>Engaging the campus community...

Feedback Summary

Since the middle of April, I have been meeting with colleagues across campus. As I listen to the concerns, issues and ideas that are being raised, themes are emerging for me in a number of key areas of university activities - including communication, budget process, research and research funding allocations, and governance of the institution. The following is a high level overview of some of this feedback:

Resource Allocations

  • Concerns have been raised about how resources are allocated to graduate students and international students.
  • Faculty and staff numbers are declining at a time when undergraduate enrolment is rising; pressure is mounting to expand graduate enrolment and to increase research performance.
  • The overarching message is do more with less but how do you achieve global excellence with diminishing resources?
  • The budget is seen to be too complex, poorly or inconsistently communicated, not well understood, not supportive or sensitive to the priorities of a comprehensive university and created with an insufficient degree of consultation.
  • The budget is a barrier to interdisciplinary teaching and research, rather than a means to facilitate and encourage collaboration among different academic units.
  • Selective investment is creating dissonance and creating “haves" and "have nots";  you can’t be all things to all people and allocate resources on a differentiated basis.
  • The budget model is failing to take into account staffing needs.

To learn more about the current budget model, processes, timelines and consultations, please visit the 2015-16 Budget website.


  • The strategy of "selective investment in areas of strength” is alienating some segments of campus, resulting in a perception of “winners” and “losers”.
  • More internal money is needed to bridge gaps in external funding, especially for areas that require smaller amounts of funding.
  • Questions have been raised about how research is measured and valued at Western.
  • One size does not fit all - greater recognition and support is required for all research, not just those who obtain outside grants and who commercialize.
  • Those whose strengths and contributions may be in areas other than research (e.g., teaching, musical performance, coaching, athletics) feel that such areas are undervalued by central administration.


  • More engagement from the Board and a better understanding of the academic culture at Western would be welcomed.
  • The University Senate is not seen to be structured/ powered to effect substantive change.
  • The role of the president, in particular, and senior administration in general is not well understood.

Learn more about current policies and procedures of the Senate and the Board of Governors.


  • Senior administration should communicate better, more frequently and openly on topics of substance and engage more people, using multiple channels
  • The President and Vice-Presidents are not visible enough in our community
  • Decision-making is too top-down, insulated from the challenges faced by grass-roots members of the campus community, with insufficient or ineffective channels for feedback and consultation
  • We need to rebuild trust and internal relationships, as well as welcome dialogue and be open to divergent thinking.


  • Concerns are expressed regarding levels of staffing and workload in the face of constrained resources.
  • There is a need to examine practices and timelines around recruitment, staffing, position evaluations and related compensation, and implementing process changes.
  • The work of staff needs to be more visible to and appreciated by senior administration.