report of the task force on graduate student funding september 2007 by housework

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									REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON GRADUATE STUDENT FUNDING

SEPTEMBER 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................... 2 Recommendations ......................................................................................................................... 3 I Need for Funding.................................................................................................................... 3 II Sources of New Funding ....................................................................................................... 3 III Funding Scenarios................................................................................................................ 3 IV Capacity Planning and Impact on Funding Sustainability................................................... 4 Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 5 Part I: Need for Funding ............................................................................................................... 6 Funding and Scholarship Support............................................................................................. 8 Competitive Analysis................................................................................................................ 9 Priorities.................................................................................................................................. 12 Summary................................................................................................................................. 13 Part II: Sources of New Funding................................................................................................. 14 The University Budget............................................................................................................ 14 Fundraising ............................................................................................................................. 15 Provincial Government ........................................................................................................... 16 Summary................................................................................................................................. 16 Part III: Funding Scenarios ......................................................................................................... 17 Funding Targets: Students ...................................................................................................... 17 Funding Targets: Recommended Policies .............................................................................. 18 Summary................................................................................................................................. 19 Funding Options and Projected Costs..................................................................................... 19 Part IV: Capacity Planning and Impact on Funding Sustainability............................................. 20 Summary................................................................................................................................. 21 Part V: Summary of Findings ..................................................................................................... 23 Part VI: Where do we go from here? .......................................................................................... 25 Appendices.................................................................................................................................. 26 Appendix I. Task Force and Process...................................................................................... 27 Appendix II. FGS Scholarship Allocation ............................................................................. 28 Appendix III. Funding Sources for Dalhousie Graduate Students.......................................... 29 Appendix IV. Survey of Graduate Students .......................................................................... 31 Appendix V. Graduate Enrolments 2000-2006 ...................................................................... 36 Footnote Citations ....................................................................................................................... 37 Related Documents ..................................................................................................................... 37

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Dalhousie University depends on graduate students to help it achieve its critical mission as a centre of research, teaching and service. Graduate students work with faculty members to investigate the wide range of subjects that make Dalhousie internationally respected and renowned. Graduate students in many disciplines work as teaching assistants, directly influencing the quality of undergraduate education. Dalhousie’s graduates contribute services and knowledge that meet economic and social needs in an increasingly competitive economy. Without a strong and vibrant cohort of graduate students, the University can not achieve its mission. The reputation, competitiveness and societal contribution of the University rely on our ability to attract and retain the best possible graduate students. Competitive Context: In an increasingly aggressive market for high quality graduate students in Canada, the funding packages that Dalhousie makes available to graduate students prove less and less competitive. The provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia have initiated bold recruitment strategies to greatly increase graduate enrolment and graduate student support. Even before other provinces complete their new investments Dalhousie has fallen far behind its comparator institutions in funding offers to graduate students. Dalhousie’s tuition levels are the highest in the country, compounding the challenge of attracting students. International students face high differential fees. In this competitive context Dalhousie University must adapt its funding strategies in order to attract high quality graduate students to our programs and to retain our share of students seeking further education. Student Experience: High tuition and funding shortfalls undermine the quality of the graduate student experience at Dalhousie. The Task Force conducted a survey of graduate students that revealed the negative attitudes that are developing among students. Some students told the Task Force that they have warned other potential students that the funding at Dalhousie is not adequate. One said, “If I could do it again I would definitely choose to pursue my graduate studies at another Canadian university that provides adequate student funding.” Problems with insufficient funding undermine Dalhousie’s reputation and growing student frustration erodes the good will of students and alumni towards Dalhousie. High tuition, high differential fees, inadequate space and insufficient funding are as important as the reputation of the University when students make their decisions on which university to attend. In a context where the student experience is central to the ability of the University to attract graduate students and maintain their good will towards Dalhousie, the funding problem becomes an important institutional dilemma. Providing adequate and competitive levels of funding to our graduate students has a significance that extends far beyond the well being of individual recipients. The funding of graduate students goes to the core of Dalhousie’s identity, reputation, and capacity. We need to resolve the funding shortfall because so much is at stake: the well being and future good will of students; the scholarly mission of the university; Dalhousie’s reputation provincially, regionally, nationally and internationally; the quality of undergraduate education; and Dalhousie’s continued success as a “research engine” in Nova Scotia.

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RECOMMENDATIONS
I NEED FOR FUNDING Recommendation 1. Priority in new graduate funding be given to recruiting and retaining high quality students in graduate programs. Recommendation 2. Priority for the use of new graduate funding be given to improving the stipends of graduate students in this order: PhD, research intensive Master’s (thesis and comparable), and other Master’s. II SOURCES OF NEW FUNDING Recommendation 3. University Funds be provided to increase funds available to attract the best students. This can be accomplished by establishing a Tuition Award program for high quality new PhD students, by re-establishing the value of the FGS Scholarship Allocation, by initiating a program of Graduate Entrance Scholarships, and by increasing the Teaching Assistant(TA) budget for those Faculties dependent on TAships in running their programs. Recommendation 4. The Capital Campaign commit to raising funds to create competitive Graduate Scholarship Endowments. Recommendation 5. The University join with other Nova Scotian universities to present the case for a Provincial Graduate Scholarship initiative to the Nova Scotia government through CONSUP. III FUNDING SCENARIOS Recommendation 6. A university wide minimum funding level and multiyear guarantee policy be established for PhD programs. Recommendation 7. Each PhD program establish a Guaranteed PhD Funding Package, which stipulates the minimum stipend, at or above the University minimum, for students in that program. Recommendation 8. Minimum stipends at the Master’s level reflect disciplinary practice. They are recommended for the research intensive programs. Recommendation 9. Programs may accept students as Unfunded, where this funding status has clear meaning with respect to expectations of university funds throughout a student’s program.

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IV CAPACITY PLANNING AND IMPACT ON FUNDING SUSTAINABILITY Recommendation 10. Individual programs develop enrolment plans based on their capacity to support graduate students in terms of space, funding, and faculty supervision. University funding to support graduate students would be conditional on university approval of the enrolment plan. Recommendation 11. The impact of new programs on University and FGS funding resources (including entrance scholarships, tuition bursaries and FGS allocation) MUST be considered before such programs are approved by FGS and by Senate. This may result in two kinds of new programs: a) Funded programs: Programs that have access to university funds to support graduate students i. programs that have no net negative impact on these resources ii. programs that have an accepted strategic importance to the university b) Unfunded programs: Programs that will operate without university student funding resources.

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INTRODUCTION
In the fall of 2006 a task force1 was established by the Vice President Academic, chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, with a mandate to “examine issues related to a crisis in funding for graduate students at Dalhousie University.” Robust graduate student funding, in part from Killam Trust funds, was once one of Dalhousie’s strong assets. Graduate student funding has, however, come under increasing pressure. Critical to Dalhousie’s continued success in attracting and retaining the best students at all levels, graduate student funding is now a dangerous weakness. Historically, graduate student funding at Dalhousie has been supported by Killam funds, Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarship funds, and individual faculty member grants. The Killam Trust funds provide resources for roughly 100 Master’s and PhD level scholarships and supplement the Faculty of Graduate Studies funds for general graduate scholarships. The Faculty of Graduate Studies scholarships are based on a redistribution formula, reviewed in 2006, that has served for many years the purpose of dividing the pool of money available in a way that guarantees programs a degree of stability, while nevertheless also allowing a small shift of funding toward programs that attract higher proportions of excellent students. The formula achieved two major objectives, rewarding excellence and maintaining programs. As the number and quality of students grew, however, a limited “pie” has had to be sliced more thinly (Appendix II). A review in 2005-2006 2 revealed the degree of seriousness of the problem in no uncertain language: “Our study has revealed a crisis that has begun to hamper, and has the potential to cripple, the contribution made by Graduate Studies to Dalhousie’s reputation as a center for research and scholarship”. The report concluded that the problem is not the formula itself, but that the University provides insufficient funds to support graduate students. The funds available for scholarship and graduate student support have not kept pace with the increase in numbers of scholarship-worthy students. The combined effect of increasing numbers of scholarship-level students, smaller increases in scholarship funds, and large increases in tuition has led to a dramatic erosion of our competitiveness. No one wins in this situation: not the students for whom funding available from Dalhousie is not enough to live on; not the programs, because they are unable to compete financially for the best students; and not the university. In trying to address the problems of funding, the Task Force has two objectives: first to assess the nature and scope of the funding problem and second to identify priorities and options for addressing the problem. Part I of this report, Need for Funding, identifies the different contexts of need and the priorities for new funding as the Task Force sees them. Part II, Sources of New Funding, identifies ways in which three sources of funding—the university’s budget, targeted fundraising, and the provincial government—could most usefully and most appropriately contribute jointly to meeting the range of needs identified. Part III, Funding Goals and Costs, identifies more specifically how these contributions could be directed to particular needs according to priority and what the costs would be to achieve specific goals. Part IV, Capacity Planning and Sustainability, addresses the critical issue of how to plan for graduate program development so that under funded growth does not undermine our efforts to make graduate funding at Dalhousie viable. Part V provides a summary of our findings and Part VI a roadmap on how we may proceed, as a community, to achieve these goals.

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Membership and process details are provided in Appendix I. Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Scholarship Allocation System Study, Ray Klien et al 2005-2006.

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PART I: NEED FOR FUNDING
Dalhousie University needs to fund graduate students because they are critical to the mission of the University, which is “to serve our students and society through education, research, and community development.3” Robust graduate programs are directly relevant to three of the seven strategic objectives of the university; enhance academic and research strength, enrich student experience, and build human resources. The objectives for establishing adequate funding for graduate students reflect those strategic objectives. Objectives of funding for graduate students: • To ensure that the University attracts and retains people who are qualified to contribute to research and creative activities and have the time and resources to engage in those activities. • To ensure that the University attracts and retains people who are qualified to contribute to the teaching activity and can be engaged in that capacity. • To ensure that the University attracts and retains people who are qualified to become contributors to society at large and have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to do so. Research and training, which are closely linked to each other, are integral to the mission of Dalhousie University and are important differentiating features of Dalhousie in the region. The recent invitation for Dalhousie to become a member of the G-13 group of Research Intensive Universities in Canada recognizes the success of our faculty and graduate students in research. NSERC has ranked Dalhousie, the smallest of the G-13, ninth in NSERC awards this year. The sustainability of this success is tightly coupled with our ability to continue to attract and retain the best of the best, both faculty and graduate students. If we cannot attract the best graduate students, we weaken our ability to attract and retain the best faculty members. That need for funding has different aspects, which can be seen from four different perspectives: national, provincial, university, and student. National: Dalhousie’s graduate programs have to be seen in a national context. We are competing for graduate students nationally, with Queen’s and UBC, Alberta, Western, and others. And within that context, the demand for graduate students has become voracious: in Alberta, driven by oil money; in British Columbia, driven by the need to compete with the neighbouring province; and, in Ontario, driven by the conclusions of the 2005 Bob Rae report that for demographic and economic reasons the province must double its number of graduate students within ten years.4 In all three provinces provincial scholarship money is flowing to attract graduate students. A growing investment by the federal government in scholarships for the very best of students (through the funding agencies SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) means that many students come to us bringing between $17,500 and $35,000 in annual scholarship money apiece. At the same time, in some disciplines, Dalhousie researchers or departments have to offer top-up money to attract these students to Dalhousie rather than lose them to our competitor institutions in other provinces. Researchers with SSHRC and NSERC funding cannot use those grants to top up students who hold scholarships from the same agency. This makes it even more difficult to compete with universities that can provide direct support to students.
Strategic Focus Report, T. Traves. 2007. [www.senioradministration.dal.ca/files/Strategic_Focus_Statistical_Report_June_2007_update%5B1%5 D.pdf] 4 R. Rae. Ontario, A Leader in Learning: Report and Recommendations, 87.
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Provincial: In Nova Scotia, provincial graduate scholarships do not exist. Yet graduate programs are key to much needed economic development. If it is true, as stated in the Rae report5, in Ontario that “the province needs to close the productivity gap with competing jurisdictions” such as states in the US with much higher proportions of graduate enrolment, it is all the more true for Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia we face the additional imperative to retain and attract more young adults here. As graduate students from French to Engineering to Occupational Therapy, intelligent young men and women commit themselves to living in the province for one to four or five years while they become more highly educated; some begin families here; many want to stay. University: Graduate students are essential to the functioning of Dalhousie University. At the most pragmatic levels, we need them as teaching assistants in undergraduate programs (especially in humanities) in order to enable larger classroom enrolments while maintaining academic rigour. Graduate students have a direct effect on the undergraduate student experience. We need them as research assistants to carry out laboratory and field research, as well as for tutorials and lab demonstrations. In both cases, it is essential to attract the best possible students: any mediocre teaching assistant or muddle-headed researcher hurts the university as a whole. And we need graduate students to attract and retain the best faculty members, who understandably want to teach and conduct research at the highest levels; for them too it is essential to attract the best possible students. Student: At current levels of funding, graduate students too often drag on past their target time of completion, living sometimes for years in a frustrating in-between state of part time labour and part time study. By definition, graduate students come to us with undergraduate degrees in hand and often carrying accumulated student loan debt. To illustrate, the CUSC Graduating Student Survey6 in 2006 found that students carried on average, $13,750 in accumulated debt upon graduation. Choosing graduate education over getting a “real” job should not be an economically ruinous prospect to them.7 Graduate tuition is well over $7,000 at Dalhousie, while a teaching assistant earns less than $5,000. The issue of funding is acute in the case of students whose fields of specialization do not lead straight to specific jobs, so that for them a commitment to graduate education is an economic gamble with many unknowns. But it is also a hard choice in the case of students whose fields can lead them straight to employment, where we may be competing not only against other institutions but also against the option of getting on with life. Accessibility is clearly an issue: it should not be only the well-heeled who can choose advanced scholarship; it must be only the well-qualified. Criteria for setting priorities: The primary goal of graduate student funding is to attract and retain students of the highest quality to graduate programs at Dalhousie in an increasingly competitive market. The best graduate students offer the greatest opportunity for contributions to research and teaching at a high level. The best graduate students attract the best faculty. The best graduate students have the best prospects of completing their graduate programs. Funding for highly qualified graduate students allows the University to pursue excellence.

R. Rae. Ontario, A Leader in Learning: Report and Recommendations, 87. CUSC Student Survey 2006, 82. 7 “The low income cut off for a single person living in Halifax in 2002 (the most recent year for which data is available) was $19,261 before-tax .” Minimum Wage Review Committee Report and Recommendation, report to the Nova Scotian Minister of Labour, March 2005, 7.
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Recommendation 1. Priority in new graduate funding be given to recruiting and retaining high quality students in graduate programs. To a survey that asked for our graduate students’ opinions about funding at Dalhousie, a strong response rate (39.7%) indicated a high degree of interest in the issue. Not surprisingly, there were many expressions of the need for more funding and lower tuition. Some of the comments indicate vividly how funding affect students’ lives. Let the students speak for themselves. From a PhD student: “If I could leave NS I could go to a university where the students are awarded what they are worth. It’s a sad state of affairs in this province.” From another PhD student: “If funding was increased to a realistic level then students would be able to spend more time working on research instead of working for food and complete their PhD earlier”. From another: “The cost of tuition, books, and other incurred costs, combined with regular costs of living presents a considerable barrier for graduate studies”. An international thesis Master’s degree student: “The international differential fee is too high for the international students especially for the students from developing countries.” More information from the Student Survey is found in Appendix IV. FUNDING AND SCHOLARSHIP SUPPORT Funding for graduate students is derived from a wide variety of sources, shown in Appendix III, including scholarships from university and endowment budgets, external national and provincial agencies, supervisor research grants, departmental funding and Teaching Assistantships. In 2006-07, financial support from all sources, internal and external, to Dalhousie graduate students exceeded 21 million dollars. The current minimum “full funding” levels suggested by FGS are $15,000 at the Master’s level and $17,500 at the Ph.D. level. These levels are not enforced as part of admission. Funding packages for full-time graduate students include funding from all sources including teaching assistantships. With current tuition levels this would leave funded students with living stipends of only $8,000 to $10,000 per year, well below the poverty level in Nova Scotia for a single person. During the 2005-06 academic year, the year used in the G-13 data, a total of 1420 graduate students received scholarships or other funding administered by FGS (of all kinds combined, but not including payments by external or foreign agencies directly to students). This translates into an average funding level of $20,896 per PhD student for those students receiving funding of any kind administered through the university and $11,498 for those thesis Master’s students receiving funding. These averages hide a range of funding levels from $40,000 to a few thousand and do not include students (almost half of the fulltime students) with no funding at all. Furthermore, these averages are well below our stated minimum funding goals and well below the low income cut off line.

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS How does the funding of graduate students at Dalhousie compare to other Canadian universities? For these comparisons we used a variety of information, including data found on university websites and data from the G-13 Universities, the top research intensive Canadian universities. Where possible we used the G-13 group as the comparator group. It must be noted that the G-13 funding data includes income from university-based employment including Teaching Assistantships and casual employment. Number and Proportion of Graduate Students: There are roughly two groups within the G-13 universities: those universities with graduate students making up less than 14% of the student body and those universities with graduate students making up more than 14%. Of the second group, Dalhousie is third highest in terms of proportion of graduate students at 20%, behind Université de Montreal and McGill. Tuition: In the G13, annual tuitions ranged from $7,581 for the PhD in Science at Dalhousie to $1,688 for the PhD at McGill, with average tuition of $4,415. Lower tuition is particularly attractive to students with portable and highly valued national scholarships, i.e., NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR.

Tuition PhDs
$8,000 $7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0

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Average Funding: At both the Master’s and PhD level Dalhousie is in the bottom third for average funding. Graduate funding for the three Quebec universities is understated by the amount of provincial bursaries that are provided directly to students and therefore are excluded from the G-13 data. Furthermore, tuitions at the three Quebec universities are significantly lower than at Dalhousie. At Dalhousie only 67% of the research Master’s students and 87% of the PhDs receive any funding. The following two charts are compiled using 2005-2006 data from the University of Western Ontario performance and activity indicators8. These charts show that Dalhousie lags all of the other G-13 universities except those in Quebec.

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UWO Performance and Activity Indicator Report.

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Average Financial Support per Masters Recipient in All Programs (Excluding Medical Science Programs) 2005-06 Waterloo Alberta McMaster Toronto Western Queen's UBC G13 Average Dalhousie McGill Laval Montreal
$$5,000 $10,000 $15,000 $20,000 $25,000

Average Support of G13 for Masters.
Average Financial Support per Doctoral Recipient in All Programs (Excluding Medical Science Programs) 2005-06
Waterloo Alberta McMaster Toronto Western Queen's UBC G13 Average Dalhousie McGill Laval Montreal
$$5,000 $10,000 $15,000 $20,000 $25,000 $30,000 $35,000

Average Support of G13 for PhDs.

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Net Stipend: The following chart, stipend minus tuition, shows the effect of high tuition on net stipend for PhD students for the G13 universities. We can see that Dalhousie students fare the poorest.

Funding lessTuition PhDs
$30,000 $25,000 $20,000 $15,000 $10,000 $5,000 $0

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Funding Sources: A recent survey on the CAGS list server of sources of graduate funding indicates that Dalhousie has relatively low TA/RA budgets compared to Alberta, UBC, and SFU and a relatively high reliance on the grants of individual supervisors to support graduate students. National Granting Council Scholarships: Dalhousie is competitive at the national scholarship level with NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR awards. YEAR 2006-07 2005-06 NSERC AWARDS 59 51 SSHRC AWARDS 35 15 CIHR AWARDS 15 13

Funding Guarantees: In the G-13 group four of the universities have guaranteed funding packages for PhD students, ranging from tuition at UBC to stipends, $12,000 to $15,000, at McMaster, Toronto, and Western, for up to four years. McMaster and Ottawa also offer guaranteed funding for high GPA Master’s students. Provincial Scholarships: Three provinces -- Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia -- have established graduate level Provincial Scholarship Programs. The Ontario plan provides for 2,000 awards of a maximum value of $15,000 per year with one third of the cost coming from the university. British Columbia offers provincial scholarships of $10,000. 10% of the graduate students in these provinces will receive this support. The students may apply from a wide range of programs at both the Master’s and PhD level. In Ontario, a student may not hold a provincial award simultaneously with SSHRC, NSERC, or CIHR scholarships. The Alberta Graduate Student Scholarship program now provides 1,000 scholarships for the second year of Master’s programs with a value of $2,000 per student. The Queen Elizabeth II

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Graduate Scholarships, part of the provincial scholarship program, are awarded to 30 graduate students, with values of $9,300 for Master’s students and $10,500 for PhD students. Provincial Strategic Initiatives: By providing targets and budget allocations to meet them, the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia, have introduced strategic initiatives to increase dramatically the number of graduate students. For example, in its 2005 Budget the Ontario government announced it would allocate over $200 million dollars to expand graduate education, adding capacity for 14,000 more students by 2010. British Columbia has funded an aggressive policy, Double the Opportunities, which provides funding for 2,500 new graduate seats. Not only “have” provinces have set aggressive graduate student initiatives: Memorial University’s new strategic plan includes increasing graduate seats from 2,300 to 3,900 over 5 years, which would bolster Memorial’s claim of being the largest university in the region. PRIORITIES Dalhousie has over 60 graduate programs including PhD programs, research intensive Master’s programs and other Master’s programs. Some programs are in fields where lucrative employment is possible for graduates with bachelor’s degrees (such as chemistry and computer science). These programs are in intense competition for the best students by universities across the country, creating ongoing recruitment difficulties. Other programs, such as English or planning, currently have no difficulty attracting enough highly qualified applicants from the national and international pool but need to fund them adequately in order to remain in competition for the best and thus to continue to attract external scholarship money. Some programs are in the process of building: they can attract applicants, but aspire to raise the quality of the incoming students. Other programs, like the MBA are in competition with other local institutions. Some programs, largely in the health professions, are unique in the region and maintain a steady flow of high quality applicants for a limited number of seats. Diverse programs have different needs for graduate student funding. The expectations of students for funding in different programs are often determined by economic and historical forces well beyond the control of Dalhousie University. Not all types of degree programs are equally in need of funding from the university for purposes of competitive viability. At the same time, competition for graduate students dictates that the University establish priorities for the allocation of its resources. PhD students represent a key commitment for the university. They are critical to the research mission, the teaching mission, and in many ways the knowledge transfer mission. Research intensive Master’s students also make direct contributions to the research mission of the university, and are in training for potential doctoral programs and for skills needed in society. Professional Master’s degree students have direct entrance to the job market upon graduation and are important to the economic vitality of the province and the country. All of our graduate students carry the Dalhousie brand with them for their entire careers.

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Objectives for Setting Priorities: • To ensure that the impact of new graduate funding is optimized with respect to the University’s mission. • To ensure that the ongoing planning of resources and recruitment will be effective. Recommendation 2. Priority for the use of new graduate funding be given to improving the stipends of graduate students in this order: PhD, research intensive Master’s (thesis and comparable), and other Master’s. SUMMARY Dalhousie is not competitive in its funding of graduate students. At Dalhousie, there are too few sources of funding, funding is at too low a level to support graduate students, and too low to be competitive with other universities. In recognition of the critical importance of graduate students, particularly in the research mission of the university and its stature in the G-13, student funding must be increased. Although all types of graduate programs are important to the health and sustainability of both the university and the province, our lack of competitive edge for the best PhD students and research oriented Master’s students seriously undermines the success of our research mission.

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PART II: SOURCES OF NEW FUNDING
The sources of new funding are the obvious ones—more money from the university budget and increased endowments through fundraising. At the same time, a provincial initiative of provincial graduate student scholarships would address pressing needs for all graduate programs in the province. These initiatives are not mutually exclusive options. Money is needed from all three in order to address the problems that we identify in graduate student funding. Objectives of New Funding Strategies: • To identify and achieve sustainable new funding to support graduate students. • To be used in targeted ways that reinforce Dalhousie’s competitive position as a research intensive university. • To increase our capacity to support PhD students appropriately through multiple years of study. • To target support of programs that are strategically important to the university. THE UNIVERSITY BUDGET The Long Term Financial Planning Committee Report supports stabilizing graduate numbers and increasing the quality of the students that we recruit into our programs. This will require new money for graduate funding. The benefits to Dalhousie and to the provincial economy of a properly funded graduate program are not at issue. Both the recent C.D. Howe Institute9 report indicating that graduate enrolment needs to be increased for the good of society and the high profile initiatives to specifically increase graduate enrolment in other jurisdictions in Canada support this case. The degree of current underfunding of graduate students, the urgency of the need, problematic comparisons to other institutions in the G-13, loss of competitiveness, and impact on the local economy need to be factored in decisions related to budget priorities. The University can improve graduate student support in several key areas: tuition reduction, PhD tuition waivers, FGS scholarship allocation, entrance scholarships, and assistantships. PhD Tuition Awards: A high profile recruitment tool involves waiving tuition fees for designated PhD students. The impact of adding tuition as a “top up” to highly qualified candidates is significant. For example, an NSERC scholarship of $22,000 with a tuition waiver at Dalhousie results in a competitive package of $29,500. In many disciplines this amount is in the middle range of offers from Canadian universities. Costs for such a program range from $400,000 to $1,200,000 per year depending on the selection criteria. FGS Allocation: The FGS scholarship allocation envelope supports the gradual redistribution of scholarship money based on recruitment of A- or better graduate students. This has the two functions of maintaining programs at a competitive funding level and of rewarding excellence in program recruitment. The scholarship value for incoming A- or better students has, however, dropped from $2060 in 1996 to $1024 this year in nominal dollars. More troubling is that the value of a scholarship in relation to tuition, shown in Appendix II, which has essentially declined 10% per year over the past 12 years. Several options can be considered to restore the impact of this fund: funds can be added to the base of the allocation fund to bring it back to the previous level; fewer students could be deemed eligible; new programs can be required to bring in additional funds or remain ineligible for these funds.
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CD Howe Report

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Entrance Graduate Scholarships: A proposal that would be highly visible and useful in recruitment given to all entering graduate students with an A- or better average. This is analogous with undergraduate students (who are already eligible for entrance scholarships of $500-$3,000), is relatively easy to implement, raises visibility, has low cost, and rewards excellent students. The cost of a modest entrance scholarship at the graduate level would be roughly $400,000 for a $1,000 Master’s and $2,000 PhD non-renewable scholarship for all incoming A- or better students. Higher awards would make the University that much more competitive in recruitment. Teaching Assistantships: Many areas of the university, including Arts and Social Sciences and Science, rely heavily on graduate students as teaching assistants. TAships also present an opportunity for graduate students to gain valuable experience in teaching. TAships remain an important component of the graduate student funding package in such disciplines. Adding funds for this purpose would have additional benefits for departments that need this assistance in the classroom or lab. Recommendation 3. University Funds be provided to increase funds available to attract the best students. This can be accomplished by establishing a Tuition Award program for high quality new PhD students, by re-establishing the value of the FGS Scholarship Allocation, by initiating a program of Graduate Entrance Scholarships, and by increasing the Teaching Assistant(TA) budget for those Faculties dependent on TAships in running their programs. Careful consideration will be needed in finding the right balance of these funding opportunities to satisfy the multiple objectives of student funding. FUNDRAISING A significant increase in Dalhousie’s endowment base for graduate student scholarships could enhance long term competitive and multiyear funding. While Dalhousie has benefited greatly from the largess of the Killam Trusts, more such initiatives are needed. Raising endowment funds is a long term process: each one million dollars raised provides only two full scholarships. FGS is engaged in the planning for fundraising through the Capital Campaign. Increased visibility of graduate students and graduate programs at Dalhousie may have a beneficial effect on fund raising efforts overall. Each million dollars in endowments provides, at a 4.5% annual draw, approximately 2 full scholarships of $22,500 each year. A target of $50 million would increase our capacity by 100 scholarships, effectively doubling our Killam awards. This level of endowed scholarships would raise the profile of Dalhousie named scholarships in the order of the Killam or Rhodes legacy scholarships. Endowment scholarships are particularly important to PhD and research Master’s students who need multiyear funding to complete intensive research training. Recommendation 4. The Capital Campaign commit to raising funds to create competitive Graduate Scholarship Endowments.

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PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT In a highly charged and competitive market for graduate students, the lack of general provincial scholarships10 for graduate students puts Nova Scotia universities and programs at a disadvantage. The Province could follow the lead of Ontario, Alberta and BC in establishing its own scholarship program. Provincial Graduate Scholarships can be used both to retain Nova Scotians and to attract students from across Canada based on excellence. If the Province established a simple system with a province-wide application process, these scholarships could be administered concurrently with admission based on recommendations from the universities. The value of such a program could vary from tuition bursaries for the best students to stipends (for example, $5000 a term), or some combination of tuition and stipend. A second pressing need for graduate students is for more generous student loans and bursaries, with higher limits and different payback rules. This remedy would help to address the need among those graduate students who might not be eligible for scholarship funding, but require additional student loans to achieve the degree. What role can Dalhousie play in making a provincial scholarship program happen? The first step would be to form a working group with other faculties of graduate studies through a committee of deans. This working group would inform the university presidents, who speak for universities when it comes to relations with the government, of the options and implications of funding structures for graduate students and graduate programs. Strong connections must be forged with other graduate faculties for the development of a well considered proposal through CONSUP. The need for a strong and well-researched argument to be made for new funding will have to articulate the reasons that graduate funding is good for Nova Scotia and good for all Nova Scotians (including those whose family members have not had the opportunity to go to a university). The objectives of provincial funding would be to contribute to society, to attract highly qualified people to Nova Scotia, and to ensure that Nova Scotia remains competitive with other provinces. Recommendation 5. The University join with other Nova Scotian universities to present the case for a Provincial Graduate Scholarship initiative to the Nova Scotia government through CONSUP. SUMMARY No single source of new funds will be sufficient to meet the needs identified. Meeting the objectives of attracting the best students, retaining students, and supporting graduate training requires us to identify and attain new funding sources and at the same time to develop funding strategies in line with the university mission.

10

The Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation supports graduate students through specialized directed scholarships.

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PART III: FUNDING SCENARIOS
Increases in operating budget based resources can be used to achieve different goals. For example, tuition relief for a targeted group, such as PhD students, can be used to compete with similar programs in other comparator universities. University funds can be used to provide Entrance Scholarships, similar to those at the undergraduate level, to attract high quality students to a broad range of graduate programs. FGS Allocation funds apply across all programs. Funds raised through a capital campaign can be used to build specific scholarship endowments. Large endowments are needed to provide a modest number of ongoing scholarships. We consider scholarship endowments a long term strategy for funding graduate students. Endowment scholarships may be designated by program or other criteria for targeted use and add substantial prestige and reputation reinforcement to both the University and the students when used as part of an overall strategy, as is the case with the Killam scholarships. Just as there is no simple, one source funding fix on the horizon, no simple one-size-fits-all student funding model will work. Rather, the Task Force suggests that a decentralized departmentally driven model of student packages is workable. Such a funding model would be built in the context of the existing and future capacity of individual departments, in alignment with the strategic aims of the University. FUNDING TARGETS: STUDENTS A major concern is determining which students in which programs should be funded when resources are limited. In an ideal scenario all graduate students would be funded. In the current context where choices must be made, the Task Force suggests that the University set priorities for targeted student recruiting and retention. Initially, we propose funding goals for full time students only. In keeping with the research intensive profile of Dalhousie the Task Force has recommended that funding priorities be set in the following sequence: PhD students, research intensive Master’s students, and other Master’s program students (including those in professional programs). FGS should consider setting long-term goals to improve the competitiveness of graduate programs. In this way, policies may be developed within the context of achieving important objectives and additional priorities, including stabilization of graduate enrolment as articulated in the Long Term Financial Plan of the Board of Governors. Support for students may include both tuition and stipendiary funding. Criteria for setting appropriate funding levels for students need to consider the overall “bottom line” from the student’s perspective. While the range of minimum funding levels currently differs across disciplines, the Task Force believes that an initial target minimum funding level for all students in the highest priority category (i.e., PhD students) would be program tuition plus a stipend of $12,000 per year. In the short term, the question of which students “need” funding is complex, particularly at the Master’s level. Programs for which the competition for students across the country is intense need funding to provide competitive offers well above a “normal” minimum. Programs for which there are more students than can reasonably be handled may need to use funding to attract higher quality students from the available pool. Other programs, mainly at the Master’s

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level, do not have a tradition of funding: in some cases, students make program choices based on future earning prospects rather than university-provided funding. FUNDING TARGETS: RECOMMENDED POLICIES At present sources of funding combine into funding packages that reflect the realities of different departmental resources and needs. FGS allocation funds and funds from supervisor research grants are used across all types of degrees (PhD, research intensive Master’s, and other Master’s), across all disciplines, and across all GPAs. Scholarships are more restrictive and are based on academic quality. National scholarships, such as NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC, are restricted to particular disciplines in addition to being highly competitive. TAships, although typically part of a funding package, are earned through non program related work. Looking at the first two years of PhD programs i.e., full fee period, we see that currently 87% of the students have funding with an average annual amount of about $20,000. The Task Force believes that a reasonable goal would be that all PhD students have funding that covers tuition and a living stipend of at least $1,000 per month. Only 31% of all Master’s students receive any funding. In this group, 67% of the Research Intensive Master’s students are funded and the average amount is about $11,000. A reasonable target would be to fund at least 85% (the G-13 average) of the research intensive Master’s students at an average amount closer to $15,000. Among the Other Master’s students, relatively few receive any funding, (23%): the average amount is close to tuition. These amounts may be acceptable in some programs but not in others. STUDENT GROUP PhDs Research. Master’s Other Master’s CURRENT % WITH FUNDING 87% 67% 23% CURRENT AVERAGE AMOUNT ~$20,000 ~$10,000 ~$7,000 TARGET % 100% 85% 25% TARGET MINIMUM $20,000 For 4 years $15,000 1-2 years $7,000

PhD students: The Task Force’s recommendation of target funding for PhD students recognizes that these programs demand multiyear commitments from both the student and the supervisor. Within that context stable funding is critical to success. The current University guideline for funding doctoral students is 4 years. The minimum funding recommended reflects the combination of tuition plus living stipend. The current stipend guideline is at least $1,000 per month, although the Task Force notes that this amount is very low. Since Dalhousie faces stiff competition to attract the best PhD students in many disciplines, top-ups including Tuition Waivers, TAships, and supervisor grants are necessary. In the ideal scenario all doctoral students at Dalhousie would receive no less than the minimal level of funding. Research Intensive Master’s students: Master’s programs typically last from one and a half to two years for research intensive programs. If the University wishes to attract and retain the best students we need to set appropriate funding support targets. Different programs face different funding contexts; in an optimal scenario, the University would set a minimum target that at least covers tuition. Since competition may be intense for these students, top-ups can be used to recruit the highest caliber students.

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Other Master’s Students: Funding for other master’s students varies on a program by program basis. Some programs need funding to attract high quality students while others have long waiting lists of highly qualified applicants. In the optimal scenario, departments would continue to receive FGS allocations to attract the best candidates to the University. The particulars of the components of individual student funding packages would be determined by individual departments to meet their funding and recruitment targets. Objectives of setting funding targets: • To ensure the highest impact possible of funds to attract and retain the best students. • To ensure relative fairness among students with respect to expectations for funding. • To encourage departments and units to assume responsibility for strategic planning regarding graduate student funding. • To increase transparency and clarity of expectations. Recommendation 6. A university wide minimum funding level and multiyear guarantee policy be established for PhD programs. Recommendation 7. Each PhD program establish a Guaranteed PhD Funding Package, which stipulates the minimum stipend, at or above the University minimum, for students in that program. Recommendation 8. Minimum stipends at the Master’s level reflect disciplinary practice. They are recommended for the research intensive programs. Recommendation 9. Programs may accept students as Unfunded, where this funding status has clear meaning with respect to expectations of university funds throughout a student’s program. SUMMARY Adequate funding allows students to commit themselves to their studies without the need to work outside the University; to complete their degrees and to complete them on time; to work in a first-class learning environment; to be proud to be Dalhousie students. Poor funding undermines the student experience and undermines the research goals of students and the University. Targeted funding initiatives allow the University to be competitive in recruiting high quality students and retaining those students to completion of their degrees. FUNDING OPTIONS AND PROJECTED COSTS OPTION Entrance Scholarships Tuition Waiver PhDs Addition to FGS Allocation Endowments Provincial Scholarships SUGGESTED AMOUNT PER STUDENT $2,000 $7,500 $7,000 $22,500 $5,000 COST/YEAR $1,000,000 $3,000,000 $1,000,000 $20,000,000 $2,000,000 NUMBER OF AWARDS/YEAR 500 400 192 40 400 (total in prov.)

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PART IV: CAPACITY PLANNING AND IMPACT ON FUNDING SUSTAINABILITY
While the Task Force found wide agreement that graduate students are underfunded and that this situation stresses not only students but faculty and graduate programs, it believes that more money alone would not necessarily fix all of the problems. To maintain long term improvements and stability in student funding, Dalhousie needs to develop and implement a process of accountability and ongoing enrolment planning. This can be achieved with capacity planning. Capacity planning allows the University to consider future needs for research and teaching in the context of societal needs and expectations. At the same time, capacity planning provides a process for considering numbers of faculty for supervising and teaching, amount of space, and funding availability in determining the capability of departments to fulfill those needs over time. We are mindful of the recommendation proposed in the Board’s recent Long Term Financial Plan to stabilize the overall size of the graduate population at Dalhousie. Graduate students currently represent approximately 20% of the total Dalhousie student population, reflecting the research-intensive nature of Dalhousie. The Long Term Planning Report of the Board11 recommended a balance of undergraduate and graduate enrolments. The December 1 “headcounts” since 2000, provided in Appendix V, show that the growth pattern over the last 7 years has slowed down and stabilized at near the 2002 level, with 2267 FT and 759 in 20062007 PT graduate students. In 2006-2007 a total of 1197 new graduate students were admitted. Of these, 120 were admitted to PhD programs, 505 to thesis Master’s, and 572 to professional Master’s programs. Of those students, 498 had an entrance GPA of A- or better (75 in PhD programs, 139 in Thesis Master’s, and 167 in Professional Master’s programs). Recruitment of graduate students across all disciplines is fairly steady but not necessarily within specific disciplines. Some disciplines such as engineering, computer science, architecture and planning, and management, experience enrolment cycles driven by market forces. A distributed capacity planning process can be developed to tie recruitment targets to the capacity of the unit to support graduate students. A capacity planning process would produce student targets based on the current capability of departments to support students in that department, based on the availability of funding, faculty, and facilities. This would allow units to maximize the impact of new funding on their success in recruiting highly qualified candidates and serve their research needs more strategically. Furthermore, as part of the process, units would consider the impact of enrolment trade-offs, such as the ratio of Master’s students to PhDs or undergraduates to graduates, within the context of setting enrolment targets both within the units and within the faculties. Yearly capacity planning would then be able to respond to changes in resources and changes in academic initiatives in an ongoing manner. Capacity planning allows graduate programs to maintain the advantage that additional student funding provides in a competitive market and to plan for long term sustainability. Devolving planning to the unit level provides finer grained decisions on the balance of PhDs, research intensive Master’s, and other Master’s within departmental units and should consequently allow for better overall planning at the Faculty level.

11

Long Term Planning Report, Board of Governors, 2007.

20

Objectives of capacity planning: • To channel resources into priorities to support the University mission. • To support long term enrolment and resource management within units and faculties. • To engage units in the planning and commitment of resources. Recommendation 10. Individual Programs develop enrolment plans based on their capacity to support graduate students in terms of space, funding, and faculty supervision. University funding to support graduate students would be conditional on university approval of the enrolment plan. New graduate programs affect the University’s capacity to fund graduate students. For example, the FGS Scholarship Allocation, entrance scholarships, and tuition waivers are vulnerable to increases in student enrolment. In a context of stable funding, understanding the impact of new programs on overall capacity to maintain adequate funding support across programs is crucial. Recommendation 11. The impact of new programs on University and FGS funding resources (including entrance scholarships, tuition bursaries and FGS allocation) MUST be considered before such programs are approved by FGS and by Senate. This may result in two kinds of new programs: a) Funded programs: Programs that have access to university funds to support graduate students i. programs that have no net negative impact on these resources ii. programs that have an accepted strategic importance to the university b) Unfunded programs: Programs that will operate without university student funding resources. Capacity planning provides some level of control over growth (no, slow, or significant) in graduate student numbers and ensures adequate or competitive funding. New programs should require an assessment of the impact of the proposed program on graduate student funding as part of the FGS and Senate review processes. New programs that will have a negative effect on scholarship funding may decide to opt out of some or all of the funding programs, may be balanced by reductions in numbers of students in other programs, or, if critical to the mission of the university, may result in an increase in the funding budget to offset the effect on other programs. Consequently, FGS and Senate will need to establish evaluation criteria for new programs that address our capacity to fund not just the program but the students. SUMMARY The ongoing ability of departments to maintain competitive graduate student funding depends on managing the enrolment of graduate students in a manner that allows for departmental and faculty level planning. The capacity of any given program to support graduate students depends on many factors including the strategic vision of the department, need to fund graduate students, ability to fund students at a competitive level, capability of faculty members to supervise, and availability of laboratories, library resources, and other research facilities. In a well managed scenario, each department strives to maximize the proportion of high quality students it can attract within the constraints of funding, faculty, and facilities. In a capacity planning exercise, each department would develop targets based on past experience and current capacity for both enrolment and funding levels, plus policies to attain and maintain these targets. The goal of enrolment planning is not necessarily to increase

21

enrolment but to put in place policies to best use the student funding available to meet funding targets per student so that Dalhousie programs can compete for the best quality students. Once enrolment target bands have been established, students outside of these targets, depending on departmental policy, may be wholly funded by external resources or may be unfunded. These students would, however, be ineligible for university funds, such as tuition waiver awards and FGS scholarship funds. Stable enrolment targets allow departments to more accurately plan space, faculty hiring, and recruitment strategies.

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PART V: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Providing adequate and competitive levels of funding to our graduate students has a significance that extends far beyond the well being of individual recipients. The funding of graduate students goes to the core of Dalhousie’s identity, reputation, and capacity. The issues at stake include: the well being and future good will of current and potential students; the research mission of the university; our reputation provincially, regionally, nationally and internationally; the quality of our undergraduate education; and our continued success as a “research engine” in our province. We recognize that there are differing needs for graduate student funding that align with the university mission. PhD research and teaching is critical to the success of Dalhousie in fulfilling its mission, and must be funded if we are to remain competitive. Research intensive Master’s and other professional Master’s should be funded but the requirements vary. There are Master’s students for whom funding is necessary if we are to attract them to core programs and students for whom funding is necessary if we are to attract the best. Without adequate funding we will inevitably see that both the number and quality of students will decline. Fortunately, some programs, can attract high quality students without increased levels of funding. The Task Force identified two clear objectives of adequate graduate student funding at Dalhousie: to improve our competitive position in attracting the best students and to improve the experience of graduate students who have chosen to study here. Competitive Context: In an increasingly aggressive market for high quality graduate students in Canada, the funding packages that Dalhousie makes available to graduate students prove less and less competitive. The Provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia have initiated bold recruitment strategies to greatly increase graduate enrolment and graduate student support. Even before other provinces make their new investments Dalhousie fell far behind its comparator institutions in funding offers to graduate students. Dalhousie’s tuition levels are the highest in the country, compounding the challenge of attracting students. International students face high differential fees. In this competitive context Dalhousie University must adapt its funding strategies in order to attract high quality graduate students to our programs and to retain our share of students seeking further education. Student Experience: High tuition and funding shortfalls undermine the quality of the graduate student experience at Dalhousie. The Task Force conducted a survey of graduate students that revealed the negative attitudes that students are developing. Some students told the Task Force that they warned other potential students that the funding at Dalhousie is not adequate. One said, “If I could do it again I would definitely choose to pursue my graduate studies at another Canadian university that provides adequate student funding.” Problems with insufficient funding undermine Dalhousie’s reputation and growing student frustration erodes the good will of students and alumni towards Dalhousie. High tuition, high differential fees, inadequate space and insufficient funding are as important as the reputation of the University when students make their decisions on which university to attend. In a context where the student experience is central to the ability of the University to attract graduate students and maintain their good will towards Dalhousie, the funding problem becomes an important institutional dilemma. Providing adequate and competitive levels of funding to our graduate students has a significance that extends far beyond the well being of individual recipients. The funding of graduate students goes to the core of Dalhousie’s identity, reputation, and capacity. We need to

23

resolve the funding crisis because so much is at stake: the well being and future good will of students; the scholarly mission of the university; Dalhousie’s reputation provincially, regionally, nationally and internationally; the quality of undergraduate education; and Dalhousie’s continued success as a “research engine” in Nova Scotia.

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PART VI: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The Task Force accepts that proposing solutions is generally easier than implementing those solutions. So we end with a roadmap that lays out where the University and its constituent members would need to go to make the proposed changes a reality. For recommendation 3, on tuition waivers, increase to the FGS allocation, entrance scholarships, increase to teaching assistantship budgets. New university spending is in the purview of the Board and consequently the case must be made to the Budget Advisory Committee through the Vice President Academic, the Vice-President Research, and the VicePresident Finance. For recommendation 4, on raising endowment funds. An initiative to develop endowment funds will depend on a collaboration of the Dean of Graduate Studies with the Vice-President External in concert with current capital campaign objectives. For recommendation 5, on the Provincial Graduate Scholarship initiative. Strong connections with other graduate faculties can help develop a well considered proposal, perhaps via CONSUP. The President, Vice President Academic, and of the Dean of Graduate Studies will be involved. For recommendation 6, on a university wide minimum for PhD students. The Faculty Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies will need to negotiate the level and develop related policies. For recommendations 7 and 8, on stipends in specific programs. The units in which the programs are located will need to consider and set appropriate levels with reference to their own disciplinary context and resources. For recommendation 9, on unfunded students. Graduate Coordinators and the Dean of FGS will need to ensure that letters of offer to unfunded students are explicit about eligibility for funds. For recommendation 10, on capacity planning. A capacity planning exercise at the graduate level will require the development of an appropriate framework, an appropriate tool, and buy in from the Deans. The development of the framework would be the work of a multidisciplinary team led by the Vice-President Academic. For recommendation 11, on new programs. A change in the evaluation process and philosophy of the introduction of new programs will require support from FGS Faculty Council and Senate.

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APPENDICES
APPENDIX I. TASK FORCE AND PROCESS APPENDIX II. FGS SCHOLARSHIP ALLOCATION APPENDIX III. FUNDING SOURCES FOR DALHOUSIE GRADUATE STUDENTS APPENDIX IV. SURVEY OF GRADUATE STUDENTS APPENDIX V. GRADUATE ENROLMENTS 2000-2006

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APPENDIX I. TASK FORCE AND PROCESS Membership: Andre Arsenault, Graduate Student Robert Bieko, Faculty of Computer Science Russell Boyd, Assoc. VP Research Neil Burford, Faculty of Science Colin Campbell, Graduate Student Richard Devlin, Faculty of Law Melissa Furrow, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Jill Grant, Faculty of Architecture and Planning Greg Hebb, Faculty of Management Jeff Karabanow, Faculty of Health Professions Raymond Klein, Faculty of Science Elizabeth Lane, Institutional Analysis and Research Chris McMaster, Faculty of Medicine Mysore Satish, Faculty of Engineering Carolyn Watters, Faculty of Graduate Studies (Chair) Administrative Assistants: Marsha Scott, Faculty of Graduate Studies Nicole Fraser, Faculty of Graduate Studies Student Assistant: Jennifer Baechler, Graduate Student Meetings: 16 meetings were held on a biweekly schedule Guests: Ken Burt, VP Finance Wayne Doggett, NS Department of Education Floyd Dykeman, VP External Relations Greg Ellis, NS Department of Education Alan Shaver, VP Academic James Spatz, Board of Governors Surveys: Online survey of graduate students Online survey of graduate coordinators

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APPENDIX II. FGS SCHOLARSHIP ALLOCATION The Faculty of Graduate Studies scholarships are based on a redistribution formula, reviewed in 2006, that has served for many years the purpose of dividing the pool of money available in a way that guarantees programs a degree of stability, while nevertheless also allowing a small shift of funding toward programs that attract higher proportions of excellent students. Briefly put, graduate programs receive 80% of the funding they had received the year before for the coming year’s budget to support graduate students (hence the basic stability), and the remaining 20% is redistributed according to the number of points a program earned. Points are earned according to the number of A- or better students admitted to the program (hence the possibility of increasing funding by consistently attracting strong students). The formula thus achieved two major objectives, rewarding excellence and maintaining programs, with a remarkable degree of harmony among the very different constituencies vying for the money. But as the number of points grew, the value per point shrank, and the formula stopped being able to provide either of these functions, stability or rewarding excellence. A review in 2005-2006 12 revealed the degree of seriousness of the problem in no uncertain language: “Our study has revealed a crisis that has begun to hamper, and has the potential to cripple, the contribution made by Graduate Studies to Dalhousie’s reputation as a center for research and scholarship”. Its conclusion was that the problem was not the formula, but the amount of money available for distribution by the formula, as a result of different pressures. Of particular concern has been the decline of the absolute value of a point for the FGS Allocation system by 50% over the past 12 years. It is alarming to see that point value as percentage of tuition has declined by 10% per year, from 74% of tuition in 1997 to only 18% of tuition in 2007. The chart below shows this drop clearly.

Point Value as % of Tuition
80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

12

Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Scholarship Allocation System study. Ray Klein et al 2005-2006.

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APPENDIX III. FUNDING SOURCES FOR DALHOUSIE GRADUATE STUDENTS Funding sources for Dalhousie graduate students, 2006-2007 1 Funding from Dalhousie University Sources
FGS Scholarships
Includes: Departmental allocations, Eliza Ritchie Scholarship James Robinson Johnston Scholarship Nova Scotia Black and First Nations Graduate Entrance Scholarship

$

3,335,565.00

Bursaries Teaching Assistantships
Research Assistantships/Demonstrators

13,440.72 1,678,803.27
662,870.15

Departmental Funding (base budget funds) Killam Scholarships Other Internal:
Includes: Bruce & Dorothy Rosetti Scholarship, Department of Surgery, Dover Mills, Glengarry Bursary, Mable Goudge, Northstar Trade Fellowship, Reid Scholarship, School of Nursing Scholarship, SRES General, Walter B Green Bursary

441,908.81 811,109.95 142,719.50

Total internal sources: Supervisor Research Grants Funding from sources external to Dalhousie University SSHRC NSERC CIHR NSHRF Sumner Other External: Total external sources Total all sources

$ $

7,086,417.40 7,981,552.21

$

1,296,699.25 2,533,975.67 408,834.00 1,076,589.00 60,000.00 961,055.50 6,337,153.42

$

$ 21,405,123.03

External Scholarships: These are highly competitive national and international awards, NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR, and provincial NSHRF research awards. PhD awards vary from 20,000 per year to the CGS at $35,000 per year and Master’s awards vary from $15,500 to $20,000 per year. Killam Scholarships: Dalhousie’s Killam endowments have been a crucial factor in the development and support of high quality graduate programs over the last four decades. These

29

endowments attract outstanding Canadian and international students to graduate programs. For the 2007-2008 academic year, 50 new and 53 renewal scholarships were awarded. These are also highly competitive awards, valued at $20,000 for master’s students (two years support) and $25,000 for Ph.D. students (two or three years support). FGS Scholarships: The total of the FGS scholarship allocations to 56 graduate units or programs for 2006-07 was $3,218,565. The allocation per program is based on the number of new A- or better students that are brought into that program each year. The use of the funds is determined by the individual programs and may be used for PhD or Master’s level students in any graduate program. TA/RA budget: The funds for TAs and RAs, which totaled $2,341,673, last year come directly from Faculty budgets and are not associated directly with GPA or other quality indicators. Although TAships are part of the financial and educational package offered to students, they are not scholarships but rather “jobs”. In many programs, TAships are part of the educational component of the program. Supervisor Research Funds: Many graduate students are funded directly from grants attained by their supervisors, including both grants and contracts. These students are selected directly by the faculty member for this activity.

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APPENDIX IV. SURVEY OF GRADUATE STUDENTS The Task Force commissioned a survey of graduate students. 31% of students responded, indicating how important the topic is to students. The results are alarming. Of the 915 comments a large number of respondents revealed the extent to which poor funding undermined their experience at Dalhousie. The Task Force believes that poor funding is significantly undermining the quality of the student experience at Dalhousie in ways that can have lasting negative effects.

To what extent are financial commitments an obstacle to your academic progress? 1 - not an obstacle 2 3 14% 4 23% 5 - a major obstacle 21%

23%

19%

Source of Financial Support Form Dalhousie
Federal Scholarship / Fellowship University Scholarship / Fellowship Graduate Teaching Assistantship Graduate Research Assistantship Not Applicable 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00%

Note: Due to multiple responses totals exceed 100% 31

Sources of financial support received
16.00% 14.00% 12.00% 10.00% 8.00% 6.00% 4.00% 2.00% 0.00%
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po

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Yet, many of our students are experiencing financial hardships Thesis Master’s: “Funding is extremely important for graduate students. Throughout my undergrad I accrued over $50,000 in student loans which made it a very difficult decision to go on to Graduate studies. If Dalhousie had not offered me what they did I would not have attended. Even still, I had to take a $15,000 government loan on top of that funding. In order not to merely attract students from upper middle - high class Dalhousie should be offering a higher level of funding and to more students. Many in my program received no funding at all which is not acceptable.” Course-based Master’s: “I am very grateful for my scholarship. However, despite this funding and a rather frugal lifestyle, I still incurred $10,000 in debt this year.” PhD: “Living at the poverty level is incredibly stressful.” Project Master’s: “The graduate funding at Dalhousie is a serious problem.” PhD: “With the exception of a select few national and international awards which are tenable at Dalhousie, most support offered by Dal and other Canadian Universities, leave the student well below the nationally set poverty line for a single individual. That is appalling and completely unacceptable.” Course-based Master’s: “Dalhousie should be ashamed of the funding programs for graduate students...Dalhousie has not lived up to the reputation they spend so much money on creating.” And many students identified funding as not competitive in comparison with other Canadian universities PhD: “If Dalhousie wants to remain competitive, it will have to offer more money. The big Ontario schools can offer up to $22,000 (if not more) to PhD students, which makes the decision to come here for substantially less money quite difficult. That said, the program itself is exceptional, but please don’t forget that your students are living below the poverty line and are accumulating massive debts to pursue their higher education.” Thesis Master’s: “I was offered several large recruitment scholarships from other Universities, and none at all from Dalhousie. If it weren’t for the one specific supervisor I wanted to work with, I never would have chosen Dal. There needs to be more of a focus on recruitment awards for highly deserving students. For example, a large number of universities would top-up an NSERC PGS-M, and/or reduce NSERC award students’ tuition fees. It is good incentive for excellent research students to choose Dalhousie. And good graduate student fuel the funding that Dal faculty get...which increases Dal’s research reputation.” PhD: “I was shocked to find out that Dalhousie did not guarantee funding for me as a doctoral student in a time when universities are competing for students through funding.” PhD: “It is hard to understand how Dal is able to continue attracting qualified students. My decision to come here was based almost entirely on the fact that I would be working with a particular member of the faculty. It was VERY difficult to turn down other offers from Canadian schools who give much more support to their students.”

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Thesis Master’s: “Tuition for grad students being as high as it is creates a major disadvantage for recruitment. Had the school not been the site of the specific professor I am working under, and had I not won major external awards, I would have chosen a different school based on the financial deterrents provided by Dalhousie.” Particularly when our high levels of tuition are taken into consideration Course-based Master’s: “It is unbelievable the lack of financial support offered from such an expensive school as Dal.” PhD: “The amount of funding I would receive at Dal (including SHRC, FQRSC, and Killam) was a big factor in me choosing to study at Dal. Once here, I realized that the high tuition at Dal ate up much of that funding.” PhD: “Its not that $18,000 is that bad - but when you take half of it back in tuition it leaves me with less than $900/month.” PhD: “The funding is ok, but not having to give half of it back for tuition fees!” Thesis Master’s: “I just don’t understand why we get the highest tuition and the least scholarship for students. Maybe the administration team need take some time to think about it, otherwise, Dalhousie may be terminated some day.” And comparatively low levels of pay for TAs PhD: “Compared to Ontario and many provinces in the Western region of Canada, the amount of graduate student funding available to incoming graduate students is extremely limited at Dalhousie. For example, I could have done my PhD at UWO with a FGS scholarship in the amount of $20,000 per year, guaranteed for 4 years. As well Graduate Teaching Assistantships were also better remunerated at a rate of $35/per hour, usually with a guarantee of 15-20 hrs per week during each term...” PhD: “I have found the teaching experience to be invaluable though the financial compensation does not nearly match the time that one has to invest.” International students have a specific complaint about the differential fee PhD: “Dalhousie needs to repeal their oppression of international students and not look at them as a cash cow...There is enough prejudice from the student body and Halifax without getting it from the institution that enticed them to come here.” PhD: “It is very frustrating as an international student to have to deal with the (very high) international differential fee, as well as the (mandatory, and not inexpensive) health coverage, which are not guaranteed to be covered by the department. I did my Master’s degree at UBC, where the differential fee is essentially waived...and where all students are regarded as employees and so are eligible for provincial health coverage from the beginning of their program.”

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The dissatisfaction expressed by so many respondents is distressing Course-based Master’s: “It is unbelievable the lack of financial support offered from such an expensive school as Dal.” Course-based Master’s: “Dalhousie offers very poor financial incentives compared to other universities...however. They do not let you know about scholarships with your letter of acceptance. So you have to blindly accept hoping that you’ll get money that never ends up materializing. Dalhousie sucks. Feel duped and cheated.” PhD: [the funding] is completely inadequate. I’ve discouraged three colleagues from attending this university because of the funding. If I could to my decision over again, I’d have gone to another university. It is definitely a huge strike against Dalhousie when students compare it to other Universities, despite its good reputation. When I tell grad students from other universities across the country, they are shocked at the poor level of financial support such a “big name” university offers. This problem is exacerbated by the cost of living in Halifax...” Project Master’s: “Dalhousie has one of the highest tuitions in the country...I would not recommend the program or Dalhousie University to anyone.” Thesis Master’s: “I would like to say that I am disgusted with the lack of financial support offered at Dalhousie. I would not come to Dalhousie again for this very reason.” PhD: “After speaking with other PhD student across Canada, Dalhousie is the worst university to provide financial support to their PhD students. It has been a disappointing experience.” PhD: “I chose Dalhousie so I would not have to relocate my family. However, it was a poor decision economically as most universities with comparable programs such as UToronto, UWO and UBC have very attractive funding packages and more competitive tuition levels.” PhD: “If I could do it again, I would definitely choose to pursue my graduate studies at another Canadian university that provides adequate student funding.”

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APPENDIX V. GRADUATE ENROLMENTS 2000-2006 Graduate enrolments 2000-2006 (December 1 “headcounts”) 1 FULL TIME 1684 1853 2061 2288 2338 2228 2267 PART TIME 843 933 998 954 903 844 792 TOTAL 2527 2786 3059 3242 3241 3072 3059 INCREASE 6.1% 10.2% 9.8% 6.0% 0.0% -5.2% -0.4% FTE 1965 2164 2394 2606 2639 2502 2531 INTERNATIONAL 333 362 442 547 540 475 412

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
1.

Exclusive of medical post-graduate residents

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FOOTNOTE CITATIONS
2. Klein, R. et al. (2006). Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Scholarship Allocation System. Faculty of Graduate Studies. 3. Traves. T, (2007). President’s Strategic Focus: A Statistical Progress Report. [http://senioradministration.dal.ca/files/Strategic_Focus_Statistical_Report_June_2007_ update%5b1%5d.pdf] 4. Rae, R. (2005). Ontario A Leader in Learning: Report and Recommendations. [http://www.uwo.ca/pvp/president_reports/documents/RaeFinalReport.pdf] 5. Rae, R. (2005). Ontario A Leader in Learning: Report and Recommendations. [http://www.uwo.ca/pvp/president_reports/documents/RaeFinalReport.pdf] 6. CUSC. (2006). Graduating Students Survey 2006. Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium. [http://www.cusc-ccreu.ca/publications/2006%20Master%20Report.pdf] 7. Clarke, MacPherson, Patterson, and Rodd. (2005). Minimum Wage Review Committee Report and Recommendation. Report to the Nova Scotian Minister of Labour. [http://www.gov.ns.ca/enla/employmentrights/docs/MinWageReportMar2005.pdf] 8. Davenport, P. (2006). Performance and Activity Indicators Annual Report to the Board of Governors. The University of Western Ontario. [http://www.ipb.uwo.ca/documents/2006_performance_indicator.pdf] 9. Finnie, R. & Usher, A. (2007, February). Room at the Top: Strategies for Increasing the Number of Graduate Students in Canada. C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, 245. 11. Dalhousie University. (2006). Report of the Long Term Financial Planning Committee. [http://boardofgovernors.dal.ca/files/Nov_2006_Long_Term_Financial_Planning_Repo rt.pdf] 12. Klein, R. et al. (2006). Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Scholarship Allocation System. Faculty of Graduate Studies.

RELATED DOCUMENTS
AUCC. (2007). Federal Budget Summary. Ottawa: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Bertrand, F. (2006). A Profile of Master’s Degree Education in Canada. Canadian Association for Graduate Students. CAGS. (2005). Doctoral Education in Canada. Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. CAGS. (2004). The Completion of Graduate Studies in Canadian Universities: Report and Recommendations. Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. COU. (2003). Advancing Ontario’s Future Through Advanced Degrees. Council of Ontario

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Universities. Demers, P. & Desai, R. (2002). Brave New Worlds: Graduate Education for the 21st Century. Ottawa: Canadian Association for Graduate Students. Gluszynski, T. & Peters, V. (2005). Survey of Earned Doctorates: A Profile of Doctoral Degree Recipients. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. MPHEC. (2006). Five Years On: A Survey of Class of 1999 Maritime University Graduates. Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. OCUFA. (2007). Quality at Risk: An Assessment of the Ontario Government’s Plans for Graduate Education. Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. University of Toronto. (2006). A Framework for Graduate Expansion 2004-05 to 2009-10. [http://www.utoronto.ca/govcncl/bac/details/pb/2006-07/pba20061017-04ii.pdf] University of Toronto. (2005). Graduate Student Enrolment Planning 2005-15. [http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/public/Reports/gsep.htm]

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