by Laurie Zack
In his report to the January 19 Board of Governors meeting, Rector Frederick Lowy outlined the results of a meeting recently held with Education Minister Fran¨ois Legault and Quebec's principals and rectors at CREPUQ. Lowy was not optimistic about changes in funding for universities in the immediate future and, although he felt strong support for universities from the minister, the message was that the provincial cabinet remained to be convinced. Budget priorities still seem to be elsewhere.
On a more positive note, Lowy told the Board that $37 million that Concordia had requested from Quebec City for building has been approved and Concordia awaits word on another $16 million that has been requested.
Provost Jack Lightstone traced the evolution of special funds that were allotted in the last provincial budget to help universities deal with a doubling of enrolments in university-wide information technology-related programs. After intense lobbying, Quebec universities were given an extra $2,000 per FTE (full-time equivalency) per net additional students in this area, as well as $1,000 per net additional graduating student.
Minimal seed money was also provided to Quebec universities from a total budget of $3.1 million. Concordia was awarded over $800,000, even though our pro-rata share would have been only $310,000.
Each university had to lobby and negotiate the list of programs eligible for the government money from both incentive programs. So far, all but one of the dozen or so programs submitted by Concordia has been deemed eligible by the government for the extra fun-ding. Lightstone estimates that as a result of these initiatives, our base budget will increase by approximately $4.5 million over a five-year period.
Lightstone tempered the good news by explaining that we now spend just over $8,000 per student, whereas we should be spending around $12,000 per student, the Canadian average.
Lightstone also mentioned that Concordia has submitted $15 million in projects to the latest round of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) competition. Results will be announced in June. In the last round, the total value of Concordia projects approved by the CFI was about $20 million.
The Board approved the creation of an advisory search committee for the position of Vice-Rector Institutional Relations and Secretary-General. Marcel Danis was appointed to the position in June 1996 and his term expires June 30, 2001. The Rector will chair the Committee that is made up of two Board members, four full-time faculty, one regular part-time faculty member, one representative of senior management, two students (undergraduate and graduate) and one member of the administrative and support staff from a unit that reports to the position.
Student representatives joined with Vice-Rector Services Charles Emond to congratulate the administration of the library for maintaining a 24-hour schedule during the recent exam period.