Review finds McMaster’s budget model supports university’s strategic priorities, makes recommendations for current economic climate
McMaster University’s budget model structure works well and is appreciated for its transparency and for the incentives it presents to the university’s Faculties, a recent review concluded.
In its findings report, the reviewers also make five recommendations to address new challenges in higher education related to budgetary tightening in Ontario and to the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am pleased to receive this report that will help us fine-tune and position our budget model process for the current economic climate,” says Susan Tighe, provost and vice-president (Academic). “McMaster’s success depends on the budget model being aligned to support the needs of our academic community, especially given our research intensity.”
The review was conducted in June 2023. It included extensive consultations with deans, university leaders (including senior budget leaders from across campus), faculty, staff, and students. In addition, more than 100 individuals from across the university attended a community consultation session on June 6 that included a presentation on the budget model followed by a question-and-answer session.
The report benefited from the deep experience of the review committee. Members included the vice-president, operations and real estate partnerships and vice-provost, academic operations at the University of Toronto and five representatives from McMaster. Of the five internal representatives, three are past chairs of McMaster’s budget committee, one is the current chair and the fifth member has been a budget committee member since 2018.
“It inspires confidence to have a review team that is familiar with the budget process. I am thankful to them for their time, expertise and thoughtful feedback,” Tighe said. “I am also grateful to everyone at McMaster who asked questions and shared insights about their university area with the reviewers.”
The review builds on the work of the 2017 Budget Model Review and sought to identify strengths and weaknesses, especially in light of the current economic climate. The examination led to five recommendations. They are related to (1) the consultation process during the annual budgetary cycle, (2) service level agreements for support units, (3) improving the interface between Faculty and central provision of support activities, (4) further exploring research support costs and (5) adjusting how the university charges for space.
The University Budget Model Review report is available on the Office of the Provost’s website.External Reviews