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Financial Sustainability

Get in the end zone

[End Zone Vote]
The end zone design for the revitalized Richardson Stadium will be decided through an online vote.

The Queen’s community has the opportunity to have a say in how a piece of the revitalized Richardson Stadium will look.

Athletics and Recreation at Queen’s is currently hosting the End Zone Design Contest, where people are invited to cast their vote online for one of three designs for the end zones of the football field.

Votes can be cast at gogaelsgo.com/endzonevote until Nov. 15. The design with the most votes will be selected as the design featured at the stadium when it opens in fall 2016.

The revitalization of Richardson Stadium is a priority within Queen’s University's $500-million Initiative Campaign.

The project is viewed as not just the construction of a new stadium but a key element to the building of a strong varsity sports program for Queen’s, and of a strong university overall.

Plans for the revitalization were kicked off in March 2014 with the announcement of a $10 million pledge to the stadium project from Queen’s alumnus and former Gael Stu Lang and his wife Kim. That announcement was followed by news of a $5 million contribution from the Richardson Foundation. Other donors have also come forward to contribute to the project, bringing the total amount raised to more than $17 million. 

The university will contribute an additional $3 million for infrastructure support of the stadium, bringing the total funding to $20.27 million.

Richardson Stadium has been a fixture at Queen’s for nearly 100 years. The original Richardson Stadium was built in 1921 and located on what is now Tindall Field as a gift of James Armstrong Richardson, Queen’s Chancellor from 1929 to 1939. In 1971 the stadium was rebuilt on its current site at West Campus. 

Investment Committee makes decision on divestment

The Investment Committee of the Queen’s Board of Trustees has decided not to divest the university’s pooled endowment and investment funds from fossil fuels.

The committee made the decision after reviewing and adopting the report of the Principal’s Advisory Committee on Divestment: Fossil Fuels, which undertook an extensive consultation period with the Queen’s community.

“Queen’s is an academic institution whose core activities are teaching and research. The university’s endowment funds exist solely to further these activities and the university has an obligation to seek the best possible return on these investments in order to advance its academic mission,” says Don Raymond, Chair of the Investment Committee. “The Investment Committee agreed that divestment is an ineffective tool to mitigate the risks of climate change and would result in Queen’s losing any moral suasion it has with companies in this sector.”

While the advisory committee’s report did not dispute that climate change is a critical issue, it found that the case for divestment on the basis of ‘social injury,’ as defined in Queen’s Statement on Responsible Investing (SRI), had not been made. The advisory committee also concluded that aside from the question of social injury, divestment is not an effective tool in mitigating the risks of climate change.

“The SRI provides a definition of social injury that entails activities that violate or frustrate the enforcement of rules or laws. While specific instances of illegal activity may occur, the committee recognized that fossil fuel industries are lawful, highly regulated and carry social and economic benefits,” says David Allgood, who chaired the principal’s advisory committee. “Given Queen’s position as a relatively small investor, divestment would be largely a symbolic gesture. There are more effective contributions that Queen’s can make to help address climate change through education, research and innovation, and in its operations.”

The Advisory Committee on Divestment: Fossil Fuels was struck by Principal Daniel Woolf, as required by the SRI, after a divestment request was received from the student group Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change. The advisory committee engaged in extensive consultation before delivering its report.

“When I struck the committee I wanted to ensure that everyone who might wish to have their views heard on this matter would have that opportunity,” says Principal Woolf. “After a six-month consultation period, more than 220 submissions and presentations were received from alumni, students, staff, faculty and others. I would like to thank everyone who participated in this process.”

In accordance with the advisory committee’s recommendations, the Investment Committee will review the applicability of the definition of social injury to sector-wide phenomena, and will consider possible shareholder engagement activities, given the resources available, around mitigating impacts associated with fossil fuel extraction and distribution.

The full report of the Principal’s Advisory Committee on Divestment: Fossil Fuels is available online, and more information about the advisory committee is available on its webpage. Details about Queen’s process for considering divestment requests can be found in the university’s Statement on Responsible Investing.

Scholarships foster leadership in STEM fields

Queen’s University is proud to count four recipients of the 2015 Schulich Leader Scholarships among the members of its first-year undergraduate class. The national scholarship program recognizes deserving students across Canada and helps to build leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Queen's 2015 Schulich Leader Scholars are (clockwise from top left): Sandra Chan from Calgary AB, who is studying in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; Mary Kathleen Hickox from Stratford PEI, who is in her first year of a Bachelor of Science (Honours) program; Lin Wei Tung of Chilliwack BC, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in the Faculty of Arts and Science; and Sandra Smeltzer of Harrow ON, who is enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. 

“The Schulich Leader Scholarship program is highly competitive and Queen’s is proud to have these four outstanding students in the first-year class this fall,” says Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs. “They are among the 50 recipients across Canada who were selected from more than 1,250 nominees. On behalf of the university, I would like to congratulate them on their hard work and remarkable achievements.”

The Queen’s recipients of the 2015 Schulich Leader Scholarships are Sandra Chan of Calgary AB, Mary Kathleen Hickox of Stratford PEI, Sandra Smeltzer of Harrow ON, and Lin Wei Tung of Chilliwack BC.

“Being awarded the Schulich Leader Scholarship has meant the world to me,” says Ms. Chan, who is a graduate of Calgary’s Webber Academy and studying in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “It has opened the door for me to explore a field of study that I am passionate about at a prestigious university away from home.”

Created in 2011 by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, this annual scholarship program encourages promising high school graduates to pursue higher education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Now in its fourth year, 170 students from across the country are Schulich Leader Scholars, and have received $11 million in support. Awards for students studying in engineering are valued at $80,000 and awards for other STEM areas of study are valued at $60,000. 

“Fostering leadership in STEM fields is vital to Canada’s economic prosperity,” said Seymour Schulich. “It is immensely important to invest in the next generation of technology innovators as they develop and hone their minds and skills to contribute to our national and global community. Every year, our mission is to support outstanding students in pursuit of their dreams”.

The nomination period for the 2016 Schulich Leader Scholarships competition is now open. High schools, secondary schools and CEGEP’s across Canada have until Feb. 2, 2016 to select their scholarship nominees. The student nominees then have until Feb. 23, 2016 to submit their application. To learn more about the Schulich Leader Scholarships, visit their website.

Computer Store services transitioning in 2016

Several services currently offered by the Campus Computer Store will transition to existing shared services after the store ceases retail operations next year.

The university reviewed the Campus Computer Store and all other ancillary operations on campus during the 2014-15 fiscal year. In light of the growing deficit, the review recommended closing the store by April 29, 2016, with retail services being discontinued and core services that support the academic and business requirements of the university transitioning to existing shared services.

The decision to close the store is in line with the broader trend across the province, with only one university still operating a computer store.

“Queen’s is committed to financial sustainability in order to protect the university’s overall academic mission,” says Caroline Davis, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “Increased external competition, especially from online retailers, coupled with broader product lines available instantly from local retailers challenged the Campus Computer Store’s business model.

“ITS explored different options in recent years to offset declining sales, but the opportunities could not guarantee the long-term financial sustainability of the Campus Computer Store,” Ms. Davis says.

Human Resources (HR) has met with the store employees and union representatives to discuss future options. HR is offering ongoing support to the employees and has made them aware of new positions that will be created as a result of some services transitioning to existing shared service units.

“We have given serious consideration to the impact this decision will have on store employees, who provide exceptional service to the Queen’s community,” says Bo Wandschneider, Associate Vice-Principal (Information Technology Services) and Chief Information Officer. “As we move forward with the transition plan, we will do our utmost to support the employees.”

Services transitioning

Departmental IT purchases will transition directly to Strategic Procurement Services (SPS) starting in May 2016. In the meantime, departments can continue to place orders through orderit@queensu.ca.

SPS is currently developing new processes to support departmental IT purchases. SPS will consult with stakeholders as it develops the processes, which will be publicized in the coming months.

“Staff and faculty will have access to a convenient online portal where they can obtain quotes and place orders,” Ms. Davis says. “Re-directing internal purchases to Strategic Procurement Services will deliver cost savings to departments by eliminating the current Campus Computer Store mark-up without compromising the service they have come to expect from store staff.”

The Queen’s Mobile Voice and Data Plans will transition directly to ITS after the store closes. Until that time, staff and faculty phone requests can continue to be submitted to qmobile@queensu.ca Any process changes that occur as a result of the transition to ITS will be communicated to the university community at a future date.

Students, faculty and staff members will no longer be able to purchase IT products for personal use from the Campus Computer Store after April 29, 2016. Personal purchases will continue at the store up until that date, but inventory and displays will be reduced as the store prepares to cease operations.  

Payroll deduction loans for staff and faculty will no longer be offered after Dec. 24, 2015 at noon. Furthermore, staff and faculty members will not be able to add to their existing payroll deduction loan after that point. ITS will continue to administer all existing loans after the store ceases operations. Staff and faculty members with loans will continue with their payout schedule until the loans are paid off.

Enterprise software agreements like Microsoft Office, onQ (the campus-wide learning management system) and others will continue to be managed and provisioned by ITS. All other software agreements will be reviewed and evaluated as they come due, and a committee will be struck to review software site licensing. The departmental leasing and rental program offered by the computer store, which has declined in use in recent years, will be discontinued.

Questions can be directed to Mr. Wandschneider or Brian McDonald, Associate Director, IT Support.

Partnerships strengthened through Europe trip

  • [Daniel Woolf in Europe]
    Principal Daniel Woolf, right, and Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International), met with officials from Institut d’Études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). (Photo by Thomas Arrivé)
  • [Daniel Woolf in Europe]
    Principal Daniel Woolf, right, and Frédéric Mion, President of Institut d’Études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), sign an undergraduate exchange agreement in Paris. (Photo by Thomas Arrivé)
  • During his recent trip to France and Germany, Principal Daniel Woolf met with Queen’s alumni and students currently on exchange at a special gathering in Paris. (Supplied photo)
    During his recent trip to France and Germany, Principal Daniel Woolf met with Queen’s alumni and students currently on exchange at a special gathering in Paris. (Supplied photo)

Principal Daniel Woolf has concluded a successful international trip to France and Germany aimed at strengthening relationships with partner institutions and building connections with alumni.

[Queen's in the World]
Queen's in the World

During the trip he met with representatives from universities in both countries, hosted a special reception for alumni and Queen’s students on exchange, and signed a renewed exchange agreement with Institut d’Études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).

“Building partnerships with universities around the world helps to support Queen’s academic mission and the objectives of the Comprehensive International Plan,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “I was especially pleased to renew our exchange agreement with Sciences Po during this trip, as it is an institution with a strong international reputation and an important strategic partner for Queen’s in France.”

Principal Woolf and Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po, signed the renewed undergraduate exchange agreement in Paris. The two institutions have partnered since 2007 with more than 150 students having participated in exchanges during that time.

While in Paris Principal Woolf also met with the ambassador of Canada for UNESCO, representatives, including Queen’s alumni, from the Institut européen d'administration des affaires (INSEAD), hosted a special reception for Queen’s alumni and students on exchange in France, and delivered two academic papers at the Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations and the Université Paris-Sorbonne.

In Germany, Principal Woolf met with alumni as well as the consular officials in Stuttgart. He visited the University of Tübingen, one of Queen’s partners in the Matariki Network of Universities, as well as the University of Stuttgart, a growing research and academic partner for Queen’s, where a double degree program in chemistry is under discussions.

“International visits are vitally important for advancing the university’s internationalization priorities and raising Queen’s global profile,” says Kathy O’Brien, Associate Vice-Principal (International), who accompanied Principal Woolf on this trip. “The relationships that are developed and strengthened with our international partners support the Comprehensive International Plan by enhancing Queen’s student learning experience and research activities through deeper international engagement.”

Queen’s launched its Comprehensive International Plan in August 2015 to support its internationalization efforts. Among the plan’s goals are strengthening Queen’s international research engagement and creating more opportunities for student mobility through programs like academic exchange programs. The plan also aims to attract high quality international students to Queen’s and to increase international educational opportunities on the Queen’s campus.

Pita Pit creates new bursary at Queen’s

Pita Pit’s connection with Queen’s University goes back to its very foundation and the international fresh food chain recently honoured that link by creating a new bursary to support students.

Participants in the international conference for restaurant chain Pita Pit, held at Queen’s University in July, take a group photo.

In 1995, Pita Pit founder Nelson Lang opened his very first location just off the Queen’s campus, knowing that students would be the key to growing the brand.

Since then, the relationship between the two has continued to grow with two Pita Pit locations on campus, while the brand supports Queen’s Athletics and Recreation through various sponsorship opportunities.

Earlier this year, to celebrate the continued partnership – including two Pita Pit locations on campus – and to mark the brand’s 20th anniversary, nearly 500 Pita Pit franchise owners, staff and vendors gathered at Queen’s for an international conference in July.

During the conference, Pita Pit franchisees, employees and vendors surprised Mr. Lang by unveiling a new way for Pita Pit to say thank you for two decades of support from Queen’s students, faculty, and staff, raising $104,000 to establish the Pita Pit Bursary in Honour of Nelson Lang.

“Pita Pit was founded on fresh thinking, and we are so lucky to have the opportunity to make positive impacts in the communities we serve,” Mr. Lang says. “Our connection with Kingston and Queen’s University has remained strong, even as the Pita Pit brand has expanded across the globe. Together, our Pita Pit family wanted to find a way to give back, and help the students and communities where Pita Pit locations operate.”

Financial assistance from the bursary will be awarded each year to a Queen’s student on the basis of demonstrated financial need. The recipient may be in any year, of any faculty or school at Queen's. Preference will be given to students who are current or past employees of a Pita Pit restaurant.

“Through its generosity, the Pita Pit bursary will assist in easing the financial burden for students who need this critical support to achieve their academic and personal goals,” says Queen’s Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney.  “This funding can help make the difference for some students between accessing post-secondary education and not being able to afford it.”

Under current parameters set by the Queen’s University Board of Trustees, Pita Pit’s initial bursary establishment of $104,000 will generate approximately $3,500 in annual student support.

Students can apply for the bursary online through the Queen’s student portal. The deadline for applications is Saturday, Oct. 31. The first award bursary will be given out in January 2016.

To learn more about the Nelson Lang Bursary, or to donate, visit www.givetoqueens.ca/pitapitbursary.

University updates research administration policy

An updated policy governing all research administration activity at Queen’s recently came into effect. Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer, sat down with Karina McInnis, Executive Director, University Research Services, and Heather Woermke, University Controller, to discuss the updated policy and its impact on the research community.

MK: What is the purpose of this updated policy?

KM: At Queen’s, many people contribute to the university’s drive for research excellence.  The updated policy clearly outlines their roles and responsibilities and removes any ambiguity that may have existed in the past. As a result, researchers, faculties and service units will have clear direction on resolving any issues or matters that might arise.

[Karina Mcinnis and Heather Woermke]
Karina McInnis (left), Executive Director, University Research Services, explains that the updated research administration policy clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities related to all research activity conducted at Queen's.

MK: What is the scope of the updated policy?

KM: The policy is quite broad, as the name would suggest. It covers all research activity conducted, or proposed to be conducted, under the auspices of the university while using Queen’s personnel, students, premises, resources, facilities or equipment. The updated policy also outlines the responsibilities of staff or faculty responsible for managing or administering research activity.

MK: Why was it necessary to update the policy?

KM: Following the implementation of the new budget model in 2013, Queen’s created a separate policy for the indirect costs of sponsored research, which recognizes that indirect costs of research revenue now flow to the faculties. All of the remaining policy statements from the original 1995 policy, and other modifications, have been grouped into this updated policy, which is closely aligned to the requirements of our external research funders, such as the federal Tri-Agencies.

MK: Are there any significant changes as a result of the update?

HW: Included as part of the launch of the policy are procedures that enable Financial Services to support departments and faculties in managing over-spending on research projects, while providing tools to principal investigators (PIs) to ensure research is not disrupted.  These procedures were approved by the Vice-Principals’ Operational Committee after being endorsed by the deans, associate deans of research and business officers. Financial Services has been working closely with faculties on their implementation. 

In summary, any research project that is in deficit for three consecutive months will be deactivated, and any expenditures after the date of deactivation will be charged to the departmental operating account.

[Karina McInnis and Heather Woermke]
Heather Woermke (right), University Controller, explains that the updated policy includes procedures that enable Financial Services to support departments and faculties in managing over-spending on research projects.

MK: What happens if PIs anticipate temporary over-spending on a research project?

HW: Should PIs anticipate temporary over-spending on a research project, the best approach would be to request approval from their department or faculty for overdraft protection using the form on the Financial Services website. Approved forms will be forwarded to Financial Services (Research Accounting). Receipt of an approved form will result in a temporary increase in the project budget, and alleviates any need to temporarily recode expenses.

MK: Where can people find out more information about the policy, and who can they contact if they have questions?

KM: The Research Administration Policy is posted on the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website. If you have any questions, you can contact me by email or by phone at ext. 33108, or Ms. Woermke by email or by phone, ext. 33375. Research Accounting is also able to assist, and can be contacted at research.accounting@queensu.ca.

Grant will make Inuit art exhibition a reality

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received a substantial grant of $261,937 from the Museum Assistance Program (MAP) of the Department of Canadian Heritage, it was announced Friday.

[Norman Vorano]
Norman Vorano is the Queen’s National Scholar and Curator of Indigenous Art.

The grant, the largest received by the gallery from this source, will be allocated over a three-year period. It supports an extraordinary exhibition of graphite drawings under the title Drawing from the Past: Picturing Inuit Modernity in the North Baffin Region, 1964. The show will be featured at the Agnes in 2017, with a national tour to follow.

Created in partnership with the Canadian Museum of History and the Piqqusilirivvik Inuit Cultural Learning Facility in Clyde River, Nunavut, Drawing from the Past will examine a tumultuous era in the history of Canada’s Arctic through the display and interpretation of a unique collection of Inuit drawings made in 1964. The drawings, created by Inuit men and women from the North Baffin communities of Clyde River, Pond Inlet, and Arctic Bay, document the thoughts, apprehensions, memories and observations of Nunavummiut during a time of social upheaval. The pieces entered the collection of the Canadian Museum of History in 2014.

Norman Vorano, Queen’s National Scholar and Curator of Indigenous Art, will lead the project. The exhibition is the first effort to bring this collection to the public in 30 years. Dr. Vorano says the project represents a special opportunity.

“The partnership with Piqqusilirivvik will ensure an informed, culturally rich interpretive framework for presenting these drawings, and opens a new channel of engagement with Canada’s Aboriginal population,” he says. “Reflecting contemporary discussions in curatorial practice, the exhibition seeks a realignment of the relationship between Indigenous and settler perspectives on non‐Western art through an emphasis upon the intangible elements of visual arts — the stories, memories and voices associated with the drawings.”

Agnes Director Jan Allen points out that the cultural exchange embedded in Drawing from the Past takes the work of the gallery in a new direction.

“With the support of MAP and the help of our partners, these drawings — tangible traces of cross‐cultural encounter from half a century ago — will come to life through reflective interviews with the people of their community of origin,” she says. “In conceiving this project, Norman Vorano has cultivated a fresh collaborative approach that promises to be revelatory for all involved.”

In addition to his role at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Dr. Vorano is an assistant professor in the Department of Art at Queen’s University.

For more information, contact Diana Gore, administrative coordinator, at (613) 533.2190 or diana.gore@queensu.ca.

 

 

Queen’s releases 2014-15 financial statements

Queen’s financial statements for 2014-15 have now been posted online after being approved by the university’s Board of Trustees earlier this month.

The statements, which outline the university’s consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2015, report a surplus of revenues over expenses of $61.9 million even as the university continues to face a number of financial challenges.

“The majority of the surplus is the result of strong investment returns in the university’s investment and endowment funds,” says Caroline Davis, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “There is a degree of volatility in the financial statements because of investment returns.  The markets performed very well over the fiscal year, but the university cannot count on such strong returns over the long term.”

The university’s pooled endowment fund returned 12 per cent during the fiscal year. A portion of the endowment fund, use of which is largely restricted by the wishes of donors, is paid out to fund operations while the remainder is reinvested to protect the long-term value of the portfolio.

“There is a degree of volatility in the financial statements because of investment returns.  The markets performed very well over the fiscal year, but the university cannot count on such strong returns over the long term.”

- Caroline Davis, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration)

The smaller pooled investment fund, which includes a range of research funds, trust accounts, and operating carry-forwards, returned 10 per cent for the year. Those returns provide important flexibility for the university to address strategic priorities.

Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), is responsible for the university’s budget process and says that apart from one-time items like investment returns, the 2014-15 fiscal year ended as expected.

“Through the annual budget process, the university is focused on managing its resources carefully in the face of financial challenges,” says Harrison. “Despite the positive result in 2014-15, the university continues to face an unsustainable pension plan with a $285 million solvency deficit, a $253-million deferred maintenance backlog, static or declining government grants and uncertainty around the outcome of the government’s review of the university funding formula.”

The university’s financial statements are available on the Financial Services website, while more information about the university’s budget process is available on the provost’s website.

ITS dials up cellphone reception

Cellphone reception inside campus buildings is improving as a result of a project led by Information Technology Services (ITS).

Working with ITS, Bell Mobility is installing new in-building antenna systems at several locations. While the technology is provided by Bell, customers of other carriers – Telus, Virgin and Koodo – will benefit from the upgrades. Queen’s is actively encouraging Rogers Wireless and Wind Mobile to provide their customers with this enhanced service, and both continue to investigate the option to connect to the system.

“The Queen’s community has come to rely on cellphones and smartphones on a daily basis to support their educational, business and personal needs. However, reliable service inside Queen’s buildings has been hit and miss because outdoor antenna systems have struggled to keep up with the density of devices in the downtown area and on main campus,” says Hugh Flemington, Project Lead. “We anticipate this project will reduce the number of times users experience dropped calls or can’t find a signal.”

ITS set the initial priorities for the multi-year project based on buildings that typically house or host a large number of people, as well as areas known to have poor cellphone reception. The new antenna system is operating in Goodes Hall, Stauffer Library, Queen’s Centre and Victoria Hall. Systems in Brant House, David C. Smith House and Watts Hall will be in service by the end of September.

In addition to main campus improvements, west campus will soon benefit from a new Bell antenna on John Orr Tower to relieve capacity issues in the neighbourhood on event and high-traffic days.

ITS will continue to consult with its advisory boards and get feedback from student groups and Residences as it determines sites for future installations.

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