Minutes: RPPC March 26, 2012

REPORT OF THE MEETING OF THE RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE held on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 2:10 p.m., Room 3214 William G. Davis Building

Present: L. Bailey (in the Chair), D. Saini, D. Crocker, G. Cassar, M. Zandawala, H. Miller, A. Galasso, A. Monks, T. Conway, P. Goldsmith

Regrets:  A. Mullin, C. Capewell, U. Schloesser

  1. Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meetings (November 21, 2012)

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

  1. Reports of Committees and Officers: 
  1. Report of the Chief Administrative Officer - Paul Donoghue, CAO

For Information

i. 2012-13 Budget and Update on Capital Projects Transportation

The Chair called on Mr. Paul Donoghue, CAO, to provide Council with a presentation on the UTM budget, including the broader context of the university.  Mr. Donoghue noted that the 2012-13 budget would be up for consideration by Governing Council later on in March.

The presentation is attached hereto as Appendix A. Mr. Donoghue explained that the fiscal context for the university’s budget were the estimated $16B Provincial and $30B Federal deficits. He noted that there is no change in the allocation of $52M to UTM’s budget.  He explained that the Drummond report recommended a 1.5% per annum increase, while at the same time, sector growth is projected at 1.7%.  He showed a slide of Provincial government transfers to colleges and universities per student FTE for 2008-09, pointing out the large discrepancy between transfers to Ontario and the rest of the provinces:  Ontario receives the lowest such transfers at approximately $10,000, while Alberta receives more than $25,000. 

Discussing the university-wide overview, Mr. Donoghue noted that the university has a balanced budget and is in the final year of paying down the institution-wide accumulated deficit.  This is in the context of a modest expansion in both undergraduate and graduate student numbers and pension challenges.  The CAO explained that key budget assumptions going forward included full BIU funding, a continuation of the tuition framework (5% with restrictions; a maximum of 4.3% at U of T) and stage 2 pension solvency relief.  He noted that the impact of the Ontario Tuition Grant on student access guarantee and operating budget remained unclear.

He reported that the university has a structural budget challenge in that the weighted average increase in revenue was 2.6%, while the weighted average increase in expenses was 4.3%.  He provided a summary of undergraduate enrolment plans at the university, noting that at UTM, undergraduate FTE numbers are projected to be 12,361 by 2016.  A similar increase would occur at Scarborough, while the Faculty of Arts & Science was holding its intake at the 2011 level.

Mr. Donoghue reported that UTM enjoys a balanced budget, and with the continuation of the  $3M per year deficit repayment, UTM will eliminate its debt by 2016.  He showed university-wide costs by bin for 2012-13, and noted that occupancy costs were at the top at 23%.  With respect to major expense categories, compensation represents the highest percentage at 63%, which is consistent across the university.

In this context, UTM achieved its overall enrolment targets with the highest admission averages to date and with a retention rate of 92%.  International undergraduate student intake is targeted to be between 15.5% and 17% by 2015. 

The CAO discussed student to faculty ratio and space, facilities and research infrastructure as the fundamental challenges faced by the campus. 

He reported that the 5-year capital plan includes the following:

  • North building re-construction (May 2012 start)
  • Teaching labs over four summers (Biology is first priority during the summer of 2012)
  • Kaneff Centre addition
  • Davis Building Phase II
  • Research labs (renovations and new)
  • Student Centre expansion

The total borrowing for the above projects is approximately $17M.

The refined 5-year capital plan includes research labs in an expandable addition concept ($20M) instead of a stand-alone science building, a library expansion ($15M) and a second parking deck ($6M), all projects that are to be pursued as money becomes available.  Mr. Donoghue noted that ancillary operations remain strong and as a change in process, all surpluses are to be allocated to capital reserves.

The CAO discussed issues going forward, which include:  faculty growth at a top priority; the University Fund and moving toward “equalization”, resourcing departments to support past and current growth, protecting departments from budget cuts, office and research space, the borrowing cap and UTM’s deficit to 2015-16.  Within this context the campus has to accomplish academic planning, capital construction, a review of governance, new programs, an international recruitment push and a major fundraising campaign.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

The President of UTMSU, Mr. Cassar, thanked Mr. Donoghue for his presentation and noted that work on the Student Centre expansion was progressing very well.  He added that he looked forward to establishing some form of a memorandum of agreement and that the university can expect a very successful student referendum in support of a levy for the student centre expansion in the fall of 2012.    He emphasized the inclusion of locker spaces into some of the capital projects currently under consideration.

A member commented that in his opinion Chemistry labs needed renovation even more than the Biology labs.  Mr. Donoghue explained that all of the teaching labs are in need of renovation and that his office is proceeding to address laboratory needs one by one.  He assured members that improving teaching labs are a top priority.

The Chair asked if members had any other business.

Mr. Cassar reported that the summer UPASS program was very successful.  UTMSU was in the process of lobbying Mississauga Transit for part-time student inclusion into the UPass program.

The Chair noted that this was the last meeting for the year and expressed his thanks to members for participating the work of the Committee. 

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

Chair ______________________________  Secretary __________________________