Brian Abner is a professor of economics in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University in Toronto. He joined the University in 1973. His primary areas of interest in economics have been applied micro-economic theory, with particular attention to industrial organization/economics.
His recent work has concentrated on applied economics in the postsecondary sector. He has contributed to Directions work on modeling outcomes-based funding for postsecondary education, and considerations of the efficiency of different academic delivery models in postsecondary education. His most recent work is a review of the economics of productivity and productivity growth in postsecondary institutions. He has also been a panelist at the Leaning for Earning conference (organized by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario), presenting on the relationship between university funding and the “perils and promises” of education for entry into regulated professions.
More than half his career at York has been spent in academic administration at the department, Faculty, and University levels. He served as president of the faculty association for four years. In 1995 the University created the office of the Associate Vice-President for Academic Resource Planning [AVP (ARP)] within the office of the Vice-President Academic. Brian served as AVP from 1995 to 2010.
As AVP (ARP), Brian directed activities covering a variety of areas linking policy, research and practice within the University, on behalf of the Vice-President. His office was responsible for, among other things, directing and conducting research for the Vice-President in matters related to faculty salaries and salary practices, retirement projections and faculty renewal, and Faculty funding projections. Overall responsibility for enrolment and complement planning also fell under the AVP (ARP). This included short- and long-term planning for both University-level enrolment (graduate and undergraduate) and Faculty -level enrolment. The office participated in the oversight of Faculty budgets and was responsible for designing and implementing methods for funding Faculties. The office also designed and implemented the methodology and operational practices for determining Faculty complement of tenure-stream faculty. Faculty labour-relations also fell within the portfolio of the AVP (ARP). This included oversight of negotiations with the full-time and part-time faculty unions (at both the strategic and practical levels) and contract maintenance.