Happy holidays

As the calendar year comes to a close, we want to thank all of the university community for their effort and commitment this year. We encourage you to take the time provided to you over the holiday season to spend time with loved ones, as we will be doing the same. We hope this time is both restful and restorative for you. As we look forward to the new year, we can appreciate that this will be a time of change for all on our campus and the renewed energy a holiday away from work can bring will be beneficial as we continue through this transformative period.

Over the holiday season we will not be providing any further updates on TransformUS until the new year and we will not be monitoring comments/questions over this period. And although online options for feedback and questions will remain open, we will not be responding until the new year. In early January, the president has two town halls planned – January 8 and 9 from noon to 1 pm in Convocation Hall. There is an additional town hall for students only on January 15 from noon to 1 pm in Graduate Student Commons. We look forward to connecting with you in the new year.

Best wishes for you and your family over the holidays!

Greg and Brett

What is on our minds as we read the TransformUS taskforce reports?

What is on our minds as we read the TransformUS taskforce reports?

Members of senior admin are dedicated to the good of the whole university.  That’s what always is and must be forefront in our thinking.

We are dedicated to change and improvement.  We believe in a university that is continually changing, in intentional ways, and striving to become better in all that the university does.  We know this sometimes means stopping doing some things.

So because of those personal and professional commitments, we are very interested in the taskforce recommendations.  We are looking to consider them seriously, and our bias is towards action. Continue reading

Why we are undertaking TransformUS

One of the things that is very much on our minds concerns why the university is doing TransformUS.

TransformUS is one of seven strategies we are following to bring the university’s budget into sustainable balance.

At root, the issue is clear and simple: as a university we need to live within our means.

We have entered a post-secondary environment where 2% funding increases from government are likely the most we can expect in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile our costs have been growing by more like 5% pretty much every year for the last decade. A gap of a few percent may not sound like much, but on a $400-500 million operating budget (growing over the years) it amounts to a lot of money.  And these shortfalls will be additive: roughly $10 million in year one, $20 million in year two, and so on. We have presented the more exact projections in town halls and on the finances website. The result would be a $44.5 million gap by 2016 – a growing deficit if no action were taken. Continue reading

What’s on your mind?

Hi!  As co-champions for TransformUS, the two of us are launching this periodic blog to provide relevant and timely updates about the university’s prioritization and finances. We also want to create opportunity for direct discussion by members of the U of S community with us and with each other.

As a reminder to those who might not know us, Brett Fairbairn is Provost and Vice-President Academic, and as such is responsible for university academic and planning processes, including the alignment of university resources with our priorities, as well as for students, faculty, and academic programs.  Greg Fowler is Vice-President Finance and Resources, in which role he is responsible for the stewardship of the university’s staff, finances, buildings, and administrative processes. Together with PCIP (the provost’s committee on integrated planning) we will be responsible for developing an implementation plan resulting from TransformUS. Continue reading

TransformUS reports now available

To access the reports, please select the “Task force reports” option from the main menu of the TransformUS website

Members of the campus community,

The TransformUS task force reports are now available online at transformus.usask.ca, officially concluding the role of the task forces in the TransformUS process. I am impressed, as I am sure you will be, with the time, effort and careful consideration the task forces placed on their role in this process. I cannot thank the members of the task forces enough for their dedication to our university.

Each task force completed its report independently of the other, placing all academic programs and academic and administrative support services into one of five quintiles, ranging from candidate for enhanced resourcing to candidate(s) for phase/phasing out, subject to further review. For a description of the quintiles please see the TransformUS website. The task forces estimate that approximately 60 per cent of programs and services resources have been prioritized in categories that may indicate reduced resources, reconfiguration or elimination. The university requires $20-25 million in permanent savings, or approximately five per cent of our total operating budget from this process to address our projected deficit of $44.5 million by 2016. As such, the task force reports and recommendations are one important element informing the final decisions we make, although not the only element.

Today begins eight weeks of listening, by myself and other senior leaders, to the campus community in the consultation and feedback phase of the process. We encourage you to provide your feedback and reactions to the task force recommendations – information we can use to better inform the decisions we make. Continue reading