's, to help us better manage our short-term and long-term financial challenges more proactively. Seeking revenue opportunities is not a strong part of the University's culture and this must change.
- There are a number of revenue opportunities to pursue - The task force is encouraged by the number of opportunities across campus, and highlights six in this report as being most viable to investigate further as soon as possible.
Further investigate six revenue opportunities:
1. Introduce Diplomas/Certificates
- Introduce new non-credit, diploma and/or certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level where tuition can be set at market rates.
One example of this might be pre-university courses. Explore traditional classroom delivery as well as non-traditional (i.e. online)
2. Open "The Queen's Store"
- Queen's should consider opening "The Queen's Store," modeled after The University of Oxford Shop. This would represent an important revenue opportunity for the University to sell a mix of desirable Queen's merchandise at the main store and on the web, easily accessible by students, alumni, faculty and staff.
3. Raise non-regulated tuition and fees:
- Increase revenue from international enrolment;
- Ensure that International student tuition covers at minimum the full cost of education;
- Budget incentives need to be changed to inspire growth in international student enrolment;
- Re-think parking fees; introduce a staff/faculty membership fee for athletics;
- Investigate new or increased administration fees.
4. Increase food service revenue
- There are opportunities for more food service outlets on campus and for offering more variety in existing units. Designing and promoting new food plans to faculty, staff and non-residence students could capture more food dollars on campus.
5. Raise residence fees
- While Queen's residence fees may be at the high end of those of our peer Ontario universities, there may be opportunities for further services (i.e. summer) and meal plans during the year.
6. Grow sponsorship/partnership revenues
- Maximize revenue generating sponsorships/partnerships for all University activities (designate a Manager of Community Partnerships)
To establish appropriate conditions for generating more revenue at Queen's, the following actions should occur:
A. Create an Entrepreneurial Culture at Queen's
- Establish objectives around innovation;
- Establish a rewards/recognition program;
- Provide disciplined processes for identifying and evaluating new ideas;
- Provide enabling resources to the selected ideas;
- Create senior oversight/cheerleading group to keep the profile high of new ideas and projects;
- Stimulate thinking;
- Then go beyond thinking, to planning and doing.
B. Change mindsets
- Generating revenue is good - Generating revenue - while growing margins by controlling costs - to fund the academic mission of the university is the mindset that needs to be encouraged.
- Create a sense of community - It is important to create a sense of community around generating revenue, and a critical enabler will be to get the incentives between units and centre in proper alignment. The sharing formula should be clear and known in advance.
- Benchmark against the competition - Queen's needs to systematically observe and benchmark revenues, fees, and expenses with both Ontario and NSSE comparable universities.
- Reflect the strength of the Queen's brand in how we market and price services - It is the committee's opinion that Queen's should be charging a premium price for delivering a premium education within the limits of provincial regulations and with the caveat that we have an appropriate amount of student assistance to ensure accessibility.
- Shift the prevalent "can't-do" mindset - The mindset needs to be "We/I can make a difference". Establishing benchmarks within the University and communicating success stories around Queen's will be vital.
- Fundraising is an integral part of the university - Queen's needs to become more aggressive in its approaches to fundraising (e.g., pursuing naming opportunities, the way fundraising is supported, seeking sponsorship for major events, exploring partnership contracts, etc).
C. Change how we budget
- Build budget increases based on inflation- plus - We need to start setting annual budgets that build in inflation as a minimum and add anticipated costs and enhancements above that.
- Recoup the indirect cost of research - With more research dollars being generated, there is greater cost to provide space and support.
- Maximize the use of Queen's-own services (i.e. Queen's Event Services, Queen's Printing, Queen's Graphic Design, PPS, Donald Gordon Centre) - The university should work to retain money that it spends within Queen's, with services competitively priced with the local market.
- Maximize Queen's buying power - Where possible, Queen's should look to consolidating procurement across campus units and negotiate not only volume discounts, but also rebate programs that generate a revenue stream for the University.
- Optimize units to increase flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness - Some units are too small to achieve economies of scale, while others appear to be so large that they are difficult to manage entrepreneurially.
Release final draft report to the Principal, Vice-Principals and Deans and the broader Queen's community in order to gather input.