University of Saskatchewan town hall focuses on TransformUS

Saskatoon –  Members of the University of Saskatchewan campus community attended a financial town hall today to hear about progress towards the university’s goal of financial sustainability by 2016.

The focus was on TransformUS, an initiative underway at the university to prioritize all of its programs and services in order to invest in its most important work.

"We know these are challenging times for members of our campus community –  our faculty, our staff and our students –  as we wait to learn the outcomes of TransformUS," said Provost and Vice-President Academic Brett Fairbairn.

"We are doing this for a reason and we want to take the time to do this right. We are confident the changes we undertake will strengthen us as one of Canada's top universities and place us in a financial situation where we are free to capitalize on opportunities, invest in our priorities and excel in our research and learning mandates."

The U of S will be releasing two TransformUS reports on December 9, 2013 – one will outline recommended resource changes to  academic programs and the other to administrative services. These recommendations will be presented to President Ilene Busch-Vishniac by two independent internal task forces, and are the first steps in deciding on how resources are allocated to programs and services at the university.

The goal of TransformUS is to reduce the operating budget by $20-25 million per year, with up to $5 million reinvested in the highest priority programs. Decisions will be announced in May 2014.

"In addition to TransformUS, we are looking at multiple strategies to not only reduce expenses but also increase our revenue," added Greg Fowler, vice-president finance and resources at the town hall meeting. "We are not alone in our financial challenges as a post-secondary institution, but what makes us unique is the time we have to make the best decisions to secure our long-term financial sustainability."


For more information, contact:

Jennifer Robertson

Communications Officer

Institutional Planning and Assessment


Financial sustainability by 2016

In May 2012, the university projected a $44.5 million gap between revenue and expenditures by 2016 if no actions were taken. To ensure the long term financial sustainability of the university, the university launched operating budget adjustments – a strategic, multi-pronged approach to addressing financial sustainability by 2016 and beyond. Actions taken in 2012/13 will make a $15.5 million permanent improvement in the university's operating budget beginning in 2013-14. For more information and updates, visit

About TransformUS

TransformUS, under the direction of President Ilene Busch-Vishniac, is a process in which all academic and support service programs supported by the operating budget will be reviewed simultaneously and equally against criteria that will be developed by two task forces. The Academic Program Transformation Task Force will set criteria and review all academic programs offered through the university. The Support Service Transformation Task Force will set criteria and review the administrative support programs within both the academic units and the administrative units. Both task forces will provide a prioritization report to the President's Office by November 30, 2013. Following receipt of the reports of the task forces, decisions will be made by the governing bodies of the university to invest resources, make no changes, or eliminate or reduce programs or activities that rank as having lower priority according to these criteria.

TransformUS is targeted to achieve $20–25 million in savings annually once fully implemented. Of this, a minimum of $5 million will be made available for new investments in the highest-ranking academic programs and administrative services.
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