University invests in research, technology & graduate expansion

2015-16 marks fifth consecutive year of balanced budgets at Laurentian

JUNE 19, 2015 Laurentian University’s Board of Governors today approved a 2015-2016 operating budget of $147.7 million, marking the fifth consecutive year the University has achieved a balanced budget. The budget represents a $7 million increase over last year to fund key areas of priority for the University in capital projects, research, student services, graduate studies and information technology.

 

Budget highlights include:

  • A 42% increase in the budget of the University’s Office of Research Services in 2015-16 that will allow the university to facilitate grant preparation and establish a new online data management system to support research efforts.  Laurentian will also increase support to innovation and the management of intellectual property. “We are strengthening our support for research activities in all disciplines, through the Tri-council leaders program and through strategic matching funds for major grant applications,” said Laurentian University’s Vice-President, Research, Dr. Rui Wang.
  • The budget also provides for increased investments of 12% in graduate studies to support enrolment expansion from 589 students in 2014-15 to 859 in 2018-19.  “We will continue to expand our reach and enhance opportunities in graduate studies,” said Acting Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dr. David Lesbarrères. Programs to be expanded include Master’s programs in Architecture, Geology, Biology and Orthophonie, and PhD programs in Boreal Ecology, Rural and Northern Health, Natural Resource Engineering, and Mineral Deposit Geology, among others.
  • An increased investment in information technology to ensure a progressive IT infrastructure now and for the future.  Improvements consist of higher-speed and robust networking, dense high-speed wireless, an institutional record management system, wireless classroom audio visual and continuation of administrative automation.  These and other upgrades will create a better student and faculty experience. The University’s investments in information technology will increase by 12% in 2015-16, a 70% increase over the past four years.
  • Investments in student services will also increase by 14% in 2015-16. Laurentian will again support continuous learning for its staff with the equivalent of 1% of salaries set aside for professional development. 
  • The 2016 completion of a $115.5 million physical transformation of the Sudbury campus with the renewal of 34 classrooms and five labs, the addition of an Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, a University Club, an Executive Learning Centre, a world-class Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research lab, improved food services, new one-stop student services, renovations to the Single Student Residence, the new School of Architecture, and increased investments in deferred maintenance projects.

 

“In recent years, we have built a solid foundation to support the university’s aspirations,” said Laurentian University President and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Giroux.  “We are well-positioned to move forward with a balanced and strategically-focused growth plan that responds to the needs of the communities we serve today and in the future.”

 

This marks the ninth consecutive year of declining per-student provincial funding at Laurentian. For the first time, provincial grants constitute less than half of the University’s overall revenues. The Board’s unanimous approval followed a series of seventeen consultation sessions held in April with the Laurentian community in Sudbury and Barrie.

 

For more information about the University or its 2012-2017 Strategic Plan endorsed in a Globe and Mail editorial as “an excellent strategy”, please visit www.laurentian.ca.

 

Summary:

  • 2015-16 budget of $147.7 million, up $7 million over last year;
  • Budget balanced for fifth consecutive year, despite nine consecutive years of declining per-student provincial funding. For the first time, provincial grants constitute less than half of the University’s revenues;
  • Budget increases in 2015-2016 of 42% in the Office of Research Services, 14% in Student Services, 12% in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, 12% in Information Technology;
  • $115.5 million of capital transformation to be completed in Sudbury in 2016;
  • 1% of staff payroll allocated annually to professional development and training;
  • Establishment of a $1 million sustainability green fund: projects will be solicited from university community with main criteria being positive environmental impact and financial payback;
  • Balanced six-year forecast. During that period, major investments planned in deferred maintenance, graduate studies, research, the library and the Faculty of Management to support its international AACSB accreditation.