Provost Bacon brings lively approach to budgeting prior to TRC discussion

March 21 Senate recap

March 21st Senate Recap

While “budget presentation” doesn’t normally inspire a lively attitude, Provost Antoine-Benoit Bacon demonstrated an abundance of enthusiasm during the March 21 meeting of Senate. 

Speaking to the crowd in Robert Sutherland Hall, Bacon announced that Queen’s operating revenue for the 2017-18 year, which makes up 64.7 per cent of the total funds coming through the University, is expected to be $554.6 million.

Bacon’s particular excitement came at cause of the revenue being up by $32 million from last year, and adds to a year over year increase of the operating revenue exceeding 4 per cent each year for the past five years. Bacon peppered his presentation with jokes about the flourishing finances.

The University is also increasing its shared services budget, which takes care of the re-investment of monies granted to the institution as a non-profit organization. The 2017-18 shared services budget comes in at a total investment of $139.8 million, an increase of $7.6 million or 5.7 per cent over 2016-17.

As part of the Faculty Renewal section of his presentation, Bacon’s attitude dimmed. “On average over the past six years, 22 faculty members are hired per year,” he said. “That’s on the low side.”

He announced that there would be a planned faculty renewal and growth of 41 tenured stream positions in 2017-18. The noted growth came alongside an Enrollment/Undergraduate applications presentation, which documented that Queen’s was up 5 per cent in applications overall for 2017-18, with a 40 per cent leap in international student applications.

Following questions of numbers, Bacon switched gears to a less quantitative issue.

As the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force was presented — which included the striking of a new committee to implement the recommended initiatives, chaired by Bacon — there were objections heard on the floor.

Senator Jordan Morelli voiced the concern of transparency within the new committee. “We’re relying on the good faith of the provost to take these issues and implement them,” he said. “This is a provost-ial committee, not a senatorial committee.”

Bacon responded that “we’ve agreed that we would engage in discussion as to where each task force goes,” and that “there will be regular reports to Senate tracking and mapping the progress that’s been made.”

Before Senator Morelli was able to respond, Senator Kimberly Woodhouse jumped in to the conversation, saying “I think it might be helpful for Senator Morelli to understand what’s changed over the past few years.”

“When I started, your assessment was based on your annual reports. That’s it,” she said. No further discussion was had on the issue after Dean Woodhouse’s comments.

Last items of interest included the creation of a new Gender Studies PhD program for 2017-18, minor amendments to the Queen’s University Quality Assurance Processes, and a change from an August deadline to an October deadline for annual faculty/school reports.

Three major modifications were made to the national executive MBA program, approving a program being delivered to China via Tsinghua University, to have faculty at Tsinghua deliver 50 per cent of the content, and to have a greater program content focus on Finance.

All motions were passed unanimously.

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