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Balanced 2008-09 Operating Budget Approved by Board of Governors

Board of Governors’ Meeting - Thursday, May 2, 2008, Peterborough

Trent University’s Board of Governors today approved an $85,090,000 balanced operating budget for the 2008-09 year.

The balanced budget was achieved through significant expenditure reductions from the previous year’s budget.

“Although this has been a very difficult financial challenge for the University to manage, our focus remains on providing a quality educational experience for our students, maintaining priority investments in student services and keeping our employees informed about the impact of our financial shortfall,” said Don O’Leary, Vice President, Administration. 

In preparing the budget, the administration applied two basic principles adopted by the Board nine years ago:

  • The academic mission of the University can best be realized if balanced budgets are achieved on an annual basis and
  • If a deficit occurs, a plan must be adopted to eliminate the deficit in two to three years

The University faced the prospect of a $10.5-million operating deficit for 2008-09 due to a number of factors:

  • an structural deficit totalling $3.4-million
  • a loss of revenue due to fewer students totalling $5-million (200 intake and 225 retention)
  • a shortfall in government funding totalling $0.9-million
  • and inflation costs related to operating costs and collective agreements totalling $2.1-million
  • Less: annualized cost savings implemented in the previous fiscal year ($0.9-million)

Tuition Increases – 2008-09
The 2008-09 budget includes the following tuition increases:

  • 4.5 per cent new undergraduate students
  • 4 per cent for returning undergraduate students
  • 5 per cent differentiation fee for graduate international students
  • 6 per cent fee for new graduate students
  • 4 per cent fee for returning graduate students

It was noted that Trent’s undergraduate tuition increases are comparable to those being implemented by most other Ontario universities for 2008-09 and that Trent’s graduate fees had previously been frozen for 2007-08.

Architectural Design and Contract Administration

The Board authorized the President to enter into a contract with Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners (Architects) Ltd in the sum of $1,106,784 for architectural design and contract administration services related to the construction of module C of the DNA Building.  In February 2008, the University received $9.8-million in targeted capital funding to construct a new Health Sciences Facility for the University’s expanding Nursing, Psychology and Anthropology programs, reinforcing Trent’s reputation as a leading institution for delivering quality health care programs to students.

Advisory Committee to Review the Presidency

The Board adopted the report of the Advisory Committee to Review the Presidency 2008 and approved a presidential mandate for the period 2009-14.

Presidential involvement is crucial to many activities in the University and elsewhere.  The President must be a hand-on CEO, ultimately responsible for ensuring that the University is pursing its mission.  The President will also ensure that academic freedom, institutional autonomy and the quality of teaching, research and administration are preserved and enhanced.

External relations often require the personal involvement of the President, be they building or sustaining institutional relationships locally, provincially and nationally; promoting post-secondary education; or seeking gifts and grants.

Trent’s seventh President will be expected to carry forward several current initiatives including leading the University community in a culture of stewardship and participating in new Centres of Knowledge philanthropic model, implementing and updating various institutional plans, and developing collaborative partnerships.

In addition to these ongoing priorities and leadership requirements, the Board of Governors gives the President a mandate which is reflected in annual Presidential objectives and tracked through annual performance reviews.  This mandate is essentially a change agenda for the next President’s term of office, the five years leading up to the celebration of Trent’s 50th anniversary. 

The mandate of the seventh President is to:

  • Lead Trent in attracting and retaining a greater proportion of highly qualified students
  • Strengthen the financial viability of the University
  • Articulate and celebrate Trent’s distinctive identity
  • Improve Trent’s reputation for quality and
  • Engage the University community in embracing a culture of stewardship

This mandate will be challenging and can only be pursued successfully with the support of a team of vice-presidents, deans and directors to whom elements of the administration of the University can be delegated under the overall strategic and tactical direction of the President.

Board Appointments:

The Board approved the reappointment of Ms. Linda Smith to the Board of Governors for a further two year term effective July 1, 2008.

Graduate student Tina Fridgen and Professor Gillian Balfour were appointed to the Board for a two year term effective July 1, 2008.

Board members Libby Burnham, Michael Butt, Kate Ramsay and Pat Southern were reappointed as external governors for three years effective July 1, 2008.

New External Board Members:

Ms. Dawn Lutchman and Mr. Bryan Davies were appointed to three-year terms on the Board of Governors commencing July 1, 2008.


For further information contact:

Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, (705) 748-1011, ext. 6185