Investing in Bishop's
The topic of our deficit and funding problems in general have been a common theme on campus over the past year. There was some hope that the Provincial budget would be kind to higher education but, as you are well aware, Quebec universities were virtually ignored in March’s Provincial budget. Quebec universities continue to face underfunding of at least $375 million each year. For Bishop’s that represents $3.75 million per year. Despite our best efforts to balance the budget, Bishop’s will run a structural deficit this year, and for the next few years.
The University is not standing still. We continue to pay close attention to our expenditures, but we must also pursue an agenda of transformation. At the March meeting of the Finance Committee (of Corporation) a request by the Senate Planning Committee to hire an additional five and a half (one joint appointment with Université de Sherbrooke) tenure-stream faculty positions was approved -- to help maintain our commitment to excellence in the classroom and close interaction between faculty and students. There was unanimity among Committee members that the University must evolve, and our community trustees expressed faith in our institutional capability to move forward with a plan. A transformational agenda may lead to future growth in specific areas of the University, but simple, uncontrolled growth is not an answer to our fiscal challenges.
The decision was preceded by a presentation by the four academic deans and the Chairperson of the School of Education on strategies their respective Division/School have conceived that might lead to new or increased revenue. Their ideas are part of the campus-wide strategic planning process. Although hard dollar figures were not discussed, members of the Finance Committee recognized that the Bishop’s community is coming together to develop a vision and strategic plan which will position Bishop’s as a leader among Canadian universities.
Given the current fiscal climate, this move should be viewed as both bold and encouraging. Bold because other universities in Quebec are looking for ways to cut back the number of faculty positions given their fiscal restraints. High quality teaching and close interaction between students and professors are hallmarks of a Bishop’s experience – we need to continue investing in faculty to maintain this reality. Encouraging because this sends a message that Bishop's is committed to tackling our financial situation in a positive way. A deficit is not good news, but it can be viewed as an opportunity. If coupled with a plan a deficit becomes an investment strategy. Together, we will develop a plan to ensure a successful future for Bishop’s University.
For the first time in many years the Bishop’s University Convocation Ceremony will take place outside, rain or shine, at Coulter Field Football Stadium on Saturday, June 10, 2006.
Last year's attendance at Convocation (in the gym) was far above the permissible limit according to the City of Sherbrooke’s fire and safety regulations. We had to choose: find another venue or hold two ceremonies.
The SRC, along with our Facilities Department, were consulted. Convocation is a special day for the graduating students and their families, so it was important to give strong consideration to the views of our students. The only other inside location, the arena, was considered but eventually rejected.
The SRC was firm that students wanted only one ceremony. The choice was either the Quad or Coulter Field. For logistical reasons, the stadium is a better location. Weather permitting the garden reception following Convocation will take place in the Quad.
It is worth noting that neighbouring institutions such as Middlebury College (Vermont) and Dartmouth College (New Hampshire) have been holding their Convocations outside for a long time, rain or shine.
The Convocation Schedule is available on the web site. I look forward to seeing many of you on June 10th.
Smoking Policy Changes
The implementation of the new Quebec Tobacco Act will have significant impact on the Bishop’s campus. Beginning May 31st, in addition to completely prohibiting smoking within University buildings, the law stipulates that no smoking will be permitted within 9 metres (approximately 30ft) of any exterior door leading to a University building.
As a result, the Facilities Department will be relocating the cigarette butt-stops to locations outside of this 9 metre limit and new signage will be put up. Doolittle’s will no longer be permitted to sell cigarettes. The University Health Services will be offering smoking cessation classes this Spring and Fall to all members of the Bishop’s community. The Environment & Land Use Committee and Health and Safety Committee have also addressed this issue. The University Smoking Policy will be updated to reflect these changes.
Thank you in advance for complying with the new provincial regulations.
Bishop’s and Champlain College co-hosted the Bell Expo Science last month, bringing many of the top high school science students in the region to campus. This was the first time Bishop’s has hosted the event and from all reports it was a great success. Many thanks to a number of Bishop’s faculty and staff for the important role they played in this excellent project including: Dr. Aris, Marcia Boisvert, Dr. Chamoux, Patrick Dubois, Prof. Fournier, Dr. Huard (co-president of the Bell Expo Science), Prof. Jaffer, Annie Lavariere, Dan Major, Prof. Merovitz, Dr. Nelson, Hans Rouleau and Dr. Stephan.
Within the past month both the SRC and Athletics held their respective awards ceremonies to honour achievements from this year. Both events were excellent reminders that Bishop’s is full of truly outstanding students.
The Bishop’s Model UN team came back from New York City in early February with a “Distinguished Delegation Award”. This award placed Bishop’s among the top 25 university teams (out of 240 worldwide) at this year’s competition. The students from Professor Hogg’s United Nations Practicum (POL352) class certainly made Bishop’s and Uruguay (the country they represented) proud!
And finally…the Staff All-Star hockey team had a successful first season. They competed against the BCS staff, local oldtimer teams, an intramural all-star team and the Polar Bears. The season ended with an impressive record of 4 & 1. Apparently the team is fundraising to buy Al Ansell new goalie equipment so that he can stop pucks. They plan to field a team in 2006-07 and encourage prospects to get in shape over the summer. The Staff All-Stars have also issued a challenge to Faculty for next year - either hockey or broomball.
News from the Research Office
We are pleased to announce that three Bishop’s professors have received research grants from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture amounting to over $100,000!
Dr. Sophie Boyer, Chair of the German section of the Modern Languages department, received a grant of $37,004 for her project entitled “Crime and Sexuality in German Literature from 1900 to 1933”. Dr. Boyer’s research explores the different meeting points of crime and sexuality in German literature from 1900 to 1933, a period in which crime literature depicting sexual violence flourished.
Dr. Cristian Berco, in the Department of History, received a grant of $34,526 for his project “Disease, Hospital, and Beyond: Syphilis and Society in Early Modern Toledo”. He will investigate how syphilis impacted the city of Toledo, by looking not only at patients but also at how families and the community managed and responded to this disease. The implications of syphilis went well beyond hospital treatment and care to encompass local politics, economics, and social networks.
Dr. Susan Reid in the Williams School of Business has been awarded a grant of $39,600 for her project entitled “Technology Vision and Market Vision: Wave Impact on Early Firm Performance in the Case of Radical Innovation”. Her research expands on work she undertook for her Ph.D. dissertation, exploring the concepts of technology vision and market vision. The former, technology vision, is a mental image that organizational members have for how to develop a new technology, and the latter, market vision, is a mental image that organizational members have of a desired and important market for that new technology.
Each summer season brings a new round of construction/renovations to the Bishop’s campus. This year is no different. A number of projects are planned:
Johnson Quad entrance: A new entrance to Johnson will be built this summer, replacing the existing structure.
Heating Tunnel: Work will begin shortly on construction of a new steam tunnel, between the Power House and Mackinnon. The concrete tunnel will have an inside dimension of 4’ 6” x 4’ 6” and will provide an access between the Power House, Centennial Theatre and Mackinnon for future installations such as power and IT connections. As part of the tunnel project, an outdoor auditorium will be constructed in the area between the Student Centre, Mackinnon and the soccer field. This project will be completed by mid August.
Observatory: A new 16’ 6” telescope observatory dome will be installed on top of the Nicolls Building, next to the existing rooftop mechanical room. Funding for this project comes from the last Capital Campaign and the project should be completed for September.
Modification to the Facilities Garage: The existing garage opposite the Power House will be modified to contain 5 offices, a meeting room and archive storage for the Facilities Department. This project will start in May and should be completed by July.
Panda Daycare: Negotiations are almost complete to build an addition to the existing Panda Daycare facility. This would increase the number of “Bishop’s related” reserved spots from 10 to 50. The addition will be a partnership between the University and a community partner and will be managed by the current operator. The target completion date is September 1st.
New web-based calendar of events!
Please visit our new web tool.