UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz has released and fully endorsed the recommendations from the independent fact-finding review about the Department of Athletics and Recreation, prepared by Dave MacNeill.
“I have always said my priority would be to spend time with faculty, staff, students, and members of the PEI community to realize key issues of importance from their perspectives. And very clearly, a successful Athletics program at UPEI matters greatly to the community we serve,” commented President Abd-El-Aziz.
The President noted that through this review process and the events that led to it, senior administration at UPEI now, not only fully understands the issues the Department has faced, but also more fully appreciates the important role Athletics can contribute to a positive university-community connection.
The University appreciates and respects the report’s recommendations and has developed an implementation time line for each recommendation that is based upon University policies and procedures as well as its financial situation. The recommendations are:
• Establish an Athletics Advisory Board
• Establish a fundraising sub-committee of the Board of Governors
• Appoint a dedicated Development Officer to the Department
• Secure long-term stable leadership and staffing within the Department
• Develop an Athletic Financial Aid stability model
• Implement transparent, accountable financial policies
• Review and adjust coaching salaries
In a clear demonstration of the University’s commitment to change, the Athletics Advisory Board will be chaired by President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. The fundraising sub-committee will be chaired by Bruce Donaldson, the current UPEI women’s hockey coach, who was recently named the Associate Director of Development for the University, starting in October. Donaldson is the long-time and current Branch Manager for TD Canada Trust in Charlottetown.
As the University acts on these recommendations, the Department will be directed by a transition team co-led by the Vice-President, Administration and Finance Jackie Podger, and the Manager, Campus and Community Recreation Stephanie Knickle.
The transition team has been put in place as Bill Schurman, the current Department director, recently informed the University that he will not be available to continue in the position. The University thanks Schurman for his tremendous contribution while UPEI navigated through difficult financial times across all departments.
“Billy was asked to come into a department under tough financial circumstances and effect change. He balanced the budget for the Department and his contributions will live on and serve the Department well into the future. We wish him well,” said Podger.
A comprehensive search for a new Director of Athletics and Recreation will take place.
Summary of Recommendations: Department of Athletics and Recreation Review
1. Establish an Athletics Advisory Board
UPEI establish an Athletic Advisory Board consisting of people from the community who are recognized as leaders with knowledge of the university and community sport delivery system. The purpose of the Board would be to act as a liaison between UPEI and the greater Island sport community which could act as a resource for planning or implementing services or programs, serve as a mechanism to exchange ideas and also as a communication vehicle between athletics and the greater community.
Implementation Date: September 15, 2014
2. Establish a Fundraising Sub-Committee of the Board
This committee would be populated by 2-3 individuals from the community with marketing and fundraising experience who would work with the UPEI Department of Development and Alumni Engagement to spearhead the raising of dollars for Athletics.
Implementation Date: October 31, 2014
3. Appoint a dedicated Development Officer
The development officer would work with the Department of Development and Alumni Engagement to raise funds for athletics, incorporating a planned, professional approach that would ensure growth and sustainability for the Athletics department.
Implementation Date: Will be determined by sub-committee
4. Secure long-term stable leadership and staffing within the Department
A review of the organizational structure to determine job functions and skill sets is required to ensure consistency and efficiency within the department. Appropriate staffing levels need to be determined and recruitment of individuals possessing the required skills and abilities will continue to enable athletics to move forward.
Implementation Date: Will be determined by transition team and advisory board
5. Develop an Athletic Financial Aid stability model
UPEI fund as part of the operational budget “AFA Scholarship Amounts” using the following formula: market driven sports (basketball and hockey) be funded at 60% of the CIS cap; high performance sport (soccer) be funded at 35% of the CIS cap. These two formulas would be in place for the next three years. Currently the CIS limit is close to $500k, while this amount may be a noble goal for student-athlete support, it is not realistic given the financial realities of UPEI. The formula creates a framework around the amount that UPEI could contribute for three years. The funding of the Athletic Financial Aid stability model will be dependent upon the success of the fundraising sub-committee outlined in Recommendation #2 and must be considered in the context of all of the University’s high priority needs as a part of the University budget process that begins in October. Implementation Date: Process starts in October 2014
6. Implement transparent, accountable financial policies
The University must put an accounting specialist in the department who can interpret and align the numbers with the UPEI accounting office. This person must be able to move the expenditure and revenue items from the department quickly to accounting to ensure that numbers are relevant. They must also be able to easily translate the revenue and expenditure information in a timely manner to coaches and booster groups.
Implementation Date: September 2014
7. Review and adjust coaching salaries
It is time to review the present level of coaching salaries and develop a plan to move through a fair and reasonable salary scale over a period of time. The plan should not create issues with the departmental operating budget.
Implementation Date: UPEI Human Resources will review salaries in the region and report to the transition team by September 30, 2014.
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