In the spring of 2001 the University Planning Committee (CPC), on the recommendation of the Director of Finance and the President, reviewed the process for budget development. As a result of this review, Goal XII of the Strategic Plan was developed Using the draft paper entitled “Value-Centered Budgeting”, the CPC developed a goal that included three key elements.
- The Director of Finance, along with the new established Faculty Budget and Resources Committee, would develop a new process for building the biennial budget. They would consider:
- Principles of inclusion and broad participation
- Incorporation of the historic values of the institution
- Linkage with the University Strategic Plan through the University Planning Committee (CPC)
- The plan should be submitted to the President by 3/1/01 for work that would begin work during the fall term 2001.
- A campus–wide budget communication plan should also be developed that would provide the entire campus with timely and informative budget and benchmark data.
Value-Centered budgeting is based on a philosophy that funding patterns and plans should be in line with the elements that the institution values most. The effectiveness of this process depends upon clearly defined goals and objectives and provides for a timely and public process that is supported by the entire campus. To accomplish this the proposal outlined in the paper called for:
- Formation of a new committee called the Campus Budget Committee (CBC).
- Delineation of quantitative and qualitative measures, or strategic indicators, by the University Planning Committee, which target the goals of the Strategic Plan.
- Development of a process for building a biennial budget that is an implementation of the Strategic Plan.
What has been happening since September:
The University Planning Committee has met frequently and has worked to better define the four focus areas of this year’s Strategic Plan. A planning event was held in October to discuss these thematic areas. The Roundtable held on February 27 was a follow-up to the October planning day and attempted to obtain input from the community about how we define academic vitality, what we value about academic vitality and how these values support our concepts of academic vitality. Further discussion was directed toward providing the community with insight into the direction in which the CPC is moving. Opportunity for more public comment on this issue will occur later this spring. The Roundtable scheduled for March 13 is entitled “Value-Centered Budgeting: The Process of Turning Values Into Budgets”. This meeting will be designed to discuss:
- Our current planning process and how we can improve it.
- Ways to insure that our historic values are not lost in the excitement of making change.
- Ways of converting the Strategic Plan into a fair and workable budget.
- Suggestions for the best ways to communicate with the campus about planning and budgeting issues.
The initial members of the Campus Budget Committee – Formation Committee met many times during the fall term and drafted the Formation Document, which was sent to all faculty and staff on February 2, 2001. The task undertaken this fall was a large one. With the approval of the proposed committee plan by the President in March or early April, the committee will be on schedule to start our work on the FY2003 budget during the fall 2001 term. The initial committee was made up of 12 individuals from across the campus including:
- 4 faculty from the Faculty Budget & Resources Committee
- 1 faculty representative from the CPC
- The Treasurer of the Student Government
- 3 members of the Cabinet
- 2 members of the Financial Affairs staff who work on budget development on an ongoing basis.
- 1 member of the VPAA staff who works on budget development on an ongoing basis.
- 1 Staff member who is active in the development and management of auxiliary funds.
In keeping with the charge of the Strategic Plan Goal XII, the Formation Committee:
- Drafted Vision and Mission statements that incorporate the intent of the Goal within management realities and responsibilities.
- Developed a recommendation for membership of the committee, which expands participation to 18 members, with 15 voting members.
- Defined a structure within which the committee will operate.
- Developed operating principals and assumptions.
- Discussed short-term and long-term work plans.
What is Value-Centered Budgeting?
Value-Centered Budgeting is more a philosophical approach or guiding principal than it is a formal process. There is no defined series of steps or rules or bureaucracy that governs its implementation and practice. These guiding principals are up to us to define and develop into planning and operations. They will help us all think about how we can contribute to establishing values, setting goals and moving towards these goals.
Value-Centered budgeting will not:
- Change the Faculty governance structure.
- Change or relieve management’s responsibility for, developing, implementing and living within the budget.
- Take away from departments or divisions the flexibility and control they currently have over approved budgets.
Value-Centered budgeting will:
- Give faculty governance a formal voice in the planning and budgeting decisions made by the college.
- Heighten the level of responsibility on the part of management for more and better planning.
- Make budget development and implementation a more public and interactive process than in the past allowing for greater university community input.
- Increase, over time, the responsibility of Departments and Divisions to manage available resources.
We need to be careful of:
- Striving for too much detail in the process of developing values and indicators
- Building appropriate evaluation and feedback systems
When have we linked values to budgeting in the past?
- Silver Cultural Arts Center and the Library addition are both excellent examples of where the campus community expressed the value of change and supported these two construction projects. At the same time, however, we failed to plan and budget for adequate faculty and staff support to operate and maintain these new facilities. SCAC is still short in management staff positions and the library has not had an increase in staff despite a significant increase in space.
- A new major in Communications and a new Honors Program were initiated two years ago. Both have experienced vital growth. The communications major now has 120 majors and Honors students are asking for more honors course opportunities. There has been little financial support dedicated or rededicated to either of these programs.
- Several years ago, the voice of the community indicated a need for raising the standards for admission. This voice was translated and transcribed into the Strategic Plan. Through changes in admissions standards and financial aid, we have experienced and improved quality in our student body.