Members of the Concordia community are invited to participate in a series of conversations on the significant cut to the university’s operating grant for this fiscal year, which the Government of Quebec announced recently, along with reductions to funding for research granting agencies.
Lisa Ostiguy, interim provost and vice-president, academic affairs, and Patrick Kelley, chief financial officer, will host the sessions in January. The ideas and feedback generated from these conversations will inform a plan of action that will be considered by the Board of Governors.
The university received confirmation by the government on December 11 that Concordia’s operating grant will be cut by $13.2 million in its current fiscal year, which ends April 30, 2013. The government has not provided detailed funding figures for 2013-14, but the university has received indications that its operating grant for that fiscal year will not reach the levels expected before this year’s cuts. Funding reductions at Quebec's granting agencies could also affect Concordia’s research activities.
“We are deeply disappointed about the timing and extent of this unprecedented retroactive cut to our operating grant with just four months left in our fiscal year,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “Meeting this government directive on such short notice is essentially impossible, and we will have to recommend a deficit to our board for the current year. The question remains as to the size of this deficit. In addition, managing the projected revenue loss for 2013-14 will require substantial adjustments to our expenditures across the university.”
"The global context for higher education is evolving rapidly and it is imperative that we continue to advance Concordia's academic and research mission by being highly strategic in our use of funding," adds Shepard. "I believe that a meticulous approach to meeting these funding challenges will best allow us to build on our university's achievements in teaching, research and community engagement.”
“Protecting the quality of our programs and services to students is our priority,” says Ostiguy. “It is also important to ensure that university research has the support needed to fulfill its vital role in the advancement of our society.”
Conversations being held in January
From January 7 to 14, Ostiguy and Kelley will meet with School and Faculty Councils and host conversations for the university community. To facilitate the opportunity for community exchanges, being held on January 14, the sessions will be kept small, so people are encouraged to pre-register. Registration opens January 9. Details will be shared in the January 9 NOW e-newsletter for faculty and staff and the January 10 NOW e-newsletter for students.
In addition, Senate will have an opportunity to discuss the issue fully at its January 18 meeting, in preparation for the subsequent submission of a plan of action to the Board of Governors.
“We manage our financial resources prudently and had balanced budgets for the past three years. We also had planned for balanced budgets in this fiscal year and the next one, so the operating grant cut will definitely have an impact on our ability to meet our financial goals,” says Kelley.
Mid-February summit on education
Issues of university funding and accessibility will be central to discussions at the Government of Quebec's mid-February summit on education. Concordia will continue to participate in preparations for the summit.
“A financially sound and sustainable university network is vital to the well-being of all of Quebec,” says Shepard. “I will continue to advocate, along with my counterparts at other universities, for funding levels that adequately support the long-term development of our institutions of higher learning and their research activities.”
Concordians can keep informed of developments through the News and Events section on Concordia’s website, the NOW e-newsletter and MyConcordia portal landing pages.
• Office of the Provost
• Chief Financial Officer