Budgeting to enable renewal

By Andrew Simpson, VP Finance & Operations

The development of the Budget for 2017/18 has been underway for the past several months. The process has culminated recently in presentations and discussions with President Ono, the Executive, the Senate Budget Committee, Heads and Directors, Deans and AVPs, and Students. From these conversations, budget allocations are now being finalized in the University’s Budget Report which will be presented to the Board of Governors in April.

Overall, the University has achieved a positive financial base for the future—despite many of the challenges we face in meeting the growing costs of our teaching, research, and support activities. It is pleasing to see the wide number of new initiatives across the campus that will be newly resourced in the year ahead.

One of the important initiatives we’ll be hearing a lot more from this year is Privacy Matters @ UBC. This month, this newsletter features a reminder from our partners in IT and RMS of our need to be ever more vigilant of emails that aim to compromise our personal information and cause damage to the systems and technologies that underpin UBC.

I have been astonished at the level of creativity and targeting in the design of many of these illicit emails, which have caused the disablement of the systems of a number of our peer institutions. Our teaching, research, student engagement, and administration increasingly relies on the quality and continuity of these systems and technologies, which these ‘phishing’ emails attempt to undermine. Thank you for your ongoing attention to information security.

In another inspirational initiative, this week many in our community have attended workshops discussing and demonstrating the potential new system associated with the SASI project. A new Student Administrative System is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew and reimagine the key interactions and processes that underpin a significant portion of the University’s academic and student life.

Other systems and technologies need similar renewal to improve the quality of faculty and staff’s experience working at UBC. It is pleasing to see the progress of our procurement and payment processes, and there will be opportunities to achieve even more with future systems renewal.

I also want to note a few thanks. We have all experienced a challenging winter, with snow and ice that have hampered access to and from the campus, as well as our daily navigation around the campus. I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the teams within Building Operations—and other teams—who have so tirelessly worked to keep the campus open and accessible during these difficult days and weeks. I know a number of our staff have at times stayed overnight on campus in order to be working in the earliest hours of the morning readying the campus for the next day. Even so, it was often a struggle to stay ahead of some of the most challenging weather. Please accept my enormous thanks for your work!

As well, this newsletter continues to include a wide range of interesting and important matters. I am most grateful for the team that have been curating and producing the information and stories that help inform and celebrate our work at this remarkable University.