Board of Trustees in brief
Notes from the October 1 meeting of the Board of Trustees.
Teaching Space Complex
The Board of Trustees approved $2.68-million for the design of a Teaching Space Complex (TSC) at the corner of Division and Union Streets. These design costs are being funded by an anonymous donor.
Moving forward with the design does not commit Queen’s to building the complex; rather, the university will be prepared to move forward with the TSC should the provincial government provide new capital funding in the future. This building was at the top of Queen’s priority list as part of a capital project submission to Queen’s Park in June. It is anticipated that up to 80 per cent of the estimated $48.5-million complex could be funded through a provincial grant with the balance coming through fundraising.
The proposed TSC would be located on the vacant land created when the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies Building was redesigned. The design process will explore the orientation of the TSC in relation to future phases of the Queen’s Centre.
Additional funding for QUASR
The Board of Trustees approved an additional $1.5-million for the replacement of the university’s core administrative systems. The $33.5-million project is being funded from the operating budget over the next 12 years, with the additional $1.5-million paid out at the end over six months.
The new online administration system replaces an aging paper-based system, and in turn simplifies processes and makes them more consistent across the university.
Finance committee chair George Anderson said the Queen’s University Administrative Systems Replacement (QUASR) team has been vigilant about keeping the project on budget, but some cost estimates have not proven accurate. Furthermore, the project’s budgeted contingency was nine per cent instead of the typical 15 per cent.
The Board of Trustees is requiring the administration to submit to the finance committee a full business case prior to spending the $800,000 for the QUASR research module.
Queen’s/KGH parking garage project approved
The Board of Trustees approved major repairs to the Queen’s/Kingston General Hospital parking garage located on Stuart Street. The $7.5-million for the project will be borrowed from the university and repayed from the parking revenues at six per cent interest over 20 years.
The work will be completed over 18-24 months starting in December 2010. It will be implemented in phases, and during each phase, approximately 160-200 of the 570 spaces will not be available. The university is planning to move the 90 permit holders to other Queen’s lots (Union Street and Queen’s Centre underground parking) during the renovation in order to minimize the impact of the public parking for KGH.
The Board also approved:
• A motion authorizing Queen’s to ask Parliament for an amendment to the university’s charter and a motion approving the reduction of the Board from 44 to 25 trustees
• The audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2010
• The revised statement of investment policies and procedure
• New tuition fees for the Bader International Study Centre and additional qualification courses in the Faculty of Education
• Lower fees for additional qualification courses in the Faculty of Education in order to remain competitive with other Ontario universities
• A motion congratulating alumnus and former law professor David Johnston on becoming Canada’s new Governor General
• In his update to the Board, Principal Daniel Woolf clarified that Queen’s did not fall off the Times Higher Education’s list of the top 200 post-secondary institutions in the world; rather, the university did not participate in the British ranking because of some concerns about the methodology and the consistency of data.
Some questions were raised about the university’s approach to rankings. Chris Conway, director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, will attend the December Board of Trustees meeting to discuss considerations around rankings and which metrics Queen’s should use to measure itself.
• Chancellor David Dodge discussed Princeton President and Queen’s alumna Shirley Tilghman’s recent visit to campus. President Tilghman gave a public lecture on the need to increase women’s participation in science and technology.
At a breakfast earlier in the day, President Tilghman shared her thoughts on the academic planning process from the perspective of a Queen’s graduate. She said Queen’s, like Princeton, has an extraordinarily distinctive character and that character should be preserved. President Tilghman said that what came out in theAcademic Writing Team’s report is that Queen’s must strive to have the power of great research with the heart and soul of a small liberal arts college.
President Tilghman also emphasized the complementary nature of research and teaching, the importance of community and Queen’s thinking of itself as an international institution. She applauded the AWT’s emphasis on metrics.