RDC working to avoid job and program cuts

Now that they’ve had time to assess the impact of the latest provincial budget, Red Deer College has developed a multi-year planning scenario that officials say will help address a funding shortfall, assist with university transition and ensure future sustainability.

RDC President Dr. Peter Nunoda says they’ve gathered additional information and had talks with the province in the five weeks since the budget was tabled allowing them to plan for both the present and future.

“The College has already discovered efficiencies, which will help to minimize the impact of the budget challenges,” he says.

RDC has created a budget plan to realize savings for this fiscal year (July 2019 to June 2020), as well as a three-year fiscal sustainability plan starting in the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

This year’s budget plan addresses RDC’s 2.4 per cent ($1.2 million) reduction to the Campus Alberta Grant, and that they are looking at several key areas for cost savings.

Dr. Nunoda says the cost reductions will not impact services and programming to students.

“When it comes to staffing, we’re being strategic with reviewing vacancies, and we’ve implemented a three-month delay for hiring new staff for vacant budgeted positions. But, we do not plan to make workforce reduction our primary solution in our 2019-20 budget.”

RDC has undertaken efficiency and process reviews through the Lean Six Sigma model for the past several months, and implementation of these projects will result in business improvements and cost savings. They say all non-contractual operating costs will be reviewed to determine which expenditures can be delayed, eliminated or reduced.

The three-year scenario plan is based on projected Campus Alberta Grant reductions of between three to five per cent each year for the next three fiscal years. Strategies to address these reductions include:

increasing domestic student enrolment in RDC’s current and future programs, such as proposed bachelor degrees in Arts, Education, Science (majoring in Biological Sciences) and Business Administration

international student enrolment growth; an international office is being created to support students

increasing tuition for domestic and international students, with the recent elimination of the tuition freeze by the Government of Alberta

increased revenue in ancillary services activities, employer partnerships and business and industry partnerships. This includes areas such as growth in conference and event hosting, applied research and development projects where RDC has proven success collaborating with businesses and entrepreneurs in our region, and corporate training.

Reducing operating costs by continuing with Lean Six Sigma projects, allowing the College to be more efficient and to be positioned for university growth with minimal growth in administrative burden

“The College is a strong, well-managed institution, and although we will undoubtedly have some challenges, we are well positioned to navigate a tough provincial budget,” says Dr. Nunoda. “I look forward to leading our institution through this time of transformative change to ensure our fiscal sustainability to best serve our learners and communities now and in future years.”

(With file from RDC media release)