Tuesday, March 10 at 12:30 pm
Room 193A, Medical Sciences Building.

Did you know that less than an hour a week can change your life? The time you spend at a Weight Watchers at Work meeting right here on campus is time well spent because you'll learn strategies to help you lose weight and eat right. People who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than those who go it alone. For more information, call Heather at x85875 or e-mail hbishop@uwo.ca.


Wednesday, March 4 from 11 am to 2:30 pm
Great Hall, Somerville House

Learn about new products to help you do your job better. From iPods to paper shredders, find out more about our complete line of products. It's professional fun with food and prizes too! Get there early! First 100 guests get a reusable shopping bag! For more information, contact Darrin Barrow at dbarrow@uwo.ca


Wednesday, March 11 at 7 pm
Great Hall, Huron University College

Join in a discussion hosted by celebrity readers Mike Atkinson and Janice Zolf about Exit Lines by Joan Barfoot. Open to everyone.

RSVP programs@uwo.ca.
For more information, visit : London Reads VI: The All-star Edition

  Are you curious about any aspect of Resources and Operations? Email your question to rocreport@uwo.ca and we will publish the answer in our next issue.  

  Do you have information about your department or an event that you would like to share with your colleagues in Resources and Operations? Please send department news, views and events to the rocreport@uwo.ca.  

  Questions? Comments?
E-mail to rocreport@uwo.ca.

  Published three times per year by Resources and Operations Communications, The University of Western Ontario

Mike DeJager, Susan Grindrod, Tony Hammoud, Gitta Kulczycki, Emmet Lecompte, Scott May, Elaine Roswell, Kathy Russell, Janet Smith, Brandon Watson, Brittany Williams, Carolyn Young

Louise Gadbois and Kelly Hunt, Graphic Services, The University of Western Ontario

Kelvin Wu

The purpose of the ROC Report is to inform our colleagues about people, activities and events in Resources and Operations.
Phone: 519-661-3520 ext 88251
E-mail: rocreport@uwo.ca
Internet: www.rocreport.uwo.ca

2008 Spring/Summer
2008 Fall/Winter

Gitta’s Message

Gitta Kulczycki, Vice-President, Resources & Operations, gitta@uwo.ca

Gitta Kulczyki, Vice President of Resources and Operations

Dear Colleagues in the Resources & Operations portfolio:

My last message celebrated the start of the academic year and described several capital projects either in our future ambitions or in the active planning stages. I concluded that message with a hope that the economic pause in Ontario would be neither deep nor prolonged.

Since that time, there have been a number of developments. The Western Student Recreation Centre opened on January 5. My thanks to the team in Facilities Engineering, who worked very hard with the contractor and Campus Recreation to allow this to happen. It is an awesome facility and the students love it! All the remaining groups scheduled to move into the new Support Services Building have done so and now this building is home to many of the units in our portfolio. It is a busy place! On February 1, after months of diligent effort, Robarts trades staff integrated into Physical Plant. A warm welcome to them! Efforts continue with our Safe Campus Community initiative: over 4,000 faculty, staff, and some students have participated in training and presentations. Because we had a higher than anticipated first-year entering class, Housing accommodated a number of first-year students in Bayfield Hall; by all accounts these students are most pleased with these arrangements. Hospitality Services has opened a number of new venues, including our first campus Subway operation in the UCC [successful from the moment it opened!] and yet another Tim Hortons in our new Support Services Building [where would we be without that coffee!]. Our Sustainability Initiative continues to gather momentum: the most recent development is that the entire campus is being supplied with FSC paper effective early February. My thanks to each and every one of you, for helping to make the first academic term a success.

We now know that Ontario's economy, with its large reliance on the manufacturing sector, is under significant pressure as the global economy has entered a recession. Ontario's employment loss of 71,000 jobs in January was its largest in over three decades, pushing our provincial unemployment rate to 8.0%, its highest level since November of 1997. At this stage, it is difficult to predict how long this recession may last, but most predictions do not point to a rapid economic recovery.

Our fiscal picture here at Western is not immune, with the downturn in the equity markets having played havoc with our investment returns from both non-endowed and endowed funds. Our current forecast for the fiscal years 08-09 through 10-11, points to a cumulative revenue shortfall of $41.7 million.

In the current year, we've been able to take two decisions to manage the shortfall without impacting the budgets of Faculties and Support Units. We had planned to apply $12.2 million of our investment returns towards the financing of the long-range capital plan; this will no longer occur. This has had a tangible impact: the renovation of the Physics & Astronomy Building has been put "on hold", as we do not have the funds to proceed at this time. We also had planned to add $6 million to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) "war chest," a reserve fund used as a source for the required match for these research funds, to the extent we've not been able to secure the matching contribution through other sources. Western has had a strong track record in securing CFI research grants and research is central to our mission. This does not change: we will continue to compete strongly for research grants, and will contribute the dollars required for matching CFI grants as the cash is required.

For the next two years, 09-10 and 10-11, sheltering Faculty and Support Unit budgets from reductions while still maintaining a stable fiscal base for the long-term future, is not possible. We've looked carefully at University-wide expenses and reduced them where possible. Faculty and Support Unit budgets will be reduced by an average of 5.5% in each of the next two fiscal years. These reductions will be differentially applied between Faculties and between Support Units depending upon the particular circumstances faced by each. Make no mistake--this involves some very difficult choices. Our overall priority must be to preserve the academic experience of Western's students.

We anticipate these reductions will impact employment levels given the reality that almost 80% of our operating funds are expended for compensation [for the fiscal year 07-08, the percentage was 76.4%]. This is why we have limited recruitment to mission-critical positions. This is why there is a voluntary retirement incentive program being made available to certain groups of employees, where position eliminations are likely to be felt. This is also why we are encouraging people to come forward with flexible work arrangements, which offer the possibility of getting the necessary work done without eliminating positions. We are a community of people, and must do all that we can to minimize the loss of employment and to look after our friends and colleagues.

I've received many questions about the decisions we are taking; this is, of course, to be expected. While I cannot address all of them here, I do wish to comment on some of the more common ones. People are puzzled as to why we would proceed with the renovations of the Stevenson and Lawson Halls, and in the UCC: why not take these funds and apply them to operations? Another concern: why do we not choose to run deficits over the next few years with the hope that an economic recovery will allow Western to recover as well? Along the same lines: why not borrow funds to sustain us over the next few years until the times get better?

Let me give my own perspective, which starts with our mission statement: "Western provides the best student experience among Canada's leading research-intensive universities." This is a mission statement not just for today or tomorrow, but also for the long term. We know that what constitutes the best student experience will be different for an undergraduate student and a graduate student, but there are some common elements: we need great teachers and great researchers and great staff. In this way, Western is truly blessed. We ALSO need great facilities. A professor giving a class in a lab with technology that's 25 or more years old; graduate students who have no place to do their research work; insufficient classroom space to teach our students; and lack of facilities for faculty to do their work and research--these issues do not equate to a "best student experience." And we have to provide all of this at the right price: the monetary balance that allows us to thrive, not only in the short term, but also in the long term.

Getting the balance of people, infrastructure and dollars right, allows us to attract today, tomorrow, next year and thereafter, the best students. It allows us to achieve our mission for the long term. How are we doing? In 2008, for the seventh year in a row (since the inception of the survey), Western achieved first place among Canada's largest universities in the Globe and Mail survey for having the most satisfied students, and was at or near the top in many of the survey's categories.

So now to the specific questions: The space in Stevenson and Lawson Halls is needed for academic departments that require additional space to accommodate the growth in graduate students. And it is not only those departments counting on new space in Stevenson and Lawson Halls that would be affected by a failure to complete these renovations as planned. The space to be liberated in the Social Sciences Centre and in Talbot College by the moves of academic units to Stevenson and Lawson Halls, is an integral part of the plan to meet pressing space needs of the other departments in the Faculty of Social Science, and in the Faculty of Music and the Music Library. The UCC renovation will provide additional classrooms needed for the 09-10 academic year.

  We were already anticipating that our revenues would be leveling off, prior to feeling the impact of the downturn in the equity markets in the fall of 2008. This was signaled in our April 08-09 budget document. The provincial government's "Reaching Higher" plan that funded growth in graduate student enrolment is almost mature and the monies already advanced to universities, for the most part. We have no cause to anticipate additional operating revenues, particularly in view of the difficult fiscal circumstances faced by our provincial government. At the same time, costs continue to increase. Running a deficit, or a series of deficits, will only make future circumstances more difficult.

Western already has debt. As of April 30, 2008, we had borrowed almost $226 million. This put us slightly above average in the level of debt per student full-time equivalent as compared to a number of other universities in Canada. We enjoy a strong credit rating at "AA" from Standard & Poor's. This means we are able to borrow at favorable rates, when we need to do so. If we overextend our borrowing, we compromise our credit rating with the result that the cost of borrowing will increase. There's also a key attribute of borrowing: lenders expect to be repaid. Too much borrowing will mortgage the future. Thus, it is not the answer to our current fiscal challenge.

Now to another question I've been asked by a number of people: "What can I do?" There are a few things each one of us can do.

First and foremost is to look after each other--being good team members and colleagues. The person working next to you may be someone recently impacted by job loss in his/her family. An encouraging word or smile can make all the difference in the world. We can CHOOSE how we react to the current fiscal challenges: negatively, hopelessly, or with a level of determined optimism. To borrow from Rudyard Kipling: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ... Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it."

Challenging fiscal times create a unique opportunity to change how we do things. If you've always wondered why "we do things this way," now is the time to come forward with those ideas and suggestions or to identify the bureaucratic processes that just don't make sense to our work outcomes. Ask yourself what changes you could make to your work that allow you to become more effective, and if it requires us to make some changes, bring those ideas forward!

Don't feed the rumour mill. If you hear something that does not ring true, please raise it with the appropriate person(s) for clarification. In my experience, rumours are far more onerous than the truth will ever be.

This is the time for each of us to demonstrate those values that we identified some years ago as key in this portfolio: passion, creativity, flexibility, accountability, integrity and respect. Leaders in my group had developed some key statements as to how we would demonstrate these values in our work; they are available for review in this issue of the ROC Report (see Values of Resources and Operations).

All of us play a key role here. We create an environment and deliver services and programs that enable all members of Western's community to accomplish their goals. Let's continue to do this to the very best of our abilities.

We'll continue to provide updates on our budget picture as developments occur. In its budget tabled on January 27, 2009, the federal government announced infrastructure funding for universities; we'll be monitoring how the allocations will be determined and the timing of specific grants to our University. This will have limited, if any, impact on our operating budget; however, it may allow for planned capital projects to proceed with the assurance of funding in hand. The provincial government has given encouraging signals towards announcing its own infrastructure program. Again we will be closely monitoring these developments and updating the Western community accordingly.

On February 7, 2009, I had the privilege of attending a Mozart Gala hosted by our Don Wright Faculty of Music. What a wonderful display of talent from our students and faculty. It was a fresh reminder of what we are here for; this scene of talent can be seen in all of our Faculties, in any number of ways. We are here to educate our students of today, who will be our leaders of tomorrow. In this, we are all part of a very worthy cause!

Stay warm and think of spring ... it will be here soon.

We demonstrate the values of Resources and Operations by:


Advocating for the good of the University.

Being persistent, energetic and enthusiastic.

Being dedicated to quality and service.

Sharing our knowledge to help others succeed.


Finding ways to improve our service.

Uniquely solving problems.

Creating and embracing new ideas.

Working collaboratively.

Looking for help outside of our units.

Taking a risk.


Being receptive to change.

Being open to change and listening to our stakeholders.

Adapting our plans to meet new, different or changing requirements.

Finding different ways to meet the same objectives.

Communicating the rationale of the decisions we make.

"I'll try" before "I can't"


Measuring and reporting on our goals and service.

Taking corrective action if we don't meet our objectives.

Taking ownership.

Recognizing that we may share the outcome with others.


Maintaining the principled high road.

Doing as we say we will do.

Demonstrating consistency.

Being honest and ethical.


Trusting that people are trying to do a good job, in all roles.

Taking a collegial, not hierarchical approach to work relationships.

Letting people grow.

Supporting people to do their job.

Providing constructive feedback.

Demonstrating confidence in self and others.

Showing understanding.

Treating others with dignity and honesty.

Welcoming and celebrating diversity.

More stories from Resources and Operations...

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