By Chris Adams
Recent provincial budget cuts are not holding the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business back from expanding the size of its faculty and staff.
Earlier this month, Haskayne announced they are hiring 13 new employees, including three centre directors, nine assistant professors and a new instructor — the largest round of hiring the school has seen in over a decade.
“This marks a very important move forward,” said Haskayne School of Business dean Jim Dewald. “We are very focused on getting new, young faculty that have very active research programs that already fit within our strategic direction.”
This hiring comes in the midst of the provincial government’s recent slashing of the U of C’s budget by $41 million, representing a decrease of over seven per cent in operational funding. However, plans to hire new faculty members were conceived last fall as a result of a review of the bachelor of commerce program. According to Dewald, this hiring is essential if both Haskayne’s and the university’s strategic plans are to be pursued.
“None of the decisions were made in response to the budget, however we did have to cut in other areas to continue to support the nine assistant professor positions,” said Dewald. “Under President [Elizabeth] Cannon and Provost [Dru] Marshall’s direction, we maintained the new hires as a top priority.”
Of the 10 new faculty members, seven are replacing retiring faculty while three will fill entirely new roles at Haskayne. Funding for two of the three new centre directors, along with the new instructor, are coming entirely from donor contributions which were received after the budget.
Students’ Union vice-president academic Emily Macphail acknowledged that hiring new staff can be difficult when money is tight.
“With the budget cuts, it is difficult when you are thinking of hiring anyone,” Macphail said. “But at the same time, we really want to be keeping up the quality of education.”
Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership director Jennifer Krahn talked about the new courses that will come with the hirings.
“We have two new courses in the first year. A key focus there is ethics and another is leadership,” Krahn said. “They are essentially leadership courses with a strong focus on ethics.”
One new course with this directive is also being added for fourth-year students.
CCAL is receiving $9.5 million in funding over a 10-year period from a group of four donors: the Viewpoint Foundation, ARC Resources Ltd., ARC Financial Corp. and the Brown Family Foundation.
Kimberley Neutens, the director for the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Haskayne, said the centre will also be adding further coursework for students, including two additional first-year business classes.
“Entrepreneurial thinking is a skill set that, across the board, is beneficial not only for people who want to start their own businesses but who are thinking about corporate opportunities as well,” Neutens said. “All of the bachelor of commerce students who start in the fall will be the first group of students where everyone is exposed to this concept.”
Macphail said that students’ response to the incoming directors has, for the most part, been positive.
“The two students that I was discussing this with from Haskayne were thinking that it was quite good that they fit within the framework,” she said.
“Overall, if you are bringing in experts in their field for students to be learning from, that is a wonderful thing.”