IPRM releases first report

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

The first report from the Integrated Planning Resource Management process has been released to Wilfrid Laurier University and the public. The resource management team report became available online on Oct. 30 and will be followed later this month by the academic priorities team and administrative priorities team reports.

The IPRM process has been in session since January 2013 and is targeted at isolating the priorities of the university and making recommendations about how to put resources toward these priorities in order to make Laurier a more focused institution.

The role of the RMT was to select a new budget model for the university.

Kim Morouney, co-chair of the planning task force, explained that it wasn’t planned to have the RMT report be done before the prioritization team reports.

“The RMT report was done a little bit early and we thought, ‘Let’s get that out to the community so people can read it, get their minds around a new budget model and what that might look like, what that might mean for Laurier,’” she continued.

The report recommended that Laurier move from its current incremental budgeting approach to a version of a responsibility-centre approach.

This model will allow for the money coming into the university to be divided — a base amount from tuition will go toward courses that students are required to take in order to excel in their discipline.

Another portion will “follow the students.”

This means money will be allocated to programs according to things such as their attrition rates and how popular their courses are.

“Geography is teaching a huge number of undergraduate students — shouldn’t that be taken into account when we’re funding geography?” Morouney said, as an example.

Accordingly, geography would receive funding to help make their courses better because many students take geography electives.

The RMT report will be brought to the Senate on Nov. 26, who will provide comments to be given to the Board of Governors.

The prioritization reports will be sent together to the Senate and the board on Nov. 27, after which they will become available to the public.

The role of the PTF has been to tie the material from the three teams’ reports together.

As a first step, they have provided an introduction to the RMT report, giving background about the PTF and recommendations in regards to the report.

Eventually, this will be expanded to frame all three reports.

At the beginning of the process, Morouney explained they assumed the PTF would be receiving data from the academic and administrative priorities teams and would be in charge of writing the reports.

But each of the teams ended up writing the reports, transforming the PTF’s role.

“Now at the end I feel more comfortable about our role [which] is to look at all of these things, ask questions and then think about ‘now what,’” Morouney said.

“So really we’ve done more work along the ‘now what’ line than I thought we were going to do.”

Many of the questions that have been associated with the RMT report so far have been in regard to how the recommendations of the PTF will be implemented.

Taking these into consideration, they added to the frequently asked questions section of the report as well as clarified in their recommendations how the budget model could be implemented.

“The PTF isn’t going in and redoing any of the analysis for the prioritization,” explained Mary-Louise Byrne, co-chair of the PTF.

“Those teams were very comprehensive in their work. So we’re not opening that up and redoing it. But we’re synthesizing — okay, well what does this mean for the institution, how do we go forward from here, how should this be implemented.”

Morouney and Byrne anticipated that all reports will have reached the board by the end of January or early February.

However, it’s difficult to estimate when changes will occur.

“Any academic changes have to go back through Senate to be implemented,” said Moroueny.

“For the academic stuff there’s always going to be a grandfathering. For admin programs there’s never going to be one answer to that question, because we’ve got such a huge variety of admin programs.”

In addition, the new budget model won’t instantly change over.

“They’re not going to make a drastic change. The budget changes are going to take 18 months to two years anyway,” Morouney said.

Town Halls will be held in Brantford and Waterloo at the beginning of December to present material to the Laurier community and answer questions.

“We think the direction that we’re moving in is making Laurier a more effective place,” said Morouney.

“Ultimately we think that by making changes that are focused on efficiency and effectiveness Laurier is going to be better known and attract strong students and add to our reputation.”

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