Concordia's president: ‘With your support, we’re moving in the right direction’
Spring convocation is fast approaching. It’s an exciting time of year as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates.
It’s also a time to think about what we’ve achieved in 2017-18. Together, we’ve made tremendous progress in advancing our nine strategic directions as a next-generation university.
While it’s been exciting and eventful, we also faced challenges that we are addressing as a community.
But before I talk about these, I’d like to share some of the high points of 2017-18.
We can be proud of our ongoing gains in several prestigious national and international rankings. Our reputation as a university of choice is rising within Quebec, Canada and around the world. As a result, we welcomed more students than last year.
We continue to attract and retain exceptional researchers who are producing outstanding, internationally renowned work. We also had a record year of research funding from major granting agencies – more than $50 million.
We were one of only nine Canadian institutions to receive funding under the Canada Excellence Research Chair program (CERC). This $10-million grant is supporting a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Cities and Communities at Concordia.
We completed the transformation of the R. Howard Webster Library into a 21st-century library that offers rich, diverse cutting-edge learning environments for our students.
Thanks to significant investments from the governments of Quebec and Canada, we’ve begun the expansion of the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex on the Loyola Campus. This new science hub will support interdisciplinary collaboration and research in fields such as agriculture, health and sustainable development.
Last fall, we launched The Campaign for Concordia – the most ambitious campaign in our history. We’ve received great support from the community, reaching half of our $250 million goal.
Plus, we started work on our digital strategy for Concordia – one of the few Canadian universities to do so.
Despite the amazing work we’ve achieved, however, we’ve also had to face challenges.
For example, we launched an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct within our Creative Writing program and a climate review of the department. We created a university-wide task force that is now assessing our current environment. It will release its recommendations later this spring.
Looking ahead to 2018-19
At the May 23 Board of Governors meeting, our 2018-19 operating and capital budgets were approved.
These budgets take into account some of the changes to the funding formula for the Quebec university network. This revised model simplifies and updates the formula for establishing program revenues without negatively impacting Concordia.
The 2018-19 operating budget reflects our ongoing commitment to invest in our future. That's why we’ve set aside funds to support innovative and transformational projects under our nine strategic directions.
At the same time, we continue to invest in our physical and technological infrastructure to support our next-gen research and teaching.
We’re projecting total operating revenues of $496.9 million and total operating expenses of $498.8 million. This means we anticipate a deficit of $1.9 million. Reducing our deficit remains a key priority with the goal of presenting a balanced budget in 2019-20.
We’ve been diligent in reducing past deficits incurred as a way to deal with unexpected budget compressions, which began in 2010-11. However, despite reinvestment by the Government of Quebec, we have not yet returned to pre-2010 funding levels.
This has required us to keep our expenses below the rate of inflation experienced in the Canadian university sector. We’ve introduced other measures to address budget shortfalls while investing in our future.
It has not been easy. I’d like to thank all of you for your efforts in effectively managing your budgets and in growing our enrolment. This has allowed us to maintain our momentum as a next-generation university.
As in previous years, we’ll be holding a series of budget conversations this fall to provide more details about our operating and capital budgets.
Every year, we make remarkable progress in becoming the best university we can be. The future ahead is bright for Concordia. I believe with your ongoing support we’re moving in the right direction.