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Queen's University

September 2011 Video Transcript

The video currently found in the presentation section of this site, as well as on Queen's You Tube channel is captioned. Please also find a transcript of the video below.

If you have any questions or concerns about the video and/or our captioning process, please contact the Office of the Provost.


My name is Alan Harrison. I've been at Queen's for about seven weeks and I have a long career in post-secondary education that stretches back 35 years in Canada.

I am a professor in the Economics Department at Queen's University which is of course the department where I worked when I first came to Canada 35 years ago. The University was always a point of comparison for everywhere that I went subsequently because of all the good things about the University.

My role is to support the Principal in what he has to do. It's really two jobs and in fact in some larger universities it would be separated to two different people. One would be the Vice Principal (Academic) or more commonly the Vice President (Academic) and that person's role is to be the chief academic officer which means essentially taking responsibility for everything that touches students' lives whilst they're at the university, whether that's in the classroom or whether that's co-curricular or extra-curricular.

So that's the Vice-Principal (Academic) position, and then overlaid on that is the Provost position which is ultimate responsibility for all operational decisions within the University and for the University's budget. The distinction I make is between this year's money and next year's money. This year's money is finance, next year's money is budget, because budget is about allocation, finance is about spending. So the job of the finance is to ensure that we spend the way we said we would, and budget is to determine for next year and subsequent years how those resources will be spent.

The things I do must support the strategic direction that is chartered for the University and it is in that role that the Provost supports the Principal. Execution is going to be key. A plan comes with lofty ideals but we have to turn that into actions that will actually achieve those ideals and I say "we" because I'm not going to do it alone. There are lots of people who work with me. The way I will try to ensure that we do execute appropriately is to work in tandem with all those people; make sure we know what it is we're trying to do, make sure that we're not distracted by things that we haven't agreed we're going to do and pull forward together.

By next year, I hope that we shall have presented the Board of Trustees Finance Committee with a balanced budget as the committee has requested. But more importantly, that that hasn't precluded us from making the first steps in the execution of the academic plan and making this a better university for all who work and study here.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000