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U of C to find new revenue, increase grad students in new 10-year plan

The University of Calgary plans to increase their “alternative” revenue and the number of graduate students over the next decade as the city post-secondary charts its path forward.

U of C President and Vice-Chancellor Ed McCauley delivered the plan, dubbed “Growing Through Focus” in an online conference Wednesday.

He said the university hopes to be the most entrepreneurial school by applying this new plan.

“I hope people see that if we implement and execute these bold ideas that these would secure our future,” he said.

“And also confirm our status as Canada’s most entrepreneurial university.”

The Growing Through Focus plan

McCauley said the university has put an emphasis on becoming a leader in some academic/research fields. They also want to attract more scholars to their research programs.

The university plans to increase enrolment from 33,000 to 37,000 students and nearly double their number of graduate students from 6,300 to 10,000.

McCauley said this is the sign of success for other major schools that U of C hopes to mimic.

“When we look at the phenotypes of great universities across the planet across and the globe, one of the common characteristics is a higher ratio of graduate students to undergraduates,” he said.

The university hopes to move away for their heavy reliance on the Campus Alberta Grant. Those grants have seen significant cuts over the last two years.

The Campus Alberta Grant is the money provided by the province to Alberta’s post secondary schools.

U of C plans to increase total revenue to $2 billion through alternative revenue sources. It also calls for an increase in the amount invested by the school, per student, from $45,000 to $54,000.

It’s unclear what the alternative revenue sources will be at this time, as they weren’t outlined by McCauley.

“We need to insulate our university from the local economic fluctuations, by increasing the amount of revenue coming from outside of Alberta,” McCauley said.

U of C’s unions hoped to see more

U of C Faculty Association President Paul Rogers said faculty and staff aren’t satisfied with the new plan. They also didn’t get a chance to be involved early on.

“I think the association will be really disappointed that this is coming so late in the academic year,’ he said

“So the academic governance bodies aren’t going to be involved and haven’t been involved in this so far.”

Rogers said the whole process is underdeveloped, leaving him questioning the actual focus of U of C’s strategy.

“Something that jumps out from the slideshow is there is this, overemphasis on branding and academic decision-making tables,” he said.

“I really hear the word branding crop up. It seems like a very corporate and product-focused way of doing this.”

Marley Gillies, Vice President External for the U of C’s Student Union, said she hopes student experience is still a priority within the plan.

“We are looking to see that the student experience is prioritized looking forward and how the value of the university is displayed, through that student experience,” she said.

“We want to see how they’ll maintain quality across the board in all programs, while still going through this expansion.”