The preliminary 2017-18 operating budget includes increased spending in several priority areas, while maintaining the university’s commitment to prudent fiscal management.
“Over the past several years, financial challenges have forced faculties and shared services to make tough decisions,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “We are now in a position to make reinvestments that will enhance our student learning environment and bolster our research activities. The budget will support faculty renewal, which is a high priority for the university.”
Queen’s plans to hire 41 tenured stream positions in 2017-18, as a first step towards a five-year plan that could see 200 new hires over that period, including up to 20 Queen’s National Scholars positions. This is almost double the hiring pace of the past six years.
“The preliminary 2017-18 operating budget consolidates our financial sustainability and allows for critical reinvestments in our academic mission,” says Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, who provided Senate with an overview of the preliminary budget at its meeting on March 20. He will present the budget for approval at the May 12 meeting of the Board of Trustees.
We are now in a position to make reinvestments that will enhance our student learning environment and bolster our research activities. The budget will support faculty renewal, which is a high priority for the university.
— Principal Daniel Woolf
The university is in a position to reinvest in shared services. The preliminary operating budget includes strategic allocations for the hiring of faculty-based research facilitators, the staffing of the sexual violence prevention and student conduct office, and bolstering the international initiatives to support international enrolment growth and encourage greater student mobility.
New allocations are also being made to support technology transfers and industry partnerships, IT upgrades, classroom renewal, as well as diversity and equity initiatives.
“Our work around racism, diversity, and inclusion – as well as our response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – will result in lasting change on our campus,” Principal Woolf says. “The preliminary budget sets aside funds for recommendations that may require immediate investments.”
Despite the positive outlook of the preliminary budget, Queen’s continues to face risks to its financial sustainability, most notably deferred maintenance and the pension deficit.
A recent audit showed the university faces $268 million in total deferred maintenance, roughly a 6 per cent increase compared to the $253 million reported in 2015-16. The university is increasing investments to address this issue.
Work continues on a multi-employer Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan for Ontario universities. The outcome of that process will impact the payments Queen’s has to make toward its pension solvency deficit.
“The preliminary 2017-18 budget sets Queen’s on a path to be a leading university over the long term. These important reinvestments will ensure we can continue to attract the best and brightest students and faculty members who will tackle global social problems and advance knowledge in emerging fields of research,” says Principal Woolf.