A Q&A with Dr. Davy Cheng

Can you provide us with an update on the budget? 

As you may know, the University was faced recently with a significant reduction in the tuition funding from the provincial government. Because of this reduction, faculties at Western were asked to make further reductions to their fall budgets. 

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry will need to reduce its budget by 5.5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively over the next two years, which we have done. This was achieved thanks to the collective efforts of all the departments and units working together to streamline and redefine their portfolios while ensuring we are continuing to achieve our strategic plan goals. 

The clinical departments stepped forward to increase their contributions to ensure competency-based medical education needs are being met and implemented. The basic science departments and Robarts Research Institute are exploring ways to share equipment, human resources and operational resources to meet their mandates. The Dean’s Office has streamlined its operations and supporting units to the broader Schulich Medicine & Dentistry community. Meanwhile, the medical education portfolio is continuing to explore integrated medical education as we strive to enrich the learning experience of our students. 

There is no doubt the budget process has been challenging, however, it has provided us with an opportunity to focus on our core mission and ensure all our priorities are well aligned with our strategic plans and vision to become a global leader in optimizing life-long health. 

I’m very grateful to all faculty and staff who worked together in such a thoughtful way throughout the budget process. 

Where do things stand with the recommendations for the School’s review of financial and operational systems and structures? 

During the first six months of 2018, nearly 120 faculty, staff and students participated in a review process of the School’s financial and operational systems and structures. 

The goal of this work was to develop recommendations that would assist with decision-making on how we reinvest in the School’s strategic priorities. Six teams, with the guidance of the Dean and Vice Decanal team, spent several months meeting, discussing and generating approximately 60 recommendations. 

A tremendous amount of time and effort was dedicated to this initiative and the resulting materials have provided significant value in creating a foundation to advance our work in this area. 

We are now ready to develop relevant themes and prioritizing these recommendations into actions. This work will be done through my office along with the Vice Decanal team, with support from a Project Manager. 

I am pleased to share with you that Rachel Halaney, Manager of Administration and Finance, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will be taking a leadership role as the Project Manager with Dwayne Martins for this initiative. Rachel’s past experience lends itself well to this role, and we are looking forward to working with her. 

It is expected that this initiative will take a project-based approach and stakeholders from across the School will be engaged on a project-by-project basis. We will, of course, engage faculty, staff and learners throughout the process and be sure to communicate with them about this initiative on a regular basis. 

Are there any updates available about the various recruitment processes that are underway? 

Faculty and staff are critical to the success of the missions of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and the recruitment and retention of our talented employees is a priority for the School. We are continuing with our ongoing recruitment of new faculty members in Dentistry and in other departments, as well as senior decanal, Chair and Chair/Chief positions – all with a lens to diversity, equity and inclusivity. We will continue to announce all new recruitments as soon as they are confirmed. 

What are some of the major projects that the School will be focusing on in the next few months? 

Even with budgetary constraints, one of my priorities is to ensure focused reinvestment in the School. We continue building capacity for excellence in research and education. 

Other projects include the continued development and execution of the renewed MD Curriculum, competency-based medical education, faculty and staff wellness, talent management and leadership development, professionalism, simulation and e-learning. 

A few weeks ago, the School celebrated a new partnership with Canon Medical Systems. How will this partnership advance the mission of the School? 

We are very pleased with the partnership with Canon Medical Systems and London's teaching hospitals. Canon's investment of new medical imaging equipment, to be housed at Robarts, will enrich our research efforts. With this research equipment, alongside imaging equipment that has been purchased by the hospitals, London will be home to the world’s largest installation of the most advanced CT platform from Canon Medical.

Because the research imaging equipment is identical to the equipment being installed in the clinical setting at the hospitals in London, we know the research findings will be translated to patient care much more quickly. We are also pleased that with this new equipment comes the opportunity to have a training academy where we will be able to educate medical imaging physicians and learners from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and those from across Canada and around the world on new imaging techniques and protocols.  

In June, the Times Higher Education (THE) Teaching Excellence Summit will be held at Western. Is this School involved? If so, how? How can people participate?

Western has the privilege and honour of hosting the international THE Teaching Excellence Summit in June. It’s called "Forces Shaping the Teaching and Learning of Tomorrow" and it features many outstanding speakers. I encourage everyone to register and participate in the Summit. You will be able to learn with and from international colleagues and gain insight into the leading innovations in education around the world. To learn more, visit the event website.