Skip to main content

Review of UVic’s budget model

Published: August 2, 2023 | Updated: January 16, 2024

Our 2022/23 budget model review found opportunities for enhancements to our existing incremental model. A Budget Design Committee has been tasked with developing and recommending a new budget model and/or budget model elements for the university, based on the findings from the Budget Model Working Group.

Background

In fall 2022, the Vice-President Academic and Provost and Vice-President Finance and Operations initiated a review of UVic’s current budget model to assess its effectiveness and look for enhancement opportunities.

A Budget Model Working Group formed to help senior university leaders determine if any changes should be made to the existing model. The working group drafted a project plan, conducted research, facilitated internal and external consultations, shared information, and determined a set of principles and values to underpin decision making. A summary of findings and recommendations was provided to and endorsed by Executive Council in summer 2023.

During consultations, we heard that most UVic leaders are open to a change or refinements to UVic's current budget model. As such, and as a final deliverable, the working group provided a recommendation to Executive Council on a Budget Design Committee. The committee is tasked with making budget model recommendations based on the principles listed below. 

It’s important to remember that budget models don’t make decisions, people do. The impact of the budget model depends more on the decision makers—and the quality of decision-making—than on the model itself.

Budget Design Committee

Now that the Working Group has completed its mandate, the next phase of the project is to develop and recommend a new budget model and/or budget model elements for the university, based on the findings from the Working Group. 

The work will be led by a Budget Design Committee, endorsed by Executive Council and comprised of senior leaders who have significant budgetary and resource allocation authority and/or lead significant revenue generation opportunities for the university. All Executive portfolios are represented as are diverse voices to ensure that equity and Indigenous lenses are applied.

  • Helga Hallgrímsdóttir, Deputy Provost* (chair)
  • Anita Bhappu, Dean of Gustavson School of Business
  • Andrew Coward, Associate Vice-President Financial Planning and Operations*
  • Cassbreea Dewis, Executive Director, Equity and Human Rights
  • Tony Eder, Associate Vice-President Academic Resource Planning*
  • Lindsay Gagel, Director, Academic Communications and Projects*
  • Lois Harder, Dean of Social Sciences
  • Lisa Kalynchuk, Vice-President Research and Innovation
  • Lalita Kines, Director, Indigenous Strategic Priorities and Community Engagement
  • Allana Lindgren, Dean of Fine Arts
  • Peter Loock, Dean of Science
  • Jane Potentier, Associate Vice-President Alumni and Development
  • Kathleen Sobie, Director, Budget Office*
  • Ashley Fitterer, Project Coordinator* (support)

Member of the Budget Model Working Group (now defunct)

The Committee will be supported by a group of central budget managers and financial experts responsible for budget modeling, analysis and reporting as required. The Committee will also be responsible for developing an approach to implementation, once a new model or adjustments to the current model have been determined.

Project timeline and milestones

We will continue to update this web page and communicate key milestones to campus leaders, including through Deans’ Council, Integrated Planning and President’s Leadership Council.

Phase 1: Budget Model Working Group

  • Oct. 2022 to May 2023: Researched and consulted with comparator universities, including those that have undergone budget model changes, to learn and seek advice. 

  • Dec. 2022 to April 2023: Consulted academic and non-academic leaders at UVic, including Deans' Council, Integrated Planning, Executive Council portfolios, Chairs and Directors, and others. We heard what's working well, what isn't, and values and principles that should underpin our model.

  • April to May 2023: Developed a set of principles and values based on what we've learned and heard, which was presented to Deans' Council and other leaders for feedback and revised as needed.

  • May 2023: Prepared a summary of findings and recommendations for the project sponsors based on research and consultations.

  • June 2023: Executive Council endorsed the summary of findings and recommendations. Findings were shared with Deans' Council and Integrated Planning.

  • July to Aug. 2023: Updated leaders on the key findings and outcomes of the working group as well as next steps beyond the scope of the working group.

Phase 2: Budget Design Committee discussions

  • Sept. 2023 to June 2024: Regular meetings of Budget Design Committee.

  • Jan. to May 2024: Additional consultations with budget leaders, including deans, chairs and directors.

  • Summer 2024: Project update and recommendation(s) to project sponsors and Executive Council.

Phase 3: Shadow budget and plan for implementation

  • Timing and scope to be determined by the Budget Design Committee in 2024.

Phase 4: implementation of new budget model

  • Timing and scope to be determined by the Budget Design Committee in 2024/25.

Consultations

The Budget Model Working Group conducted research and consultations throughout 2022/23.

Internal consultations

During the internal consultation phase, the working group engaged with campus leaders including Deans’ Council, Integrated Planning, Presidents’ Leadership Council, chairs and directors, and leaders in each of the university’s executive portfolios. The working group also engaged with governance bodies including the Senate Committee on the University Budget and the Board of Governors Finance Committee.

Since all areas would be impacted by a change in budget model, this broad range of internal consultations was critical in considering the needs and perspectives of different units and ensuring transparency.

Consultations included an education component to share information about UVic’s existing model as well as the range of models in use across post-secondary institutions. A series of questions was posed on what works well and what is seen to need improvement. With the recognition that people make decisions rather than budget models, the consultations included discussions on values and principles.

External consultations

Members of the working group interviewed key budget decision stakeholders at several Canadian universities, particularly in British Columbia and Ontario. We also collected and reviewed publicly available information from various university websites, including universities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. As well, we heard from and consulted post-secondary colleagues at the annual Council of Western Canadian Financial, Logistical and Operational Personnel and annual Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) conferences in 2023.

We collected information from a range of universities, particularly those that are similarly sized and that we consider peers. Recognizing that provincial funding differs, we looked at universities from different provinces to help ensure we build a model that is resilient to change. Both CAUBO and the Education Advisory Board provided helpful materials related to available and alternative budget models, as well as information about adopting and transitioning to a new model.

Principles

During the budget model review process, we heard consistently from both our internal and external consultations that any changes to our model should be selected, developed and implemented based on our values and principles. A budget model and process should:

  • Reflect UVic’s mandate as a publicly funded research university that offers a comprehensive range of programming to meet student interest while positioning itself to respond to societal, government and community priorities.
  • Be sensitive to differential abilities and scope across units to generate revenue, pursue incentives or take on risks.
  • Be data-driven and evidence-based, with transparent metrics for allocations and accountabilities.
  • Foster transparency in university budgeting and resource allocation, including how institutional priorities shape funding decisions.
  • Provide clear links and accountability mechanisms between revenues, costs and allocations.
  • Incentivize and reward collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurialism.
  • Incentivize and reward service efficiency and excellence across the university. Discourage duplication of new, siloed services where possible.
  • Be resilient in periods of both expansion and contraction, with respect to enrolment and external funding.
  • Foster commitment amongst all budget leaders to the financial capacity of their units and the financial health of the institution as a whole.