Pages Home About this blog Community Guidelines Privacy Statement Contact Us Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Voluntary Severance Program for Continuing Academic Staff Dear colleagues, On July 31, I wrote to inform the community that we are now moving quickly to bring the university into a sustainable balanced budget position. We are speeding up our planning in response to feedback we’ve thus far received from the Ministry of Enterprise and Advanced Education regarding our three year plan proposed in the 2013 Comprehensive Institutional Plan. They have indicated that we should move more rapidly to balance our budget. As I mentioned in my communication last week, to reach a sustainable balanced position, we must intensify efforts to make significant reductions to our operating expenditures. At all levels of the university, administrators, faculty, and staff have been working to identify and implement a variety of cost-saving measures for 2014-2015—many of these are now in process. Thank you for your efforts. Today, we add to those efforts with the introduction of a Voluntary Severance Program for continuing academic staff who are members of the Faculty, Faculty Service Officer, Librarian, and Administrative and Professional Officer Agreements. Although we had hoped to manage our budget challenges without the introduction of such a program, our shortened timelines mean that our plans have changed. The VSP differs from the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program offered in 2010 in that this new program is available to eligible continuing academic members, not only those who are approaching retirement. Full details on the VSP are available here. Timelines for deciding to participate in the VSP are very tight. Applications need to be submitted by September 16, 2013, so that we can determine and incorporate the savings achieved by the VSP in our 2014-2015 budget planning cycle. We appreciate that this announcement comes during a time of year when many academic staff are off-campus, so we will work hard to ensure that details about the program are sent to eligible academic staff multiple times and through multiple vehicles in the next six weeks, including email, Colloquy, the Human Resource Services website, and Change@Ualberta. It is also important to note that support staff are not eligible for this particular program because the process of offering voluntary severance differs for staff members under the NASA agreement. Voluntary severance for support staff has been, and will continue to be, offered—as per the Non-Academic Staff Association agreement—on a case-by-case basis by faculties, departments, or administrative units undergoing reorganization or restructuring that involves position disruptions. Let me thank all eligible academic staff in advance for taking time now to review the details of the Voluntary Severance Program. Human Resource Services staff will be holding a number of information sessions on the VSP. In addition, full-day financial planning seminars will be offered by an independent advisor who can help you determine the financial ramifications of your decision. Dates and times of these sessions are available at www.hrs.ualberta.ca/VSP. In addition, on September 6 (Noon-1pm, ECHA L1-490), Phyllis Clark and I will hold a Campus Forum where we will answer any questions you may still have about the VSP, and outline other budget strategies now under development by the senior leadership team. Sincerely, Martin Ferguson-Pell Acting Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at 10:09 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest Labels: Budget, Change, Faculty 57 comments: Ian UrquhartAugust 6, 2013 at 11:47 AM Given there has been no response from the Administration to the 52 comments (as of now) on the July 31st announcement by the Acting Provost I'm not optimistic I'll get one to this question... Since the 3 year plan that the President announced in April when she claimed the U's budget had been "finalized" is out the window could you please specify what timeline the government gave the UofA when the government said: "They have indicated that we should move more rapidly to balance our budget." I expect this government to keep us in the dark; I'd hoped for better from the UofA's leadership. ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM Surprise surprise: even though a later question (firstname.lastname@example.org) has received a response, this question (which has been asked before) still doesn't have an answer. Why doesn't the university leadership communicate honestly with us? Delete AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM It's pretty clear to me that Martin Ferguson-Pell is giving that best answer he can with at this time. I say this because in spite of your suggestion that he's holding back on us for some nefarious reason, I can't imagine what that reason would be. He gains nothing from being vague. I think you, yourself, have hit on the more likely answer: the government is keeping all of us more or less in the dark. Given the government's track record on consistency of message, I find it plausible that university admin has indeed received feedback but no definitive word on the timeline. Either way, the budget has to be balanced. Delete AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 3:04 PM And you say this despite the fact that the university has been deliberately vague during this process about things it has definite information about? For example, the faculty-by-faculty cuts announced in May have been kept secret: these are things that, obviously, the university knows all about, and yet refuses to make public without explaining why. We don't even know if the government has given a specific timeline or not - the administration won't even tell us that! The administration is not, for sure, "in the dark" about whether it knows if there's a deadline or not: either it has been given a fixed timeline or it has not. We should at the very least be told "the government has not yet set a timeline for us (but has asked us to work within these broad parameters)" if that is the case - unless you're implying that they don't know whether or not they know if there's a deadline. Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 4:11 PM I really don't see what the question asked here has to do with the issue at hand. What difference does it make whether we have 2 years or 3 years to balance the budget? As the only way the University can balance the budget is to cut staff permanently, surely the staff cuts have to start immediately. I'm just guessing but it appears to me that senior administration has chosen to take action as not enough involuntary terminations are occurring, perhaps due to a delusion that the government is going to change its mind about these cuts. To anyone managing operating budget, these cuts are very real. If you are in the privileged position of not being vulnerable to job loss, please provide some helpful suggestions to ease the pain for the decision makers and the victims. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM Will Temporary Sessionals that are on rolling contracts be eligible for the Voluntary Severance Package? ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 6, 2013 at 1:08 PM No, only continuing academic staff in the following four groups are eligble: Faculty, Faculty Service Officers, Librarians, and APOs. Please see www.hrs.ualberta.ca/VSP for full details. Delete AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 4:35 PM Why are sessionals on rolling term / multi-year contracts not eligible for the Voluntary Severance Package? Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 9:40 AM Maybe because its cheaper to just not renew our contracts... Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM If very few continuing academic staff take the deal, I'm sure they will look at offering the same deal to rolling term contracts. Delete ColloquyAugust 7, 2013 at 9:11 PM To Anon at 4:35 Aug. 6: The VSP is limited to continuing academic employees because the aim is to reduce long-term compensation commitments and expenditures that have the greatest impact on base operational funding. Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM You don't want to cut contract staff who are 100% teachers, if the result is the loss of classes and significant numbers of students, especially in programs with a high proportion of foreign students (huge tuition). You can always cut them without trouble, on the other hand, if they are in a weak-enrollment area anyway and you decide to chop the whole thing. And as the person said at 9:40AM, you don't need to pay any severance to contract staff to make them go away. The university needs to develop some guts and do some pruning, and the faculty should have taken an overall pay cut. But selfishness prevails. Delete AnonymousAugust 8, 2013 at 9:29 AM The VSP application form says that "if approved" the application is irrevocable. However, the applicant is asked to provide a "requested end date". What happens if the application is approved but the requested end date is not approved? Is the faculty member obligated to accept the VSP if their requested end date is denied? Delete ColloquyAugust 8, 2013 at 2:41 PM Anon 9:29 Thanks; clearly you've gone to the information site. If the employee and the dean/VP can't negotiate a mutually agreed-upon end date, the employee may withdraw his/her request. Once the request has been approved, the decision is irrevocable. We don't want to create multiple places for very specific details of various scenarios, so if you have additional detailed questions, please contact the HR folks listed on the VSP info site linked in the post so that they can A- answer your questions and B- add questions to the information/FAQ sheet. Also, there is an info session on Aug. 12 at which you can go through your own situation if you'd like. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 5:52 PM Everyone is picking on the administration, and certainly they deserve much of the criticism. However, we should not forget that the original culprit here is the incomprehensible, uncommunicative, and likely incompetent government of Alberta. (I say that as someone who voted for them, thinking that this version of the PCs was indeed supportive of advanced education and training--as they had falsely claimed they were in their campaign literature.) However, Alison Redford has hidden behind a cloak of silence since the onset of this fiasco. Thomas Lukaszuk was even in hiding when the budget was announced, too cowardly to face Albertans who were bound to be deeply affected by the ambush he had planned and executed ("non-negotiable!" he bleated repeatedly!) to Alberta's university system. Since the budget announcement, they (Redford-Lukaszuk) have demonstrated that they are stunningly ill-informed about post-secondary education in Alberta--how it works, what it does, the revenue it attracts and generates, the diversity it propagates, and the promise it holds for families across the province. Let`s not stop picking on the UAlberta administration--they need some guidance about how to proceed and the posters to this website are providing some good ideas. However, let`s also not forget that it is the abominable government of Alberta who has demonstrated its complete irrationality in its handling of this portfolio. They deserve some attention, too. ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 3:17 PM Perhaps the brain drain from Alberta will begin soon. Other more enterprising universities situated in other more progressive and forward-looking provinces (or US states) may find many early- or mid-career stars to recruit to their campuses from UAlberta. Why not take a buy-out from UAlberta and then a new appointment at a university on an upward trajectory? Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 4:08 PM There isn't enough time to secure an offer elsewhere. I have an interview at another university in Sept, but will probably not find out whether I got the job until October. It would have been great to take the VSIP with another job in hand. After nearly two decades at the UofA, I am owed. Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 8:45 PM "It would have been great to take the VSIP with another job in hand. After nearly two decades at the UofA, I am owed." Owed? Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 11:39 PM If you have been at the UofA for nearly two decades you are entitled to twelve months of severance as per the VSP information (http://www.hrs.ualberta.ca/MyEmployment/~/media/hrs/MyEmployment/VSP/VSPInfoSheet.pdf). That means you have twelve months to find a new position, not one month. That should be enough time for anyone... Delete AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM Owed what? You have a pension that will pay out, in theory, more than what you and the employer combined paid in, plus market returns. They keep raising pension contributions on younger staff to pay that excess to the retired and soon to retire. While I am sure you have contributed a lot to the U of A, financially speaking you are getting a sweet deal that is denied to those starting out now. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM Prof. Ferguson-Pell states: "[the Ministry of Enterprise and Advanced Education] have indicated that we should move more rapidly to balance our budget." The Edmonton Journal states that Minister Lukaszuk "said he did not ask the U of A to accelerate its cuts from the proposed three-year plan they announced earlier this spring." (http://goo.gl/wEm2gT) Can you clarify? On the surface, this appears to be a contradiction. Is it possible that there has been some miscommunication between the administration and the ministry? ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 9:06 AM I noticed that discrepancy as well. If we were told to move more rapidly, who said it, and when? And if the minister himself says we were never asked to do this, why are we doing it? Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 8:30 AM I keep hearing that there is no more fat to cut. But then I also hear of courses with say five students being offered. Where can one find the data of how many courses were offered last year with five or less students registered? Are there many of these? Are they spread all over campus in various programs as a one-off or do they occur in a particular low enrolment program? ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM I have no access to campus-wide data, but from what I saw, such courses are offered to 4th level undergrads and grad students. They are listed as 18 people enrollment, but easily could end up with 5. And this situation will be unavoidable of one wants to create specialists. Remove such possibility, and the university will become a community college. Delete AnonymousAugust 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM "And this situation will be unavoidable of [sic?] one wants to create specialists. Remove such possibility, and the university will become a community college." Depending on what "specialists" means; a trade school would also want to create them. Even with data, I cannot say which 5-people 4th-level courses (or 18-people 2nd-level courses) the university should offer campus-wide now; each Faculty/School must know its Departments/Programs better. Worst thing is to mislead STUDENTS into a major where they will need for timely graduation to take courses which the university can't afford. Delete Reply Amy KalerAugust 7, 2013 at 10:43 AM Is this proposed buyout consistent with the AASUA collective agreement? It appears to me that it alters the conditions of service in the agreement, which the administration should not be able to do without the consent of AASUA as the other party to the agreement. Could someone who is more conversant with the legalities of the collective agreement please clarify? ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM Amy Kaler, Thanks for your question. The VSP is consistent with the terms of the Faculty, Faculty Service Officer, Librarian, and Administrative Professional Officer agreements. These collective agreements permit the University to introduce the VSP and to implement it in accordance with the terms of the VSP, including with the approval of eligible academic staff members who wish to participate in the VSP. The same approach was followed in 2010, when the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program was introduced without the consent of or objection from AASUA. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 8, 2013 at 8:05 AM It is my understanding that the Faculty Deans have the ultimate veto on the request for a proposed buyout. What Dean is going to permit a buy-out of an FTE academic? The Faculty loses that position and, while it would be an overall cost savings for the U of A, some Departments and Faculties could be decimated. Moreover, what chance would they have to recover in the next decades? NONE! Once the bleeding starts, especially in smaller disciplines, it will be a hemorrhage which will be hard to stop. I suspect this is not going to be the solution to the current problem that the administration is seeking. More importantly, this will be a disaster for the U of A. For all of you who voted PC (university professors voted PC, seriously?), remember this next time (both provincially and federally)! ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 13, 2013 at 1:07 AM It was fairly easy to be persuaded to vote PC in the most recent provincial election, given the context and the candidates. Alison Redford masqueraded as a semi-progressive and lied through her teeth in her platform about her strong support for education at all levels, including universities. Was it possible that an Alberta premier could actually have an education and be supportive of it for other women, men, children, and families? Sadly, no. Her appointment of T. Lukaszuk, B.Ed., as minister was the only warning she gave that she held great antipathy to the post-secondary sector. A minister of advanced education who (a) can not work out the difference between a slogan (campus alberta) and a policy and (b) does not do any homework prior to delivering his pronouncements is surely the worst thing that has happened in recent memory to Alberta education. Yes, I agree: For the next provincial election, get out the vote of families near and far to defeat Lukaszuk and Redford. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 10, 2013 at 9:20 AM Does the University currently have $602 million in non-endowed short-term funds, "which will provide liquidity and preservation of capital" (pg 10 of U of A's Investment Report)? If so, why on earth are we not using some of the liquidity of those non-endowed short-term funds to preserve our human capital, namely our faculty and staff, during what is the worst budget crisis to hit our university in decades, and one that is threatening the very nature of our university, the flagship of the provincial post-secondary system. What do we gain by sacrificing our faculty, staff, programs when we have $602 Million in non-endowed short-term funds? Why are we not using these funds to save our university? http://www.financial.ualberta.ca/en/~/media/University%20of%20Alberta/Administration/Finance%20and%20Administration/Financial%20Services/Documents/FS%20Office%20Site/Investment%20Reports/BOGInvestmentReport2013.pdf And, as Paula Simons has asked, where is the President? Why isn't she speaking out during all of this? ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 13, 2013 at 2:16 PM Here the response from Phyllis Clark (VP, Finance and Operations) regarding your questions relating to non-endowed funds: "The University holds non-endowed funds in various ways that earn interest. However, all of these funds are held for future, committed expenditures. These are contractual agreements that we need to honour. Examples include research grants, contract agreements involving professors, and obligations that are connected to tuition funding that is used throughout the year to pay salaries." Delete AnonymousAugust 14, 2013 at 9:26 AM If that money is being held for "future, committed expenditures" such as "contractual agreements involving professors" why are you asking AASUA (and NASA) to reopen signed contracts? Oh, and I think you mean "contract agreements involving staff" rather than "professors" here. At least, I hope you do. And where is the President? Delete ColloquyAugust 14, 2013 at 3:32 PM I believe that you have misunderstood what Phyllis Clark meant in "contract agreements involving professors"--she was referring to those contracts with industry and government partners that some professors/researchers take on as part of their research. She was not referring to collective agreements. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 11, 2013 at 9:29 AM 1) Yes, I am interested as well why the funds which were created to preserve the University are not used for that. Clear answer needs to be given. 2) The other question is about the spending structure. In the comparable to UofA UBC and McGill, academic salaries account for 7% more of the operating budget (25% in UofA, 32% in McGill and UBC) http://www.caubo.ca/sites/22.214.171.124.pilot/files/CAUBO_2011-2012_FINANCIAL_INFORMATION_OF_UNIVERSITIES_AND_COLLEGES.pdf Bring our University financial structure in order comparable to these universities by cutting other costs, not academics. 3)admins obviously realize that it requires 25% overall academic salary decrease or 25% professors cut via voluntary or involuntary layoff. Neither is possible with keeping the University running. Hence a clear answer about what is the real final goal behind reopening the salary renegotiation or VSP. 4) and yes, where is the President? ReplyDelete JAugust 12, 2013 at 9:13 AM Is it true that the Minister has recently written to the Board of Governors regarding the time-line for balancing the University's budget? ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 12, 2013 at 4:29 PM The Board has not yet received any official response to the U of A's CIP, which includes budget and timelines. A spokesperson from the ministry was quoted in the media last week indicating that they have received the U of A's CIP and are reviewing it.(http://globalnews.ca/news/765506/cost-cutting-measure-on-the-way-at-the-university-of-alberta/) The ministry has also advised that they plan to reply to all Alberta postsecondary institutions about their CIPs at the same time later this month. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 12, 2013 at 3:28 PM Why are only select posts from the 2 most recent "Martin Ferguson-Pell" update receiving a response from the blog administrator(s)? ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 12, 2013 at 4:52 PM Some answers take time; we will answer outstanding questions as we are able to with the best possible information. However, we also believe that many questions are best left open for debate and discussion by the community. Thank you for both your patience and your engagement. Delete Reply Shelley MackayAugust 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM This is the PC way of dealing with the projected shortage of skilled tradesworkers. ReplyDelete ColloquyAugust 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM We would like to remind participants to please remain civil and collegial when commenting and asking questions of each other and of the blog. Thank you. ReplyDelete AnonymousAugust 14, 2013 at 10:40 PM As Colloquy has expressed that some questions will take time to answer, and there are many unanswered questions in the last two blog topics, I'd like to respectfully repost my earlier unanswered questions to ensure they are not accidentally lost in the shuffle. (I'd also like to correct two key missing words in the final sentence, indicated by **'s). Our provincial government has made the growth of our budget in the last 10 years an explicit target, pointing out its 45% growth in 10 years (3.8% annually). In that time inflation has grown on average 2.1% per year in our province. Our enrollment has grown on average 2.7% per year. Altogether, this means the cost in real dollars per student has grown by almost 4.9% per year. In other words, we've actually managed to reduce our spending significantly, at about ~1.1% annually, before this abysmal budgetary year. Given this, I have the following questions: 1) Has this been strongly communicated to either the Government of Alberta or more importantly the public? If not, why? 2) Why has the University discussed our 4% increase in cost per year as a structural deficit or a structural problem, even on this website and this post, when it is a fair reaction to the number of students we are teaching? 3) Are not "reductions in faculty and staff compensation" a form of a horizontal cut that communicates that there was "fat" in our system? I strongly disfavor any additional horizontal cuts. By diffusing the cost of our insufficient budget, I think it is fairly obvious that there will be a decrease in morale and staff/faculty retention, both of which will likely have a negative, but subtle effect on all of our students. Unfortunately, I am not convinced that either the Government nor the public will strongly perceive the real cost of such a cost. On the other hand, a few targeted vertical cuts will likely have a smaller effect/budget impact on all of our students, while having a much increased visibility to our entire community. While I would not **want to** be a target of a vertical cut, I am much more in fear of the debilitating effect horizontal cuts are having on all of us. ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 15, 2013 at 11:57 AM In answer to your questions, we can assure you that the president, acting-provost, and other members of the senior team are meeting regularly with government and advocating strongly on behalf of the institution. They are ensuring that government is fully informed of the challenges we face (including those relating to enrollment pressures and the structural deficit) and the impact of further cuts to the operating budget. As Martin Ferguson-Pell indicated in these last two posts, the university had hoped to be able to deal with our financial challenges without seeking reductions in faculty and staff compensation, but changes in our situation have resulted in changes in strategy. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM The decay of cordiality and the growth of fear among not only this blog, but also some of our community, may be rooted in the fact that many of us are unsure of the shape of our University in the next two-three years. We have sent a 3 year plan to GoA, which may or may not be acted upon. There is a feeling around campus that the timetable has likely been reduced to two years, but little communication of that has been made. In addition, we will be unable to identify the effect of this VSP until its deadline in September. When can the community expect to know the full nature of the cuts that the University will be making? In comparison, our sister school, University of Calgary posted a 1-year plan to deal with their budget cuts, where they use 11.9M in contingency funds, 27.7M in reduced expenditure, and 1.1M in revenue growth, in May. This occurred approximately 1 month - 2 months after the provincial budget announcement. Note that the University of Alberta CIP makes no mention of the application of contingency funds or the proportion of the cut that will be covered by revenue growth. (This is disappointing in my opinion). While the President has in the past said something to the effect that intelligent budget cuts takes time, it has been over four and a half months since the provincial budget announcement. In addition to the cuts that will have to be made, I shudder to think of the productivity that the University has likely lost due to the cloud of uncertainty. I strongly urge the administration to fully delineate its proposed plans in detail as soon as possible to initiate a conversation about the complete package with the entire community. ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 15, 2013 at 12:02 PM We understand living in uncertainty is difficult. As mentioned in the post above. Acting Provost MartinFerguson-Pell and Vice-President Finance and Administration Phyllis Clark will hold a Campus Forum on September 6 (Noon-1pm, ECHA L1-490),where they will answer questions about the VSP, provide an update on the impact of the cuts up to this point and outline other budget strategies being developed by the senior leadership team. Delete AnonymousAugust 16, 2013 at 11:09 AM Colloquy, is there a risk that if the University senior leadership team delays the difficult decisions ahead then the Provincial Government has the right to step in and make the binding decisions for them instead? If this is the case, then I fear that the choices made will strictly be based on numbers by accountants instead of being guided with sense by experienced personnel in the trenches, so to speak. Delete Reply JAugust 15, 2013 at 1:07 PM It's been suggested that uptake of voluntary severance is essential to prevent involuntary severance.So why is the Faculty of Science being allowed to recruit new staff this year? And why is it being reported that 100 new development staff are being recruited by Central administration? All worthy projects in themselves, no doubt, but isn't the timing wrong? ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 16, 2013 at 1:35 PM Although, as you note, the university is encouraging uptake of voluntary severance and is also experiencing lay-offs in some areas, it has not instituted a hiring freeze and continues to seek the best candidates for available positions. Faculties, departments and units are reorganizing and seeking efficiencies, the result of which is not only loss in personnel, but also, in some cases, the creation of new or redefined roles and positions. In order for the university to successfully manage all of these changes, leadership has enabled faculties and departments to make strategic decisions and appointments that are in the interest of the long-term health of the institution. Please send along the link to the postings for 100 new development staff. We have checked, this is an error. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 19, 2013 at 8:01 PM It would be greatly appreciated if the Dean of Arts could provide: a) a monetary figure for the anticipated savings from the suspension of 20 programs (i.e., how much, precisely, will be saved?), and b) an explanation of where that savings comes from; (e.g., lay-off of contract instructors? something else?). ReplyDelete Replies ColloquyAugust 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM Anon @ 8:01 PM, thank-you for your questions. We contacted the Faculty of Arts for a response: "Budget savings will be incremental and longer term. In the short term (i.e., Fall 2013), we anticipate no budget savings from these program suspensions, since we are not cutting courses. Over the longer term, savings will come from needing fewer CAST instructors and fewer professors. Suspending small-enrollment programs is a way of trimming costs gradually and affecting students as minimally as possible. It is important to note these are not yet final decisions. We expect that, after more careful review, programs will come out in three broad categories: 1) programs that continue essentially as they are (for example, because there are demographic projections we haven't taken into account, such as evidence of growing student demand, or recent curricular changes); 2) programs that continue, but changed (for example, because the requirements were unclear, or to reflect changes in the discipline); 3) programs that will be terminated (for example, because students really are not interested in them, or we have lost faculty teaching capacity that cannot be replaced)." Delete AnonymousAugust 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM Thank you for the prompt response. Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 21, 2013 at 2:49 PM Reported in the media this morning - the Faculty of Science is raising admission requirements to >80%, thus decreasing student enrolment by ~300 students per year for two years, net ~600 fewer students. My question is - how exactly does this SAVE money, when students are our main source of revenue? I don't understand... ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 21, 2013 at 8:06 PM Because students are not the main source of revenue. They pay say 25% of the cost. The main source of revenue is the government grant, and it is not covering the costs, so reducing enrolment means that Science won't be expending resources to teach students that are not covered by insufficient government funds. Something has to give when the government reduces the grant and at the same time does not permit the raising of tuition fees to cover the shortfall. Delete AnonymousAugust 21, 2013 at 11:41 PM Student tuition and fees make up a relatively small fraction of the total expenditure per student. Government funding makes up a much larger amount, especially in terms if operating budget. Several years ago the province halted envelope funding that was based on enrollment. I believe that funding stopped around the 6100 level. So, the Faculty of Science can save money by decreasing its enrollment. In theory we could consider cutting enrollment below 6100 people; however, I think there we get into a regime where many of us, myself included, would question if that action is ethical. Delete AnonymousAugust 22, 2013 at 8:36 AM Thanks to both of you for the response. Makes more sense now, though on the surface, it is counter-intuitive (at least to me!). It is a crying shame that we have to cut student enrollment in order to meet budget reduction demands. I was always told (by our Chair, the Provost, etc.) that the reason we're all here is for the students. Besides, how are you supposed to do research when you're not training undergrads, who go on to graduate studies? Then research & innovation suffer too, in obeisance to the Almighty dollar. :-( Delete Reply AnonymousAugust 21, 2013 at 7:12 PM Tuitions from registrants and government funding for having them COMBINED are a university/college's revenue source. Gov has stopped funding us for that, so we decide to save money by not teaching them out of our pocket. Med schools would have limited their size in such protest. ReplyDelete AnonymousAugust 21, 2013 at 7:24 PM What assurance can the administration provide that those taking the VSP are not immediately disadvantaged by the potential introduction of a more lucrative offer post-september 16th? If a financial emergency were declared (highly speculative) subsequent to expiry of the VSP, it could be more beneficial in certain cases to be involuntarily severed. ReplyDelete Replies AnonymousAugust 26, 2013 at 8:42 AM Well, I guess the silence from the administration on the "Anonymous 7:24pm" VSP question speaks volumes to faculty considering the package, i.e., exercise extreme caution. Delete Reply Add comment Load more... A moderator will review your comment before it is posted to ensure it does not violate the community guidelines. Be aware that at this time you are posting to an externally-hosted website. You have no more privacy protection than you would posting to any other site on the Internet. Newer Post Older Post Home Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) Search This Blog Loading... About this blog This blog is published by the University of Alberta to provide an official forum for information sharing, discussion and debate about current topics relevant to the university. 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