The Trent University Board of Governors held its final regular meeting of the academic year, virtually, on June 25, 2021, with the following highlights.
Presentation of Trent’s Annual Report on Indigenous Community Relations
The Board of Governors received an annual report on Indigenous community relations from Julie Davis, vice-president of External Relations & Development, who was joined by Chief Emily Whetung of Curve Lake First Nation. The report highlighted progress made on the action plan for Institutional Indigenous Relations, which focuses on understanding and recognizing treaties; increasing visible presence for Michi Saagiig on campus; enhanced education for staff; formation of the Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers Council; and protocols for land use planning.
Chief Whetung spoke at length about the positive relationship between the University and Curve Lake First Nation, especially related to University projects in recent years. “Our relationship with Trent University has become the standard we share in our other relationships; this is the goal that we set with a variety of partners and projects,” she stated. “Being included as concepts take shape requires trust and faith. We work together from here to ensure that these projects, such as the elders care facility, reflect a mutual vision that answers needs on both sides of the relationship. [At] every step, Curve Lake now feels like our voice has reached a point of being meaningfully considered and included, not just heard.”
“Trust-building takes time. We go through a process to understand and learn. We need to honour the time invested and provide input that results in action. Actions are much more important than statements and intention,” explained VP Davis. “We understand that we are working together to advance Trent’s aspirations and Curve Lake’s aspirations, and when they come together it’s a wonderful thing.”
The Board received a financial update, a projection subject to year-end final adjustments and audit. While Trent, similar to sector institutions, expected a significant negative impact on its enrolment and revised its financial forecast for the 2020/21 fiscal year, in-year enrolment gains were 4.6% over budget. Ancillary losses and COVID-related investments and expenses were significant, but were less than anticipated over the course of the year. With the help of one-time provincial COVID relief funding of $5.9M and late receipt of other special grants the University is estimating a year-end surplus of approximately $5.8M.
Following review, the Board approved a number of one-time strategic initiatives for 2021/22, including: teaching and lab space investment; investments in the Centre for Teaching and Learning and online learning; research investments; IT infrastructure renewal; infrastructure investments and enhancements for Trent lands; a matching fund contribution for the new Trent Enterprise Centre; deferred maintenance and upgrades to ancillary properties; retention investments including international; and ongoing COVID-related investments.
Domestic Out-of-Province Tuition Increase Approved
The Board heard that, in light of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the province announced an extension of the tuition fee freeze for a second year, fixing fees at the 10% reduction rate implemented for domestic in-province students in 2019. As the ongoing freeze of tuition rates does not extend to out-of-province students, the updated provincial tuition framework provides institutions with the ability to increase tuition for out-of-province students up to 3%. Recognizing the sector’s significant lobbying efforts for better per student provincial funding, the Board approved a 3% increase in tuition for new, out-of-province domestic students, beginning in the 2021/22 academic year.
Honouring Departing Governors
The Board paid tribute to four departing members, including outgoing chair, Armand La Barge, as well as members Dr. Garry Cubitt, Fareeda Imana, and Hailey Wright.
Armand La Barge ’95 was appointed to the Board of Governors in 2015, and served as vice-chair in 2018/19 before his appointment as chair for a two-year term that commenced July 1, 2019. During his tenure, Mr. La Barge led the University through several milestones, including the opening of the Student Centre, the transformation of the Bata Library and the building of the sector-leading Forensics Crime Scene Facility. Mr. La Barge also oversaw the successful $5.6M Campaign for Durham and ground-breaking community-building projects, which included the approval of the Trent Lands & Nature Plan and the approval of the construction of a long-term care home at Trent University.
Dr. Gary Cubitt ’67 has served as a member of the Board of Governors since 2015. Dr. Cubitt, along with his wife and fellow Trent alumna, Vicki, played an instrumental role in supporting the growth of Trent Durham GTA, serving as committee members for the Campaign for Trent Durham. In 2017, Dr. Cubitt was recognized for his exceptional contributions to his alma mater as the recipient of the prestigious Trent University Alumni of Distinction Award. He will remain involved with governance at Trent as an external member of the Trent Lands Committee in 2021/22.
Fareeda Imana, a new graduate of the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing, who aspires to works as a mental health nurse amongst Indigenous populations in remote communities, concluded her one-year term to the Peterborough student seat of the Board of Governors.
Hailey Wright ’06 has been an influential member of the Trent University Durham community from her time as a student to the most recent position she held as manager, Community Relations and Articulation. Ms. Wright ends her term as a staff representative on the Board of Governors following her new appointment to director of Economic Development Services at the City of Oshawa.
Governor Emeritus Appointment
The Board also celebrated former governor Lucie Edwards ’73, granting her the honorific title of governor emeritus, effective July 1, 2021, in recognition of her exceptional leadership and service to the University. Ms. Edwards served on the Board of Governors for six years and has maintained a strong connection to Trent since she graduated in 1976.
About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
For more information contact:
Cara Walsh, Communications & Media Relations Officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org