Board Highlights ‑ June 26, 2018

- June 28, 2018

Following each meeting of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors, Dal News highlights some of the presentations and decisions made.

The Board of Governors is responsible for the overall conduct, management, administration and control of the property, revenue, business and affairs of the university. It represents the interests of the university, carrying out its responsibilities through a stewardship role (delegating day-to-day management to the president and senior administration). Its membership currently includes three ex officio members (the president, chancellor and chair of Senate), eleven Order-in-Council members and additional representatives appointed by alumni, students, faculty and the Board itself.

The Board has six standing committees: Academic & Student Affairs; Capital Projects and Facilities; Community Affairs; Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk; Governance and Human Resources; and the Board Executive. While these committees meet regularly through the year, the Board as a whole meets five times a year between September and June.

New Sexualized Violence Policy approved

The Board approved the new Sexualized Violence Policy for Dalhousie. The policy was previously approved by Senate in April. For more on the new policy, read our Dal News story about its approval.

University operating budget approved

The Board approved the Dalhousie operating budget for 2018-19. The budget is balanced with revenues and expenditures totaling $428.4 million.

Revenue increases in the budget include $2.1 million (1%) increase in provincial funding; $9.8 million in tuition revenue from enrolment changes in 2017-18 combined with the 3% general increase approved at the April Board meeting; and $1.1 million more in endowment support. Expenditures include $8.7 million in annual salary and benefit increases; $750,000 base increase for student assistance ($500,000 from the operating budget, $250,000 from the endowment fund); $1 million more for campus renewal; $1.4 million for Information Technology Requirements and $3.1 million allowed to strategic initiatives.

The full operating budget can be reviewed at

Budget surplus to support student bursaries, Faculty budgets, other priorities

The Board also reviewed Dalhousie’s 2017-18 Annual Financial Report. The report notes that the university ended up with a net budget surplus last year of $7.4 million. This surplus is largely the result of two factors:

  • Larger-than-forecast international student enrolment leading to increased tuition revenue ($3.8 million)
  • A reduction in required pension contributions from the university ($3.1 million, based on revised funding requirements from the March 31, 2017 actuarial valuation)

While Dalhousie’s budgeting occasionally results in a year-end surplus, a surplus of this size is rare. (The previous year’s surplus, for example, was only $770,000.) The planned allocation of these funds is based on priorities identified through the ongoing Budget Advisory Committee process — with a particular focus on financial support for students and funding for academic units and faculty renewal.
“It provides us with an opportunity to address some of our budget pressures that have been identified by students, deans and other university leaders,” explains Ian Nason, vice-president finance and administration, “as well as other pressing priorities facing the university.”
The funds will be allocated on a one-time basis to the following:

  • Student assistance: $2 million for bursaries to support students in financial need, to be distributed over the next five years.
  • Faculty budgets: $1.8 million to be returned to Faculties to support of teaching and research. (Faculty budgets were cut by $3.6M, or 1.8%, in 2017-18.)
  • Academic faculty renewal: $1.5 million provision to support academic renewal through an incentive program as agreed with the Dalhousie Faculty Association during collective bargaining
  • Campus accessibility: $1 million to address priority projects arising from the introduction of the new provincial Accessibility Act
  • Information technology: $700,000 for improvements in IT infrastructure (in addition to increased IT funding allocated in the operating budget)
  • Reserve funds: The remaining $462,000 will go into the university’s reserve funds, which are available on a one-time basis to address pressing budget shortfalls or challenges.

The full Annual Financial Report can be reviewed at the Financial Services website.

Indigenous acknowledgement

The Board approved the wording of an Indigenous acknowledgement statement for use at its meetings and official events. The statement, supported by Dalhousie’s Indigenous Advisory Council, is consistent with statements currently used by Senate and at Convocation, and it’s anticipated that it will be adopted by other bodies and individuals for use at ceremonies and events across the university. It reads:

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.

Board business

The Board approved the nomination of two new Governor in Council members, filling positions that are currently vacant. The nominations are for a three-year term beginning July 1:

  • Chris Huskilson, recently retired after a long career with Nova Scotia Power and Emera, most recently served as CEO of Emera since 2004. He serves on many for-profit and not-for-profit Board of Directors, and is past chair of the Greater Halifax Partnership. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame last year.
  • Joyce Hoeven is currently an independent financial and tax advisor to a number of domestic and foreign corporations, with a particular emphasis on Canadian and international taxation matters related to acquisitions and divestitures. She also currently serves as a trustee for the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation.  

Additionally, the Board approved the appointment of Candace Thomas (partner, Stewart McKelvey law firm) as vice-chair of the Board of Governors for a one-year term beginning July 1. She replaces Bob Hanf, whose term is set to conclude on June 30.

The Board also approved chairs for each of its standing committees for the upcoming year:

•    Academic and Student Affairs: Bob Hanf
•    Finance, Audit, Investment and Risk: Joyce Carter
•    Capital Projects and Facilities: Aubrey Palmeter
•    Community Affairs: Sherry Porter
•    Governance and Human Resources: Candace Thomas
•    Board Executive: Larry Stordy

Other items

The Board approved two matters moved from recent Senate meetings: a new MSc program in Business and the termination of the Diagnostic Cytology program.

Approved minutes for Dalhousie Board of Governors meetings are published on DalSpace. Learn more about the Board at its website.


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