Message from the President and Operating Budget Presentation
The University of Prince Edward Island is a vital part of the PEI landscape—bringing educational opportunity, cultural enrichment, population and diversity enhancement, and economic advancement to the province.
The past semester has been challenging, but our UPEI community—in particular, our students—has been resilient. I want to acknowledge the efforts of UPEI Senators in crafting an end of semester plan that puts the interests of students first and foremost. I also appreciate the hard work that many faculty members put in to end the semester as positively as possible for our students.
This past week, we celebrated our students at four Convocation ceremonies. This is the best time of the year and reminds us all why each of us do what we do for the University. Congratulations to the Class of 2023! You are to be commended for your Panther pride and spirit.
This is also the time of year when we have our budget for the fiscal year approved. I am pleased to report that last evening, May 23, the UPEI Board of Governors passed a balanced operating budget for the 2023–24 fiscal year. Embedded in our 2023–24 budget plan is a strong commitment to investing in transformational initiatives that align with the values that guide our work, while at the same time enhancing the student experience.
In the President's message, he invited the campus community to an Operating Budget Presentation on Thursday, May 25, at the Atlantic Veterinary College. A recording of the presentation is available for those who could not attend in person or watch live on Zoom.
This year’s budget captures substantial growth in both revenues and expenses associated with the new residence and the AVC veterinary teaching hospital, as well as health professions training at UPEI. Like other areas of our society, UPEI is facing inflationary pressures. The University continues to seek efficiencies to keep costs low and maintain the lowest proportion of its budget spent on administration among regional comparator universities (Canadian Association of University Business Officers).
With the generous support of the Government of PEI, we have been able to maintain tuition increases at the previously communicated 4.0 per cent ($26 increase per three-credit course). Growth in international fees will also rise 4.0 per cent, while tuition for both domestic and international students at AVC will rise 6.0 per cent. While any increase is not desirable, we have done our best to balance revenues to keep tuition increases as low as possible.
Supporting our students remains our first and foremost priority, and another way we do that is by creating an inclusive campus culture. In February 2021, UPEI launched its first institutional equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy. It was a major step forward. The EDI Strategy was a natural development flowing from the UPEI Strategic Plan (2018–2023) where we identified inclusion, equity, and reconciliation as institutional values, and building an inclusive campus culture as a priority for UPEI. I am pleased to announce that our first EDI Strategy progress report is now available. I thank all the faculty and staff who saw the EDI Strategy as an opportunity, identified how it related to their role, and have taken action to move UPEI forward together. While we have made important strides forward, there is much work to be done and we will continue to move forward.
Our efforts at equity, diversity, inclusion, and reconciliation, along with being accountable and fiscally responsible, are important aspects of building a welcoming and inclusive environment and preserving UPEI’s integrity as a place of higher learning.
Together, we are taking important steps forward in becoming an even better University that serves the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff. Let’s keep the momentum going.
GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
University of Prince Edward Island