A series of recent scandals, like Western University President Amit Chakma’s double salary and administrator overpayments at the University of Ottawa, have put university budgets into the headlines. Against this backdrop, OCUFA held its annual University Finance Workshop in Toronto on November 13, 2015. It is more important than ever for faculty associations to have the skills to interpret and criticize university budgets, and OCUFA is working with its members to build crucial capacity in this area.
The workshop brought together representatives of faculty associations from across Ontario. Participants were given several financial scenarios, and a series of speakers helped them complete the full range of actions from analysis to narrative to communication to campaigns. The workshop also provided opportunities for faculty leaders to learn from their colleagues who had dealt with complex budgetary issues on their own campuses.
Speakers included Bill Salatka from Wilfrid Laurier on the differences between cash and accrual accounting; Paul Millar from Nipissing University on analyzing administrative bloat; and Tyler Chamberlin from the University of Ottawa on using audited financial statements. Presentations were also made by OCUFA staffers Erica Rayment on freedom of information requests; Graeme Stewart on crafting a communications strategy; and Andrea Calver on building a campaign.
The University Finance Workshop is an initiative of OCUFA’s University Finance Committee, which works throughout the year to improve the ability of faculty associations to analyze and use university financial information.