MacCheyne is ‘money’ at Durham College

Barbara MacCheyne poses for a photo with a trophy she won for coming first in the Durham College Leadership Team Trike relay race. Photo credit: William Black

Barbara MacCheyne manages millions of dollars on behalf Durham College.

MacCheyne is the school’s vice-president of administration and chief financial officer and oversees an annual operating budget of $212 million.

That money is allocated to many areas that touch a student’s daily routine on campus – everything from the bookstore to the company that cuts the grass, restaurant franchising and student job payments. MacCheyne has a role in anything that costs or creates money at Durham College.

Understandably, given MacCheyne’s responsibilities, she attends many meetings as part of her job.

The first Wednesday of every month she has a meeting with the Durham College Leadership Team (DCLT), which is the people who run the school. This includes Don Lovisa, DC president, Elaine Popp, the vice-president, academic and Scott Blakey, chief administrative officer.

One of the challenges MacCheyne is facing this year is a change in the way colleges are funded by the provincial government.

Currently, MacCheyne says approximately two per cent of Durham College’s funding is based on the performance of students.

But under changes introduced by the province, starting in the 2020 school year, that number is going to rise over the course of five years until 60 per cent of DC’s funding will be based on the performance of students, using performance metrics that all colleges and universities in Ontario have to follow.

MacCheyne says these metrics could be things like the amount of students getting hired after graduating or student graduation rates.

MacCheyne hopes the change in funding won’t impact the educational experience for students and everything will stay the same.

“It’s just a redistribution of the way the funds are flowing from the government,” says MacCheyne.

In addition to funding changes, MacCheyne is also currently involved with overseeing financial aspects of a $35 million expansion to DC’s Whitby campus.

“There will a 60,000 square foot new building on the east side of the current building,” says MacCheyne. According to a media release from DC, the building will double the industrial skilled trades training capacity in Whitby.

MacCheyne says DC is asking for a loan of $20 million from the Ontario Financing Authority to help fund the expansion.

“There is a lot of iterations with the government, back and forth in terms of supplying some additional information.”

MacCheyne hopes the expansion plan includes a new fitness centre, study spaces and food services.

“There’s a demand for certain types of professions that the Whitby campus services, a lot of the electricians, welders, gas technicians,” she says.

For more on Barbara MacCheyne, click here.