Erindale College Council

REPORT OF THE RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE meeting of Erindale College Council held on Monday, February 9, 2004 at 3:10 p.m., in the Alumni Lounge, room 3138, South Building.

Erindale College Council


PRESENT: R. Baker (in the Chair), P. Donoghue, S. Kibria, M. Jalland, M. Georges, P. King, K. Hannah-Moffat, B. Schneider, K. Kaun
REGRETS: C. Misak, U. Krull, J. Harkness, A. Mullin, P. Silcox, D. Crocker

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was approved. (B. Schneider / P. King)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (January 12, 2004)

The Minutes of the previous meeting were approved. (P. Donoghue / K. Hannah-Moffat)

3. Business arising from the minutes

There was no business arising from the Minutes.

4. New Business

a) Overall Financial Objectives for 2003/04 – P. Donoghue

Mr. Donoghue directed the Committee’s attention to a handout on enrolment, which showed general statistics as of February 1, 2004.

The table indicated the overall headcount, showing UTM slightly ahead of its target at a total headcount of 8356. The Chief Administrative Officer stressed that it is important to have a good understanding of enrolment numbers as they related to finances and their effect on infrastructure. As of February 1st, UTM has approximately 10,000 Ontario High School applicants for September of 2004 with an intake projected to be between 1800 and 1900. The Ontario high school intake in September of 2003 was 2312.

Mr. Donoghue reported that over the past two years, UTM has been negotiating the financial implications of the enrolment expansion with the St. George campus. He explained that UTM has a six year financial plan based on enrolment growth. The first phase of enrolment growth (30%) is funded at $0.90/dollar that each student brings to the University. Growth beyond 30% (phase two, currently at 69%) is based on a rate of $0.75/dollar, (both percentages are of total revenue, net of mandated student aid.) The rate before growth is $0.65/dollar.

The Chief Administrative Officer stressed that as departments are formulating their responses to the White Paper “Stepping Up,” it is important for everyone to understand the financial background.

He explained that recurring, One Time Only (OTO) budget cuts have become standard. UTM’s strategy has been to make upfront investments in faculty and support infrastructure instead of a ‘catch-up’ approach. In this way, UTM is able to provide the needed resources to support the enrolment growth up front. As well, UTM has been absorbing the budget cuts centrally and therefore has been able to avoid passing on these cuts to departments. This strategy however puts UTM in an annual deficit position of $2.6M for 2004/05. In the current fiscal year, this number is at $6.1M on a base of $39M. This results in a cumulative debt of $12.8M, by 2005/06.

He remarked that making this investment up front allows UTM to continue to recruit quality faculty (47 hired in the last three years). This year’s hiring rate decreased to five faculty, but will increase to approximately 16 new faculty for each year for next three years.

The Chief Administrative Officer directed the attention of Committee members to the handout on UTM’s multi-year financial projections. The section on adjustments shows a budget cut of 2% in the coming fiscal year, followed by 2% cuts for at least the next two years. These cuts increase the length of time it will take UTM to return into breakeven position. The handout also shows a figure of $1.3M under “Extra” EGF or Enrolment Growth Fund, which represents revenue from the 208 FTE’s beyond UTM’s target intake for 2003/04. In addition, the BIU weighting increased from 1.25 to 1.276 (based on November 1st counts), which also contributed to the additional $1.3M UTM received.

The Chief Administrative Officer stressed that UTM is very vulnerable to relatively small changes in enrolments, base budget cuts or any variations within this overall financial model.

The Chair opened the floor to questions and comments from the Committee.

A member commented that UTM’s options are to increase enrolment, reduce faculty hiring, or reduce other expansion activities in order to deal with the budget cuts. The Chief Administrative Officer commented that faculty hiring remains on target and added that one of the largest areas of expenditure is facility resources as the planned new buildings are added to UTM. He added that it is important to show the larger context within which UTM’s enrolment growth is being supported.

In response to a member’s question, he explained that if UTM carries forward the $1.3M in ‘extra EGF’, the cumulative deficit for 2004/05 would be $10.4 compared to the current projection of $11.7M and by 2007/08, this figure would be $8.7M, compared to the current projection of $13.9M. He stressed that this budgetary information was meant to be sobering, but that the university accepted UTM’s current financial strategy on a deficit basis because it is a sound financial plan.

A member suggested that departments may be flexible in their faculty hiring schedules and could possibly delay some appointment by one year. In response to a member’s question on the implication this delay would have on the budget, the Director of Business Services explained that delaying the hiring of one faculty for one year would constitute approximately $100K in the budget. She added that other factors would also have an effect on this figure, including start up costs, number of teaching assistants required, and whether the faculty was in the humanities, social sciences, or sciences stream.
The Chief Administrative Officer added that renovations projects related to faculty expansion would also have an effect.
A member commented that faculty currently being by the Chemistry department will need more space in the near future. The Chief Administrative Officer replied that UTM is planning for an efficient overall utilization of space. For example, space in the research wing of the South Building will be freed up by moving dry lab space to the renovated Library.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Donoghue explained that graduate student funding flows centrally to the School of Graduate Studies and is then distributed to various divisions through the graduate departments.

A member asked if there was anything that students could do in their government lobbying efforts to help the budgetary situation. Another member commented that in general lobbying would be useful to increase BIUs per students, as this is a major source of funding to universities.

A member if there were any major expense categories where the budget cuts could be absorbed. Mr. Donoghue explained that compensation related costs and associated benefits make up approximately 85% of budget, which does not leave much room (approximately 15%) to absorb costs, especially as there are increased pressures to renovate a 35-year-old infrastructure.

b) Preliminary three-year forecast – P. Donoghue

The Chief Administrative Officer drew the Committee’s attention to the handout on the UTM budget process. He explained that while the detailed process is still under consideration, the goal is to engage all departments and programs in the process, and to connect the budget process very closely to academic planning. In addition, the process aims to include UTM’s enrolment and recruitment efforts and is intended to be very transparent and inclusive.

He stated that if Committee members wished to provide input on the process, they could contact the offices of the Chief Administrative Officer, the Vice-Principal Academic and Business Services. He added that the information provided on the budget is meant to temper expectations, but that the overall strategy is to support the academic plans.

5. Other Business

There was no other business.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee is scheduled for March 15, 2004.

7. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m. (C. Capewell / P. King)

Secretary of Council __________________ Chair ________________
February 2, 2004