Ideas ranging from cutting jobs to doing away with paper and even applying for a federal license to grow marijuana are being pitched by members of the University of Calgary community as the institution works to bridge multi-million-dollar funding gap.
Senior officials launched an internal forum to generate cost-saving and money-making ideas the day of U of C’s first budget town hall last month, where it was revealed a 7.3 per cent cut to provincial grant funding will drain $110 million in expected funding from the school over the next four years.
On Thursday, two weeks after its launch, A student provided Metro a peek at the university’s IdeaScale site, which is only open to those with a valid ucalgary.ca email address. Once inside, members are able to post ideas and then vote for or against others.
“The IdeaScale comments and suggestions will play a large role in the restructuring of the university,” said university vice-president and academic provost Dru Marshall in an email. “The site has also provided an opportunity to learn where more information is required in order for us to make informative decisions.”
The most popular pitches as of Thursday evening were “Cut Administrative Positions” and “Retirement Incentive for Faculty.” The latter focused on providing better end-of-career packages to convince longtime — and high-paid — faculty to sail off into the sunset a little earlier.
On the other end of the spectrum, ideas like cutting 2-3 days of paid vacation for faculty and terminating the Dinos sports program entirely had faced sharp opposition.
“Produce wealth or be culled,” one member bluntly stated in their pitch to do away with the Faculty of Arts.
Other pitches receiving mixed support included charging a premium fee for high-speed WiFi, installing the university’s own photo-radar systems, establishing an school-exclusive taxi licence — similar to the Calgary International Airport’s arrangement with Associated Cabs, and offering up wedding packages for “elegant” locations on campus.
Students’ Union head Hardave Birk conceded that while some of the pitches may be a little too off-the-wall, he hopes senior administrators are paying attention.
“There are definitely some ideas on there they may not have thought of,” he said.
The IdeaScale site will remain active until April 30. As of Thursday, 130 ideas had been pitched and nearly 6,700 votes had been cast.
Some of the other IdeaScale pitches (and their accompanying rationales from submitters)
Maybe take a look at lighting….the corridor in MFH (near Tim Horton’s) has floor to ceiling windows with lots of light coming in and all the lights are on! Of course, have lighting when it is dark and for safety/security reasons, but there is daylight pouring in in that building (and perhaps others).
Set up working from home
For jobs that don’t require direct contact with people. This would be cost saving on all levels as well as have more office space available, saves on electricity if areas are not used, more room for students.
University borders two large freeways – sell ad space
Create permanent structures for displaying changing electronic advertising that face onto Crowchild Trail and Shaganappi Trail. Sell ads
Paper towel free washroom
There are hand dryers in every single washroom. Why spend money on paper towel when everyone can blow dry their hands…
Podcast high demand/enrollment classes
Some classes could be taught via podcast (Intro courses with high demand or large enrollment) to increase the enrollment capacity of the courses while not greatly increasing the work load of professors.
Pay-per-use electricity outlet
For those who like to plug in their notebooks at the Unversity.
Partner with City of Calgary Parking Authority
Adopt the Calgary Parking Authority system as it is far less error prone and is cheaper to operate; very streamlined processes and require significant less manpower and other resources to generate tickets. Reduce the complaints re: Campus Parking false negatives due to power outages or mechanical failure due to cold (like Arts 2nd floor) Thus, reduce the number of office staff needed to respond to issues and reduce the number of appeals
Cut back on being green
Adopt the Calgary Parking Authority system as it is far less error prone and is cheaper to operate; very streamlined processes and require significant less manpower and other resources to generate tickets. Reduce the complaints re: Campus Parking false negatives due to power outages or mechanical failure due to cold (like Arts 2nd floor) Thus, reduce the number of office staff needed to respond to issues and reduce the number of appeals.