The Laurentian University Board of Governors today approved the University’s 2016-2017 operating budget of $150.5 million, an increase of $2.7 million or 1.8% over last year.
New investments will support international accreditation in the Faculty of Management, the expansion of the School of Architecture, graduate programs, bilingual engineering programs, enhancements to Research Services, and to the University’s web presence and digital strategy.
More faculty members were recruited, including four new research chairs in Earth Sciences, Franco-Ontarian History, Indigenous Health, and Bio-Mining, Bio-Remediation and Science Communication.
The University is completing major capital projects including the new School of Architecture, improvements to labs in the Faculty of Health and to student areas in the Alphonse-Raymond Building, an Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre and one-stop student services. Since 2011, Laurentian will have completed $153 million in capital investments.
“We are making strategic investments that will keep us on a steady course in the years ahead,” said Vice-President, Administration Carol McAulay. “We have worked to create room for future success, while being mindful of demographic trends of the university-age population.”
Ontario universities are preparing for a projected decrease of 9% in the 20- to 24-year old population by 2023. Over the same period, Ontario’s 25- to 44-year old population is expected to increase by 10%. Faced with this shifting demography, Laurentian has been adapting its program offering and enhanced its focus on student retention.
“There is no substitute for excellence. For a fifth consecutive year, we have the highest post-graduation employment rates among Ontario universities. The Faculty of Management secured international accreditations this week. Students from our new School of Architecture are already winning global competitions, as they did last month in Norway. Our average entry grade has risen from 79% to 82% since 2009, and the number of students entering Laurentian with an average of more than 85% has nearly doubled. Our Tri-Council funding has increased by 22% since 2009, while it has been stagnant nationally. With this approved budget, we have made a number of difficult choices in order to achieve the important outcomes articulated in our 2012-2017 Strategic Plan”, concluded Dominic Giroux, President and Vice-Chancellor.
Other budget highlights:
· Investments up 4% in academic areas, 1.5% in academic supports and 1.4% in non-academic areas
· Seven additional faculty positions
· Non-salary budget of the award-winning Bharti School of Engineering will double
· $335,000 more in Research Services to help advance the 2012-17 Strategic Research Plan
· $238,000 more to enhance web presence and digital strategy
· $187,000 more in Graduate Studies to support graduate expansion