College Governance

Faculty Finance Committee Minutes

January 10, 2007
8:30 – 10:00


Alan Dorsey, Chair; Elizabeth Dale, Vice Chair; Ron Akers; Ken Wald; Mary Ann Eaverly; Judy Page; H. Jane Brockmann; David Daegling; Paul Robinson, Joe Glover, Interim Dean; Margaret Fields, Asst. Dean; Kimberly Browne, Budget Director; Chris Eklund, student representative


Chris Eklund, the newest member of the committee was introduced.  Chris is a graduate student in English.

Minutes from the January 2, 2007 meeting were approved.

Alan Dorsey presented a brief progress report to the College Assembly on January 9, 2007 and will use the content from the presentation as a basis for a press release.  Evelyn Butler, Executive Secretary to the Dean, will be asked to send the release to all CLAS faculty. Other avenues for broader distribution may also be used.

Joe Glover reiterated that he would ask the departments to create their visions and identify activities and programs in which to invest or disinvest.  He previously presented the concept to the College Assembly in the context of having information to share with Dean candidates.  The process is also valuable in creating department and college Annual Program Reviews.

Alan Dorsey reported on a conversation he had with a member of the university Budget Allocation Committee. The Budget Allocation Committee expects that any implementation of potential redistributions would take several years. This should be considered as alternative plans are created.

Group one is meeting this week with Bob Jerry to discuss CLAS’s position in the overall UF budget. The group may have a report for the committee in two weeks. The group’s understanding is that the budget decision making process for UF is based on last year’s budget and influenced by qualitative information from the current Annual Program Review.  The current budgeting is incremental rather than formulaic.

Group two reported that they have generated a two-page list of documents but explanations for the numbers are lacking.  For example, if a department shows a deficit at the end of the fiscal year there is insufficient information to evaluate the cause. The group believes that with very few exceptions, the departments did not exceed their authority to spend. Instead, commitments were either delayed or not forthcoming, but the expenses were already incurred primarily due to start up or other approved activities. The Auditor’s report did not offer explanations underlying negative balances, nor did it include recognition that the departments had authority to spend by the college.  The group stated that the overall budget has 3 basic components:  salary, OPS, and OE.  The OPS budget is primarily salary for graduate students.  The only category with some flexibility is the OE which is minor by comparison, which led to a lengthy discussion to define the goal(s) of group two. 

It was suggested that Group two review Allan Burns’ original budget allocations including his “Best Practices” for the use of OPS funds.  The review will provide some background information.  It was also suggested that the group review the Annual Program Reviews for the last two years which may provide some insight into why and how the departments spent their budgets.  Discussions centered on using a rational allocation process.  Glover reminded the group that allocations are not only rational but are also supported qualitatively. Wald clarified that we are attempting to make the process transparent.  Glover also cautioned the group to be careful about expectations because we are a “no growth” university and the increases to the UF budget have been very small. He added that we may want to think more in terms of re-investment.  The near-term flexibility is in OPS and OE; the ultimate is to review the faculty salary impact on the budget.

Group three plans to produce a series of financial plans designed to control and eliminate the deficit at a macro level.  The question is what is controllable?  1) income is not controllable but is a constraint with which to work, 2) OPS & OE are relatively small, static and pre-designated, and 3) unfilled faculty lines (attrition) is where the bulk of the money lies.  Most of the existing plan leaves the lines unfilled.  The group will document opportunity costs on budgetary decisions such as the relevant opportunity costs of not filling vacant faculty lines.  Rather than document the intrinsic college values such as prestige, the group will document in terms of what matters to the decision makers who control the budget.  For example the following could be impacted by leaving lines unfilled:  IDC, General faculty/student ratio, classes that may not get scheduled and graduate programs. The challenge for clarifying opportunity costs is that there are interactions among the measures. The collection of measures will be generic characterizations of the college in terms of service, teaching, and research. The committee noted that the U. S. News and World Report of faculty ratios decreasing from 22/1 to 20/1 in one year was not because the university invested in new faculty but because faculty were redefined.  Underlying assumptions are still unclear and will be determined as the process continues.  The group will prepare a report for next week.

Eklund stated he will report back to a GSC committee and plans to meet with each subgroup chair.  Group two invited Eklund to join them. He conveyed the concern of graduate students for the future.

Next Meeting

Wednesday, January 17, 8:30, Dean’s conference room

Respectfully submitted,
Margaret Fields
Recording Secretary

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