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Laurentian balances budget for seventh straight year

2017-18 budget will see a $5.4 million increase
The Laurentian University board of governors unanimously approved the university’s 2017-2018 operating budget of $155.9 million on June 23, an increase of $5.4 million, or 3.6 per cent over last year. (File)

The Laurentian University board of governors unanimously approved the university’s 2017-2018 operating budget of $155.9 million on June 23, an increase of $5.4 million, or 3.6 per cent over last year.

The Sudbury campus will have 28 more full-time faculty in 14 departments: 11 new positions and a further 17 transferring from Barrie. 

This includes three new reseach chairs in Metallogeny, Exploration Targeting and Sustainable Northern Economic Development. New masters’ programs are being introduced in Architecture and in Science Communication, along with new criminology and expanded bilingual engineering programs. 

The 60,000-square-foot Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building will open in 2018, as will a new Student Centre in 2019.

New investments include a boost of 21 per cent towards information technology, 22 per cent more in research and a 16-per-cent increase in graduate studies. The Schools of Nursing, Social Work, Indigenous Relations and the McEwen School of Architecture will see double-digit-percentage increases to their budgets. 

The university will also increase spending in deferred maintenance, student mental health, library acquisitions and supports for international students.

“We’ve had some tough conversations this year, not only because of budget pressures, but also due to the changing conditions of academic programs and the idea of designing an organization that meets the current and future needs of our students,” said Carol McAulay, vice-president, administration. 

Laurentian is in the process of developing its new 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, which will inform future budget decisions. 

The university’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan is wrapping up. The school said the process led to the following outcomes: 

  • More than $200 million in capital investments including significant campus modernization;
  • The McEwen School of Architecture;
  • A new student residence;
  • A new Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre;
  • An Executive Learning Centre;
  • A University Club;
  • A Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Lab, and; 
  • Improved food services. 

The university has seen the creation of the Centre for Academic Excellence and of the Goodman School of Mines, the addition of Varsity Hockey and much more.

By the numbers:

  • Revenues and expenditures up $5.4 million or 3.6% compared with the approved 2016-2017 budget;
  • 28 more full-time faculty on the Sudbury campus;
  • $870,000 or 21% more in Information Technology;
  • $725,000 or 13% more in the School of Nursing;
  • $586,000 or 22% more in Research, including $261,000 for the new Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building;
  • $484,000 or 16% more in Graduate Studies;
  • $468,000 or 12% more in the Schools of Social Work and Indigenous Relations;
  • $374,000 more to support students relocating from Barrie;
  • $325,000 or 29% more in Deferred Maintenance to honour Board policy;
  • $287,000 more in the McEwen School of Architecture;
  • $230,000 more in Security;
  • $190,000 more in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights;
  • $180,000 for student retention strategy;
  • $167,000 more for mental health;
  • $150,000 in the next two years to ensure the successful validation and launch of 2018-23 Strategic Plan;
  • 25% of incremental international revenues to be re-invested in international student recruitment and support;
  • Ongoing investment of 1% of payroll for professional development; and
  • Ongoing investment of 1.5% of operating revenues for deferred maintenance.