Memorial's Board of Regents approved a balanced university
budget of $186,859,000 at its July meeting in St. Anthony.
Historically, the academic component of the university budget
has provided the basis for funding Sir Wilfred Grenfell
College. Recently, as Grenfell has undergone significant
expansion, and costs have increased, a widening gap in expenditures
has resulted in a budget shortfall at the college.
Over the last few months, Grenfell College senior administrators
have worked with Trevor Troake of the university's Financial
and Administrative Services to come up with a deficit recovery
plan that would address the college's financial problems.
There is general agreement that the funding model and arrangements
for the college – put in place in the early nineties
– needed to be reviewed to determine if they are still
appropriate to the college's operations today.
According to Grenfell Principal Dr. Adrian Fowler, part
of the problem appears to be that Grenfell is quite different
from other academic units within Memorial University in
that it must support a physical plant and a substantial
administrative support staff. He said that this affects
comparisons with other academic units in the university.
“When administrative and physical plant costs are
separated out from purely academic costs, Grenfell does
well in terms of academic efficiency indicators, especially
considering that it offers science and fine arts programs,
which are inherently expensive to deliver,” said Dr.
The review will compare activities at Grenfell to those
on the St. John's Campus and also look at other institutions
with a similar mission, including some of the smaller universities
in Atlantic Canada.
“This approach is intended to ensure that Grenfell
is evaluated appropriately," said Dr. Evan Simpson,
vice-president (academic), who has jointly established the
parameters of the study with Dr. Fowler. He said the intention
is to have the study completed by the time the university’s
2003/4 budget is developed.
In the meantime, there are measures Grenfell College is
undertaking to relieve some of the pressure on its current
budget. These measures have been carefully weighed by Grenfell's
senior administration to ensure the college does not impair
its ability to provide quality programming.
“While short-term measures will not resolve our budget
problem, there are good prospects of achieving significant
savings in the current fiscal year,” said Dr. Fowler.
He pointed to initiatives such as reducing utility and postal
costs, as well as some travel expenditures. Vehicle usage
and materials and supplies are also being reviewed.
Longer-term measures provide more reason for optimism, he
said. “Revenue generation through conferences has
been increasing but there is potential for much greater
increases through the marketing of summer institutes, learning
vacations, conferences and leadership courses,” said
Dr. Fowler, adding that faculty retirements over the next
seven years will result in savings of the order of a million
“Achieving Grenfell's enrolment target of 1,500 students
will also help to eliminate the financial problem. We are,
in fact, well on our way to achieving this goal, with our
enrolment breaking 1,300 for the first time in the College’s
“I am optimistic that a full-scale enquiry into our
budget in relation to our mandate will result in a strategy
that will ensure sustainable development for Grenfell in