Letters to the editor – May 18, 2018

College of Agriculture

In your recent story on the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan(WP, April 20), your correspondent quotes critics who believe the university has unjustly penalized the college in its recent budget decisions. I want to emphasize three points.

First, no one should infer from these differential reductions that the university does not value the work of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. It is, as the dean has described, a significant research engine. I won’t enumerate all of the transformative work accomplished within the college, but it is truly impressive.

Second, the university has been working for many years on a budgetary model that would take into account research excellence, teaching activity and the costs of program delivery.

We never dreamed that the first time we used the model it would be to allocate reductions in budgets, but your readers should know that our approach to the budget was to use all the evidence we could and that no college or school escaped the budget crunch.

The fact that Agriculture and Bioresources has reserves and alternate sources of funding allowed us to ask that this college bear a larger part of the burden than most, but please don’t lose sight of the larger picture: this is the biggest reduction in the operating grant to the University of Saskatchewan since the Great Depression.

Finally, this is just one budget year and while Agriculture and Bioresources is being asked to do with less, this is a college with enormous assets, not the least of which is the ingenuity of its faculty and staff.

We will do everything we can to work with the college to ease the impact of these decisions and to help it plan for a bright future. The university is grateful to the college for the sacrifices it is making in helping all of us get through a very difficult period.

Peter Stoicheff,
President,
University of Saskatchewan

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