Oct. 18, 2023

Campus insight sought for UCalgary budget consultations

Video message hosted by UCalgary president explains budget planning, and seeks feedback
President McCauley

It’s budget time, and the University of Calgary is asking you to invest in our future with ideas and input, gathered through an online survey.

Starting with a video message led by UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley, this year’s university budget process isn’t anchored by the traditional meeting, but rather a request to the entire campus community for insight and suggestions for the future.

“For the first time, we’re opening (UCalgary’s budget process) with a video, not a meeting, so more members of the community can get involved and have their say,” says President McCauley.

“We need your ideas and your feedback about how we can best align our resources to make UCalgary even better.”

Short online survey

The one-month campus consultation, centred upon the online survey, comes after a few difficult years dealing with the pandemic, reduced provincial funding and inflation.

“We’ve persevered by reducing costs, shifting funds to our highest priorities and embracing innovative approaches to teaching and learning that ensure the best student experience possible,” says McCauley.

The 2023-24 consolidated budget stands at $1.627 billion, with the largest single funding source being the $388.9 million provincial base operating grant.

A chance to understand

UCalgary’s Interim Provost & Vice-President (Academic) Penny Werthner says the online survey is a chance to help the university understand areas of need and priority.

“With this consultation period, we can hear from you about areas requiring additional support, take the time needed to develop a list of investments in strategic priorities, and have a more informed understanding of revenue and expenses expected in the upcoming year,” says Werthner.

Looking to the future

She says the consultation comes as the university looks to the future through its new strategic plan, Ahead of Tomorrow, which sets a bold and ambitious direction for the university between now and 2030.

Plans include a new multidisciplinary science hub, construction of a new building at the Spy Hill Campus, as well as maintaining existing campus infrastructure.

“Thanks to enrolment expansion funding from the provincial government, we’ve welcomed 869 additional students to our campus community, and to continue providing the best possible experience, maintaining our campus infrastructure is crucial,” she says.

“We will allocate funds for necessary renovations, maintenance, and technology upgrades to provide a safe, modern, and conducive learning environment.”

Budget priorities

Budget priorities remain focused on students, postdocs, faculty, and staff, with financial, human, and capital resource allocation based on academic and research priorities.

“Most of the budget will go toward academic programs, faculty salaries, and research initiatives to ensure we provide a world-class education to our students,” says Vice-President (Finance) and Chief Financial Officer Ron Kim.

“Our budget is not merely about the numbers, it’s a plan to support the mission, values, and strategies outlined in our new strategy, Ahead of Tomorrow,” he says.

 “We will undertake close to half a billion dollars of research in 2023-2024 that will result in new discoveries that will change our world.”

Challenges ahead

Kim says a major change to the budget process is incorporating a longer-term horizon that will cover a three-year period, including next year’s budget and an additional two-year outlook.

A major challenge going forward is inflation. “However, by building relationships with donors, alumni, and external partners, we hope to continue to diversify our revenue streams and secure the resources needed for the university’s growth and success.”

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