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Western University is well positioned to invest more deeply in its academic and research mission, as demonstrated by its 2021-2022 budget.
“This budget helps us deepen our engagement with the world – locally and globally – as we foster an environment where people can thrive, create, collaborate, make a difference,” said the President of the West Alan Shepard. “It is also investing in renewing and intensifying the superior student experience for which Western is known.”
The university continued to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Shepard said. “And this budget paves the way for a renewed vision that will outlast today’s challenges. “
The pandemic prompted a series of emergency measures in last year’s budget to bolster support for students and ensure the stability of the university amid global uncertainty. Although this is the second of Western’s pandemic budgets, it is squarely focused on the future.
“With this spending plan, we are connecting the dots to link our strategic investments to excellence in research, teaching and the overall educational experience of students,” said Shepard.
Approved on April 22 by the university’s board of governors, the budget sets base and one-time spending at $ 829 million, with capital spending at $ 153 million.
Renewal of faculty and staff
The budget supports the addition of 94 new faculty members, including 77 permanent / probationary and 17 of limited duration. The appointments of professors will take place in all faculties and will give priority to scholarship and research activities as well as new initiatives, including interdisciplinary work.
It also supports the addition of over 140 staff across numerous faculties and units to support the student experience and the academic and research goals of the university.
Improve the student experience
Hundreds of students will benefit from increased financial support for undergraduate summer research internships and teaching support internships. There will be considerable additional investment in academic counseling, as well as work-integrated learning opportunities.
Western is pushing to remove barriers to student success, with more accessibility supports for people with disabilities and a new Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).
New facilities aimed at promoting student health and wellness will include a new university assembly center and a year-round multi-sport sports complex offering indoor recreation space.
Scholarship and research
Western is investing $ 15 million in an endowment fund to support academic priorities in all disciplines. A postdoctoral fellowship program will develop as part of a strategy to attract and retain top national and international talent.
The Western Research Chairs program will see additional capacity and high profile nominations contributing to the strategic research objectives of the university.
Supported by one-time funding of $ 6 million, a new clinical research platform will enable affordable and creative approaches to randomized studies and provide comprehensive support to Western researchers, including methodological expertise, data capabilities and streamlined ethics review processes.
An interdisciplinary focus in all academic activities continues to be a high priority so that students from a range of studies can use their collective and individual strengths to solve pressing local and global issues.
To complement a revival of the Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives (IDRI) program, the university will fund Interdisciplinary Curriculum Initiatives (IDCI). Under the direction of the Rector, IDCI will provide faculty members with time dedicated to the design of interdisciplinary study programs in all courses and programs.
The Teaching and Learning Center will house an EDI Pathways program, as the university takes a systematic approach to institutionalized equity goals. Instructors will be provided with additional EDI knowledge and resources so they can make program changes and improve student experiences. Additional investments will support the indigenization of the university program.
A sustainable future
Significant investments will support greater environmental responsibility, including $ 10 million to support campus-wide sustainability initiatives and a new $ 1 million green innovation fund.
Deep and ongoing energy renovations that redesign existing buildings to make them more efficient will help reduce Western’s carbon footprint as it strives to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Transform the campus
From a net zero energy space for budding entrepreneurs to an Indigenous learning center, building plans for the coming year will help transform the campus into a more sustainable and inclusive place.
As part of the university’s open spaces strategy, the budget supports projects to create a safer and more pedestrian-friendly campus, as well as significant improvements to outdoor and gathering areas.
Implement strategic priorities
After months of consultations, the new strategic plan is due to be presented to the Senate and the Board of Governors this spring. This year’s budget provides for an investment of $ 20 million to begin implementing some of the strategic priorities. Additional investments have been made to support Western’s upcoming fundraising campaign and to improve the university’s core communications function.
“Over the past year, I have witnessed tremendous effort from all corners of the campus, colleagues working together to further our teaching and research mission, support our students, and prioritize health and safety. of our community, ”Shepard said. “We know the pandemic will end, and this budget, along with the strategic plan, will chart a solid course for our future. “