Creating greater impact, building a strong and inclusive community, and further establishing a presence on the world stage are at the core of Western’s 2023-24 budget.
The university’s Board of Governors approved $896.2 million in base or one-time spending and $147.2 million in capital spending for 2023-24 at its April 27 meeting.
“To be a force for good in the world, our faculty, staff and students need appropriate resources to fuel their work. We’re pleased to have support to execute this wide-ranging budget that will equip our community with the tools they need to thrive and allow us to continue expanding where it matters. Ultimately, these investments make it possible for Western to increase its impact at home and abroad,” President Alan Shepard said.
Highlights of the operating budget include:
- Expansion of in-demand academic programs and allocation of $2 million for 300 undergraduate summer research internships
- Addition of nearly 200 new faculty and staff members and investment of another $15 million in the endowed matching chairs program
- $1.8 million for student scholarships, staff and programming to further equity, diversity, and inclusion work
- $1.5 million (over three years) in needs-based funding for graduate students and a $4,000 increase to the minimum guaranteed funding for PhD students
- Renewal and expansion of information technology (IT) infrastructure through a $5-million investment in university-wide upgrades
- $40 million in support of projects in the Long-Range Space Plan
Guided by the university’s strategic plan, Towards Western at 150, the 2023-24 budget is the first year of a three-year planning cycle. It builds on Western’s last two budgets, which also prioritized investments to further the strategic plan.
“Western’s strong brand helped us maintain a stable fiscal position throughout the pandemic, setting us up for responsive and continued growth over the next three years,” said Florentine Strzelczyk, Provost and Vice-President (Academic).
“This budget emphasizes Western’s commitment to its most important asset, our people, allowing us to create greater value for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and for our communities surrounding us and in the world.”
Investing in people and place
Budget allocations to the faculties and support units will support the recruitment of up to 59 new faculty and 137 staff members across campus and $15 million in one-time funding has been dedicated to expand the endowed matching chairs program.
Additions, renovations and new buildings will enhance campus and Western’s regional impact.
Seven major construction or renovation projects are included in the capital budget, including a new Engineering building, the Ronald D. Schmeichel Building for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and two new residence buildings — one for first-year students and an apartment building for graduate and upper-year students.
The capital budget also includes $7.5 million for major renovations and $55.8 million for new construction, such as the new Bio-Convergence Centre that acknowledges the growing ties and collaboration between medical, health and life sciences, and engineering.
Campus-wide infrastructure investments amounting to $30 million reaffirm Western’s commitment to sustainability, innovation and state-of-the-art facilities and IT upgrades totaling $5 million will further modernize campus resources.
“We need a modern, sustainable campus that meets our needs and keeps pace with the growth across the university.” – Lynn Logan, Vice-President (Operations and Finance)
“Building plans continue to take shape. We’re happy to move one step closer to putting shovels in the ground on critical projects that will house our community and support a new level of innovation and impact,” Logan said.
Building an inclusive culture, supporting internationalization
The budget includes a commitment of $1.5 million (over three years) in needs-based funding for graduate students, as well as a $1,000 transition grant for all international students new to Canada.
A total of $1.8 million – a base budget of $700,000 plus one-time funding of $1.1 million – will be used to further equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigenization goals, such as student scholarships, additional staff, the national Building Reconciliation Forum (June 26-28, 2023) and other programming.
Looking ahead, a global engagement plan for the university is in development and will launch later this year. That roadmap will outline how Western can contribute to tackling the world’s biggest problems and developing students into global citizens.