Western’s spending commitment in the coming budget year includes significant investment in enrolment growth, faculty and staff expansion, EDI initiatives, research and infrastructure, as the university builds on the momentum to fulfill priorities outlined in its strategic plan.
“Together, we have made substantial strides this past year in the pursuit of our strategic priorities, and now the work continues,” said President Alan Shepard. “We can confidently say we are working Towards Western at 150, and beyond, to make a difference in the world: in student learning experiences, research with impact, sustainability, and recognition of our important role in the broader community.”
Approved April 28 by the university’s Board of Governors, the budget sets base and one-time spending at $901 million, with capital spending coming in at an additional $151 million.
Of note in this year’s budget is a focus on recruiting outstanding undergraduate students, and increasing the number of graduate students, who account for 20 per cent of total full-time enrolment. More money than ever will be allocated towards scholarships, internships and an enriched student experience.
Academic impact, research capacity
As Western continues to support programming that enhances students’ learning experience and their readiness for the workplace, an additional $2.6 million will be allocated for the undergraduate summer internship program which, for academic year 2022-23, is expected to support 360 student internships.
On the research front, Western is making additional specific investments to support and expand Western’s capacity, including:
- $22.1 million more to augment an endowment fund for the Western Research Chairs program;
- $15-million one-time funding to support the Endowed Chairs Matching program.
- $5.5 million to support the renewal and expansion of clinical research facilities.
- $4.6 million more to support university-wide research initiatives under the office of the vice-president (research).
- $1.9 million to support the continuation of the post-doctoral fellowship program.
“Western is home to some of Canada’s—and the world’s—most innovative researchers and scientists whose cutting-edge work is pushing boundaries and making people’s lives better. We continue to invest in breakthrough research projects that advance knowledge and generate meaningful impact on the world,” Shepard said.
Equity, diversity and inclusion
Western remains committed to making strategic investments to support equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and Indigenization, a critical component of the university’s strategic plan. Of significance is a $25-million investment to the Provost’s Academic Renewal Fund (PARF) to create an endowment that will provide permanent annual funding in support of equity-deserving faculty recruitment. Last year, Western allocated $4 million to PARF to support a cluster hiring aimed at recruiting Black and Indigenous faculty.
A combined total of nearly $800,000 will be earmarked this budget year to support EDI and Indigenous initiatives across faculties. This includes funding to hire an anti-racism advisor and Black Western student community ambassadors, and other programming initiatives in the EDI Office; support for programming activities in the new Indigenous Learning Centre, expected to open later this year; and one-time funding for the Faculty of Education’s Indigenous Teaching Secondment.
An important aspect of Western’s EDI commitment is creating educational opportunities and pathways for Black and Indigenous students. This year’s budget also includes funding for new scholarships aimed at recruiting Black students and expanding existing scholarships for Indigenous students.
Transforming campus, and beyond
Western is continuing to invest in several major projects under its long-range space plan, part of the planned capital expenditure for 2022-23 of $151 million. This includes the new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre, the University Gathering Hub, the Multi-Sport Field House, the Social Science Centre realignment and expansion project, and the Open Space Strategy.
To ensure the best educational environment for students, Western is allocating $47.2 million to support several infrastructure projects, including $40 million to create student spaces in the Social Science Centre, modernization of the D.B. Weldon Library, and a new Bio-convergence Centre. Another $3 million will be allocated towards Western’s information technology infrastructure.
Support for on-going projects that align with Western’s sustainability aspirations to reduce the campus’s carbon emissions is expected to cost $21.5 million this budget cycle. Western continues to make significant strides on its sustainability goals and has been consistently recognized by independent bodies. Most recently, Western placed first in Canada and third in the world among universities in the latest Times Higher Education global impact and sustainability rankings.
These new and on-going strategic investments are not only advancing Western’s goals around research and technology, they’re also elevating the student experience,” said Shepard. “Through our funding priorities, we are continuing to invest in creating a more sustainable and equitable future, for all.”