4 thoughts on “Opinion: Queen’s tries to stem concerns about its future

  • I have zero faith that Queen’s administration isn’t trying to use this to close down underperforming disciplines (you know… the humanities) so they can concentrate on the faculties that really bring in the dough like Engineering and Commerce. I surmise that the success of their trial balloon of destroying the Fine Arts program has emboldened them to start working their way down the list. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising given the continuing progression of the North American university system from a collection of schools to a collection of investment funds with an educational side piece mainly kept to wring additional revenue from taxpayers.

  • Thank you for pointing out the role of the budget model in the current crisis at Queen’s. As you make clear, the “crisis” is really focused on one faculty, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and is an artifact of budgeting practices that Provost Evans presents as facts of nature, but which are actually under his control. Specifically, the rate of “taxation” of the Faculties is very low, as even the consulting firm which helped implement the model and reviewed observed. There is no reason why it can’t be significantly higher so that monies are available to central administration not just for shared services but for program cross-subsidies. As you point out, all knowledge endeavours rely on each other. Such an adjustment would restore power to the central administration, and end the absurd situation that Evans extols where his hands are tied and the fate of the humanities are in the hands of the Deans of the School of Business and Engineering and Applied Science.

  • Well said Anne.
    In the community at large Queen’s is seen as a miserly institution squeezing pennies out of every possible interaction. Having said that it’s easy to see that the drop in revenue from tuitions (thanks Doug Ford) and international students via the pandemic is having a challenging effect. Since this has been a developing situation, I’m wondering why actions were’nt taken earlier rather than waiting till this 50 million deficit.

  • Do Engineering and Commerce “really bring in the dough”? I would think that would be humanities and social sciences, based on their class sizes. Wouldn’t the university get more money by squeezing ever more bodies in to be dealt with by a single lecturer/prof? I would love to see the University be forced to jettison those fields that don’t really have any demonstrably beneficial effect on society.
    Look around. Kingston is a small city with a huge and prestigious university. Surely that makes Kingston the test case for the benefits of Universities. Shouldn’t we have the best urban planning, the most responsive and egalitarian government, the sturdiest infrastructure and the most inventive and lucrative businesses. We don’t even have enough doctors.
    But we don’t, do we?

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