Budget 2020-21 Updates and Next Steps

On June 29, 2020, the NSCAD University Board of Governors approved the 2020-21 Budget recommended by its Finance & Physical Resources Committee.  The process this year for the development of the budget was unusual insofar as the budget, as initially planned, needed to be redrafted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University budget is normally presented to, and approved by, the Board in March.  The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) was prepared to present a budget in March, but then COVID-19 struck.  COVID-19 challenges many of the assumptions that go into preparing the University’s annual budget.  Some Nova Scotia universities continue to delay the recommendation of their budgets and anticipate approval in September.  Many more Nova Scotia universities felt able to present their budgets to their Boards in June.  NSCAD is one of the latter.

Due to the pandemic, the Province of Nova Scotia has removed the requirement for universities to present a balanced budget in 2020-21. Due to the continuing uncertainty with 2020-21 enrollment, the Board has approved a deficit budget for this fiscal year.

I would like to thank interim CFO, Leanne Dowe, and the members of the President’s Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) who stewarded the process of developing the 2020-21 Budget to approval. This was not without considerable challenge and your efforts are appreciated.

Highlights of the budget that deserve special attention from the community include the following:

  • No increase in tuition for domestic or international students in 2020-21, with an additional commitment to review the tuition and fees structure by December 2020.
  • A financial commitment of $75,000 to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Sexual Violence Prevention initiatives.
  • An increase of $66,000 for total student support of $1.13 million. Available support includes scholarships, bursaries, assistantships, and part-time employment.
  • Online infrastructure and programming resources of $500,000.
  • Structural reorganization. In the Fall, the Senior Leadership Team undertook a review of NSCAD’s organizational structure (see the organization chart, approved by the Board on May 7, 2020).
    • All senior leadership portfolios were reviewed, the changes in the Office of Student Experience represent the initial phase of these changes.
      • Effective January 1, 2020, the oversight of Recruitment and Admissions was moved to the Vice President (Academic and Research).
      • Now that the budget has been approved, we are supporting the creation of an Office of Opportunity and Belonging under a new director who will report to the Senior Leadership Team. With the passing of the Budget, we will be announcing this search shortly.
      • Effective June 1, Tim McInnes has been seconded to the role of Registrar with the mandate of supporting the technological integration of new systems to support students and administration respecting data. Jim Barmby has been seconded to the role of AVP Government Relations.
    • The role of Vice-President (Academic & Research) was amended to restore provostial responsibilities effective July 1, 2020.
    • The Office of Finance and Administration was also reviewed with careful consideration of the demands for financial management as well as facilities and infrastructure expertise. Accordingly, NSCAD is moving to consolidate structural changes in the following ways:
      • With the passing of the Budget, we will be searching for an AVP, Operations who will be supported by a Manager of Facilities, Director of IT, and Director of HR to lead the Administration portfolio of the University. This is an exciting time for NSCAD on the infrastructure front and this change will provide the necessary support in this area.
      • We will be searching for a CFO to lead the Finance portfolio. This year we had an interim position and found the role very effective in its singular focus on strategic financial management, modeling, and leadership.
      • We will maintain the positions of Controller and other staff supports.

The Board approved budget for 2020-21 provides the seedbed for investment in the initiatives we have spoken of, consulted on and hoped for the upcoming year. We are especially proud to hold tuition steady for 2020-21 and thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Ann-Barbara Graff
Acting President
Vice-President (Academic & Research) and Provost
NSCAD University