It is with mixed feelings that I present the report of Camrose Lutheran College Corporation, the owner of Augustana University College. Although we have much to be proud of over the past two years, we have also experienced difficulties.
Augustana grew from the early twentieth century dream of Norwegian pioneers that their children could obtain a first class education, close to home. Over the years, Augustana has developed with the support of the church and the community to a degree granting institution widely respected for the quality of teaching available.
Augustana offers three and four year liberal arts and science undergraduate degrees with 18 concentrations (three year degrees) and 11 majors (4 year degrees) available to students. In addition, our university students may take a Bachelor of Management degree in Business Economics and a Bachelor of Music degree. In the current year, 1,013 students are registered in university courses at Augustana’s main campus.
Approximately 200 additional students participate in programs at Augustana’s Centre for Community Education and our paramedic training site. Programs include Emergency Medical Responder, Paramedic, Personal Health Care Practitioner, Business Education, Academic Upgrading and University College Preparation.
The university college has developed significant international programs, allowing our students exposure to the cultures represented by 95 international students from 28 countries at the Camrose campus. Augustana is also involved in exchange programs with universities in Norway, France, and Germany. Our students have an opportunity to study in those countries for a semester and students from those countries may study here. In addition, we are part of an award winning Rural Development Exchange Program with the Autonomous University of Moreles in Cuernavca, Mexico and Canada World Youth. Finally, a number of students are able to study in Cuba at Universite de Santiago as part of our semester in residence program.
Since our last meeting, the result of a ten (10) year accreditation review of our university programs has been completed. The review was exceedingly positive, reinforcing the quality of Augustana’s degree programs. Accreditation for all programs offered at Augustana was reaffirmed. Our new programs—Bachelor of Management in Business Economics and Bachelor of Music—continue to attract students.
The Viking Cup, an international hockey tournament hosted by Augustana, has become one of the most desirable North American tournaments for European teams to enter. As a result, Augustana has developed an excellent athletic and academic reputation in the countries that have participated in our tournament. In 2001/2002, the Vikings won the tournament for the first time in its 22-year history.
In May of 2002, the Board of Regents approved a long-range plan for Augustana. The plan was developed in consultation with students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders over a two-year period. The plan, which sets goals and objectives for the next twenty years, can be found on the Augustana web site at http://www.augustana.ca/board-of-regents/long-range-plan.html.
As noted in prior reports and at prior meetings, in recent years, Augustana has done much to improve its financial situation. We have made significant strides: eliminating operating deficits starting in 1996; paying down, although not yet eliminating, short term debt accumulated from operating deficits; and ensuring long-term capital debt is paid in accordance with our financing agreements. However, as noted in the 2001 report, this has been done at some cost to our faculty and staff and by deferring major maintenance of our physical assets. It has also limited the options available to us for capital development and innovative programming. Following the approval of the long-range plan, the Board requested and received three-year budget projections for Augustana in late 2002. The intent is to have rolling budget projections available to the Board annually, so that decisions can be made with longer-term understanding of consequences. The three-year projections addressed the "urgent" and "serious" categories of deferred maintenance as well as the significant increases in insurance, utilities and other operating expenditures we, along with all other post secondary institutions are experiencing. The projections reviewed by the Board indicate significant amounts of new revenues are necessary to avoid large deficits in the next three years.
As a result, the corporation will be discussing sustainability options for Augustana at the general meeting. The discussion will be difficult, but necessary to ensure the future of the university college. Additional information and the opportunity for discussion will be available at the convention.
An exceptionally dedicated and committed Board of Regents governs Augustana University College. The 12 Board members represent a broad spectrum of backgrounds, interests and talents. Retiring from the Board this year after 12 years of service is Alfred Binder. We are grateful for Mr. Binder’s wisdom and diligence in his service.
Members of the Board who are candidates for re-election are Dr Lorne Tyrrell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta and an internationally renowned medical researcher, and Dr Howard Tennant, President and Vice-Chancellor emeritus of the University of Lethbridge and a much sought after consultant in the field of academic administration. Andrew Church, Vice-President of Alberta Agriculture Financial Services, is a new candidate for election to the Board who will bring strong financial expertise along with a deep understanding of rural Alberta. He is also a resident of Camrose and a long-term member of Messiah Lutheran Church.
Richard L. Husfloen