BPR teams turn in early budget reports

After a semester of financial evaluations, the nine academic and three non-collegiate budget planning and review teams have turned in preliminary reports to the Board of Regents and President Randy Dunn.

Josh Jacobs, chief of staff, said the team’s presentations to the board went smoothly at the Dec. 14 meeting.

The budget teams submitted reports outlining its process and Jacobs said several provided thematic areas the teams were evaluating.

“Each of the teams has taken on the responsibility in a slightly different manner and as a result each is at different points of the review and recommendation process,” he said.

The final drafts are due to the president Feb. 22. Public forums will be scheduled following the proposals and Dunn’s recommendations will be presented to the Regents at their March 15 meeting.

Each team is responsible for its own recommendations, but according to a statement Jacobs made at the beginning of the review process, there has been no set number established by the president or the board.

Bonnie Higginson, vice president of Academic Affairs, said a majority of the work the teams were doing was in an effort to make up the state-made $2,289,600 deficit to the University budget.

Higginson said the teams, established earlier in the year by Dunn, have had success in finding ways to increase revenues, reduce expenditures, increase efficiencies and streamline dollars.

“We are going to have to find money to address the financial deficit,” she said. “We are looking to hopefully increase revenue and minimize cuts, but revenue generation does not happen over night. The budget is not going to be fixed immediately. It will take time.”

The budget teams will turn in the official recommendations Feb. 22 and following submission, Higginson said Jacobs and each of the four vice presidents will work alongside Dunn, analyzing the budget evaluations.

Tim Todd, dean of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business and chair of the college’s budget team, said when he attended the December Regent’s meeting he saw – from the board – a reaction of praise regarding the time, care and concern each of the budget teams were focused upon with regards to the financial planning and review process.

The AJB-COB budget team has made the theme of revenue generation a main driver in its efforts. Additional efforts include creating new degree programs, which the team hopes will drive higher revenues.

Marcia Hobbs, dean of the School of Nursing and chair of the college’s budget team, said the committee has also worked hard to increase savings and revenue for the University. As the college’s team is a much smaller group, she said its report would be much more focused on a discrete area of study.

“We have looked at some increased enrollment and creating a course that increases (School of Nursing) productivity,” she said. “This course is comprised of advanced skills now being taught essentially for free.”

According to the preliminary budget planning and review team reports provided to The News, each academic and non-collegiate team are close to creating finalized lists for the President’s office.

In the College of Science, Engineering and Technology’s report, it is noted that the team has discussed cost savings in operational procedures including efficiencies in course section sizes, alternative delivery formats and other departmental and administrative organizational arrangements.

The Hutson School of Agriculture’s preliminary findings indicate the college will likely include program support for Racer Academy, new program enrollment to drive enrollment and the establishment of new fees and increases to current fees in its finalized report to the provost and president.

Susan Muller, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services and chair of the college’s budget team, said the commission had completed its work, but was unwilling to release any more specific details until the academic deans meet with the provost and the Academic Affairs team.

Story by Chris Wilcox, Chief Copy Editor.