Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 10, 2006

Promised Support for Quality Improvement Confirmed

The provincial government today confirmed that the University of Guelph will receive $5 million in “quality improvement” funding promised the 2005 Ontario budget.

“Quality of education is important, so we took a leap of faith last year, hiring faculty and staff on the basis that support would be forthcoming,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “With greatest respect, we are very pleased with the new funding, but had we not received it, we would have been looking at reductions in faculty and further reductions in staff.”

Summerlee warned that universities are still under tight pressure to cover rising costs in electrical bills, salaries and benefits. He said that despite this announcement, all units will need to reduce their annual budget plans by two per cent as a contribution towards the university’s inflationary costs. He added that after many years of underfunding, U of G still needs monies to appoint an additional 110 faculty and the same number of staff to bring the university to the national average.

Last year, the provincial government said it would provide new money for quality improvement following the release of Bob Rae’s review of higher education, but specific amounts for each university were not revealed. U of G estimated that it would receive about $5 million for quality improvement and included that amount in its 2005/2006 operating budget, which had to be presented to the Board of Governors last April before the funding was confirmed.

“We listened carefully to the signals the government has been sending since the Rae review, and using this information, our staff did an excellent job of making budget assumptions and in predicting additional revenues for 2005/2006,” Summerlee said. “Today’s announcement shows that our assumptions were correct.”

The bulk of Guelph’s $5 million in quality improvement funding has gone to support the new faculty and staff hires in 2005/2006. The money is also supporting educational resources such as library acquisitions and extended hours of operation, a media centre in the College of Arts, additional co-op educational opportunities, and classroom teaching support.

In all, Ontario universities will receive $124 million from the Quality Improvement Fund for 2005/2006. To qualify for the money, universities must sign accountability agreements that spell out the improvements to be made and the results to be achieved. “The Quality Improvement Fund is part of the McGuinty government’s plan to invest $6.2 billion in Ontario’s post-secondary system to ensure that our students get the very best education possible,” said Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph-Wellington. “I am pleased that this $5 million will provide the University of Guelph with additional support.”

U of G also expects to receive quality improvement funding that will be included in its preliminary 2006/2007 Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities budget, which is currently being developed. As in previous years, there is still much uncertainty about prospective government revenues, Summerlee said. A series of public meetings about the budget are planned in the next three months, and a complete schedule, along with the preliminary budget assumptions, is available online.

The provincial government also announced this week that it’s investing more than $10 million this year to help postsecondary institutions improve access to opportunities for francophone, disabled, first-generation and Aboriginal students. “We are very pleased by this news, as it was one of the recommendations that was made by our Presidential Task Force on Accessibility,” Summerlee said.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

Email this entry to:

Message (optional):

Powered by FeedBlitz