Memorial University’s academic governing body held a special meeting recently to discuss issues of critical importance to the institution.
Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic), and Kent Decker, vice-president (administration and finance), provided updates on the enrolment plan and the spending reductions made to meet targets for the 2017-18 budget, as well as the approach for the 2018-19 budget planning cycle at a special meeting of Senate on Nov. 14.
Their presentations are available online.
As chair of the Planning and Budget Committee (PBC) of Senate, Dr. Golfman presented PBC’s recommendations related to the 2014 Strategic Enrolment Plan, which had previously set unit-by-unit targets to achieve by 2020.
“While there are some areas of strategic growth, overall the university is behind in fulfilling the goals of the 2014 enrolment plan,” she said. “PBC is recommending a review of the plan which could mean either revising the targets, changing the strategies, or a combination of both.”
After further consultation with the university community, PBC will be drafting a revised version of the enrolment plan in view of recent enrolment trends.
Mr. Decker provided a detailed accounting of the budget reductions made across portfolios for the current fiscal year totaling just over $6 million.
He also noted that since 2012-13, Memorial has made cumulative base budget reductions of some $18.5 million and is anticipating an additional $7.4 million grant reduction over the next two years as announced by government in the last provincial budget.
“Significant cuts have been made across units and campuses to meet our targets,” said Mr. Decker.
“I know that difficult decisions have had to be made and we expect to continue to view every aspect of our operations and spending through a lens of efficiency. Memorial is required to balance its budget each year and we have worked hard to achieve that target again this year.”
Led by the Integrated Planning Committee, work on the 2018-19 budget planning process is already begun.
The overarching goals are to make the process more open and transparent and to seek advice from the university community on priorities and options to produce a balanced budget.
Major activities in the coming months will include an assessment of preliminary budget information, the development of a draft report, university-wide consultation including a town hall, and revisions and submission of the report to the Vice Presidents Council by May 2018.