It is customary for the the Provost & Vice-President, Academic to provide a report to each meeting of Senate outlining plans, priorities, issues and other news. As these reports are already public through the University Secretariat Office, they will also be shared regularly through this memorandum page.
Note that appendices to the report can be found on the University Secretariat Office website.
Report to Senate of the Provost & Interim President – May 11, 2022
As you know, Brock is currently engaged in an unprecedented level of recruitment for senior administrative roles. Some of these processes, which first began last summer, are coming to their conclusion.
- Most notably, the Advisory Committee on the Vice-Provost, Teaching & Learning welcomed three shortlisted candidates to campus during the week of April 11. Videos of the public presentations were posted online and feedback was invited until April 29. The Advisory Committee met in early May and will be making an offer shortly. I hope to be able to make an announcement for this appointment soon, noting that Professor Madelyn Law’s term as Associate Vice-Provost, Teaching & Learning ends on June 30.
- The job ad for the role of Dean, Faculty of Math & Science recently closed, and the Advisory Committee will be meeting with long-listed candidates in early June. Short-listed candidates are expected to visit campus for second interviews (including public presentations) in late June.
- The ad for the Dean, Goodman School of Business has now been posted and the Advisory Committee has agreed to take applications through the summer and save interviews for August and September. Professor Barry Wright was named Interim Dean on March 23 and will serve in that capacity starting July 1 until a new Dean takes office.
- The Advisory Committee on the Vice-President, Research continues to progress in the review process.
- The Advisory Committee on the Dean, Faculty of Education has met with the search consultant and is working on a job ad.
- The Advisory Committee on the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement has retained a search consultant and will begin community consultations leading to the creation of a job ad.
Update on performance-based funding (PBF) in Ontario
At the last Senate meeting, the Chair voiced a desire for an update on the province’s plans to implement performance-based funding, noting that these have been pushed back on a number of occasions due to the impact of the pandemic. With thanks to Kyle Paul, Executive Director, Institutional Planning, Analysis, and Performance, and Meaghan Rusnell, Associate Vice-President, Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships, I provide further information below.
While the University has been required to report metrics annually related to SMA3, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has announced that these metrics will not be linked to funding until at least 2023-24, with the Ministry assessing sector readiness on an annual basis. On this front, there seems to be recognition that the impact of the pandemic on the provincial economy has led to increased unpredictability in the SMA3 metrics being collected, which is not conducive to the sector’s easing into a performance-based funding framework without negative financial impacts on institutions.
While the performance-based system the government has in mind allows for some predictability, especially in the weighting of measures permitted to institutions, some of the metrics upon which funding would be allocated and to which institutions would be held accountable relate to broader demographic shifts or economic trends, which are outside of the University’s control. This limits our ability for long-term financial planning, creating uncertainty that we cannot influence. The Council of Ontario Universities continues to work with the Ministry to voice these concerns and consider ways in which they might be addressed.
One metric to monitor involves the proportion of students enroled in programs of strength, identified thematically at Brock as ‘Health and Well-being through the Lifespan and Scientific and Technological Applications’ and including approximately 70 programs. This metric encourages differentiation across the sector by incentivizing institutions to focus on enrolling students in those unique programs that constitute their strengths. At Brock, this will require us to focus not only on enrolment but also on student retention, as attrition year over year is also penalized in the funding model.
One of the SMA3 metrics, related to ‘skills and competencies’, has yet to be defined. The Ministry will begin conversations with institutions shortly to begin refining this category, noting that we believe it to be related to student achievement in key ‘essential skills’ competency areas such as literacy and numeracy. It remains to be seen how students will be assessed and how institutions will be evaluated in this area.
Finally, while not formally a metric, the Ministry has also made clear its intention to create new institutional reporting requirements associated with SMA3 and related to faculty productivity and workload. Further information is expected on definitions and data collection in this area as well.
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor
Provost and Vice-President, Academic